Green Options Transforming a Waste-Prone Wedding Industry | Economic news

By LEANNE ITALY, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The wedding industry remains full of trash, but a growing contingent of brides and grooms are pushing for more lasting changes, from the way they invite guests to the food they serve and the clothes they wear. they wear.

Wedding resource The Knot estimates that more than two-thirds of the site’s approximately 15,000 users have incorporated or plan to incorporate eco-friendly touches, including occasion decoration, minimizing food waste and avoiding produce. for single use. Nearly 1 in 3 said suppliers should be more proactive in leading the way.

After two chaotic years for the wedding industry, searches on Pinterest for thrifty weddings have tripled, and they’ve doubled for repurposed wedding dress ideas, according to the site’s 2022 Wedding Trends Report. Online resale giant Poshmark said demand for second-hand wedding dresses was at an all-time high, especially for those costing $500 or more.

Lauren Kay, editor of The Knot, said more venues, caterers and other vendors are taking notice.

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“A lot of suppliers are really learning about ways to be more sustainable in an effort to meet demand,” she said. “We are seeing a lot more interest and recognition for sustainability at all levels.”

For example, Something Borrowed Blooms offers silk flowers rather than fresh cut flowers, which often travel long distances and are arranged using non-recyclable foam. Nova by Enaura rents bridal veils. VerTerra sells compostable bowls and plates made from fallen palm fronds, while Pollyn, a plant store in Brooklyn, uses biodegradable nursery pots as more couples turn to plants instead of flowers cut.

If paper goods are a must, Paper Culture makes invitations, planners and reception cards using 100% post-consumer recycled paper. The company offsets its manufacturing and transportation carbon footprint with credits that put resources back into the planet, and it plants a tree with every order.

For Anna Masiello, 28, getting it right for her May 28 wedding is an extension of a more climate-friendly lifestyle she adopted several years ago after moving from her native Italy to Portugal to get a master’s degree in environmental sustainability.

“I really started to learn more about climate change and its real impacts. We hear so much about it, but sometimes it’s so overwhelming that we decide not to know more or we don’t understand it,” said she said, “I just said, OK, it’s time to act.”

She took her journey on social media, using the hero_to_0 handle, in reference to zero waste, and amassed over 70,000 followers on TikTok and nearly 40,000 on Instagram for her regular updates on her life and the planning her wedding.

Masiello’s naturally dyed lavender wedding outfit, consisting of a long skirt and matching top, is made of unsold linen (material that factories or stores could not use or sell). The pants and shirt that her fiancé will wear are second-hand. The rings they will exchange belonged to two of their grandparents.

Her fiancé carved her engagement ring out of the wood of a tree her parents planted when she was born. His video about it has been viewed over 12 million times.

The couple’s 50 guests at the outdoor ceremony in an uncle’s backyard will throw confetti cut from fallen leaves, and the decor will include wood, used glass jars and plants from the garden. Instead of paper items, they have gone digital. And no favors will be distributed. To help take the carbon bite out of some guests’ air travel, the couple plan to plant trees.

Not all of Masiello’s feedback on social media has been positive. Some have mocked his efforts. But she embraced this conversation.

“When I started sharing and saw that it was impacting so many people, and also so many people had a very negative reaction, I was like, OK, this is really moving people’s emotions. . I need to talk more about it and I’m very happy to do so, ”she said.

In Los Angeles, Lena Kazer, 31, also thought of it for her wedding on May 21 in her garden with 38 guests.

“We’re both a little disgusted by the extravagance of the wedding industry,” she said. “We have agreed to use the resources we have and to avoid buying anything that we will not continue to use.”

They use compostable or recyclable utensils, cups and plates. They make cocktails to reduce waste and use their own furniture for seating. Kazer’s bouquet will be made of real flowers, but she has kept flower purchases to a minimum.

“We buy almost all the decorations at thrift stores, and I wear my sister’s wedding dress and my mother’s veil,” she said. “We told everyone they could wear whatever they wanted after hearing about people spending thousands of dollars on new outfits for weddings.”

Other ideas for green weddings include using seed paper, which can be planted by recipients, and serving organic, seasonal, farm-to-table foods with donated leftovers.

Kat Warner, whose T. Warner Artists provides entertainment for weddings along the East Coast, has options ranging from solar-powered lighting to all-solar receptions. She also uses carbon offsets, donating to funds that support things like reforestation and bird conservation.

Warner said couples are asking more questions, including “what different parts of their weddings can be recycled, composted or repurposed.”

Greater Good Events, which bills itself as “event planners for those who don’t give a damn,” takes a holistic approach in Portland, Oregon, and the New York Tri-State area. Waste in weddings isn’t always tangible, said Maryam Mudrick, who bought the business with Justine Broughal in September.

“If you work with suppliers with poor labor practices who don’t reinvest in communities, you also create ancillary waste in that regard,” Mudrick said.

One of their catering partners, Pinch Food Design, has a zero waste commitment, which includes designing menus to limit food waste, donating used cooking oil for biodiesel, and supporting sustainable agriculture. and regenerative.

Florist Ingrid Carozzi of Tin Can Studios in Brooklyn cited other problems with floral arrangements beyond the use of non-biodegradable foam, such as bleaching and chemically dyeing flowers to achieve unnatural colors.

“It’s terrible for the environment, and working with these materials is not good for you,” she said. “Some florists are working towards sustainable methods, doing everything they can. There’s a real mix now.”

Kate Winick and her fiancé had a rule for their May 22 garden wedding at a home in Northport, New York: If it’s meant to be thrown away or used once, skip it or buy used .

“I don’t think living sustainably means you need a crisp aesthetic,” she said. “It just means using what is already in the world. The most sustainable purchase is something that already exists.

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