First comes love...then comes wedding planning.
As someone who will be married this October, I love being an older bride. There's no freaking out or stressing, but simply weighing what will make our wedding beautiful, meaningful and fun.
Yesterday, I spoke with the amazing Kate Harrison, author "The Green Bride Guide," the nation's leading resource for green wedding ideas, products and services. If you're an over 40 bride, you need to check out her book and website greenbrideguide.com
Even if you're just starting to explore going green this book is perfect because it's packed with great ideas for any wedding at any age. If you're a mom looking for ideas to make your daughter's wedding eco-chic and elegant, Kate has you covered.
If you're a midlifer bride looking to do something a little different with your wedding planning, but still elegant and memorable, this book is for you.
I had to ask Kate: Why is it so important to go green at your wedding - especially when you're a midlifer bride?
"I feel a green wedding goes hand in hand with the idea of marriage. It's about a long term sustainable future together," she says.
"To kick that off with a bunch of disposable items feels contradictory to me. It's about the future. The future of our planet. Our children.
"The message is right," she says.
Here's the great news: You don't have to wear a dress made out of oats or offer a cake made out of raw sprouts.
"You don't have to sacrifice style to go green," Harrison says.
"But you can be aware that every single part of a wedding has many eco friendly alternative - from rings to your honeymoon," she says.
HOW TO GO GREEN AT YOUR MIDLIFER WEDDING:
How many trees have to die for your wedding? Answer: none.
"The easiest way to go green is through the invitations," Harrison says. "You can do a digital invitation for casual weddings to a high end couture invitation on recycled cotton."
Here's an amazing offer.
"Brides and grooms can sign up at mywedding.com
We offer a free wedding website that has links to your registry and links to your events," Harrison says. "We even have an online RSVP, which cuts down on all the paper that's wasted.
The idea here is to cut down on wasting fuel. "I encourage couples to choose a venue that does both the reception and the wedding," she says.
"Make it central to a majority of guests rather than fly them in," she suggests as a way to cut down on fuels used.
THE FOOD AND THE FLOWERS
"The food and the flowers are two of the biggest wedding expenses," Harrison says. "First, find a caterer who will do as much local, seasonal and organic food as possible."
For any of us who have suffered through plastic chicken and dried out salmon at weddings, this is a great tip. "Fresh food is always amazing. The food is often what your guest remember the most," she says, adding, "How many times do you really need to eat chicken and salmon.
"Offer something regional," she says. "At my wedding, we had local, grass fed beef and it was amazing with mushroom soup and roasted root vegetables because our wedding was in the fall. I went to a wedding in Maine where we had Maine lobster. At a Southern wedding, we had barbecue.
"Keep it from the local food shed," she advises.
As for the flowers, she cautions against ordering roses from another state or country.
"Most of the flowers in the US are imported and covered in pesticides," she says. "The key here is to use what's available in your area. Those flowers are fresher, often less expensive and smell better."
Kate went one better at her wedding. "We bought our flowers from a local farm," she says. "All the flowers for our wedding cost $200 and then we had a local florist come in and do the arrangements. We saved thousands of dollars."
"The dress is personal," says Harrison. "But you should be aware that there are eco friendly designers out there. Consider a once worn dress. Recycle and donate it after the wedding.
"I donated my gown to Brides Against Cancer, which is a great place to buy a gown, too," she says.
Here's a way not to make your bridesmaids spend too much green:
"For your bridesmaids, limit what can't be used again," she says. "Or let your bridesmaids choose a dress after you give them a color. Tell them to keep it simple. Don't make them buy a new dress and shoes for their wedding.
"Why make them spend $600 for a dress they hate," she says. "It's just not nice."
A FEW OTHER WEDDING PARTICULARS
If you really want to go green, you can choose acoustic entertainment during the ceremony or a local band.
For your wedding favors, Harrison suggests edible ones or even something that can be planted.
"Pick something people will actually use, so it doesn't end up in a garbage fill someday. That frame with your name on it will be tossed out," she says with a laugh.
For midlifer brides, Harrison suggests that you do a new twist on your registry since you probably have all the kitchen gadgets and fancy plates that you can use.
"You've gotten married once and you probably have all your china. Why not set up a charity registry," she says. "Or register for eco friendly home goods. You'll get really high quality gifts."
Her site has over 600 amazing eco friendly gifts that are not only great for your registry, but also perfect as wedding presents or hostess gifts. "It's great to get a pan made out of 100 percent recycled metal that are chef grade," she says.
"For your honeymoon consider a service trip," she suggests. "You can do a local honeymoon or even choose green venues that are eco friendly."
I see palm trees in my future...eco friendly and relaxing!