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Bridalwave talks to Jen Marsden, author of the Green Guide for Weddings

By Hannah Kane on February 9th, 2009 0 comments yet. Be the First

GG_Wedding_200px[1].jpgHere at Bridalwave we love weddings and we love our planet! So naturally(!) we also love The Green Guide for Weddings, a 224 page full colour publication with advice on how to make you special day green. Each chapter details the social, ethical and environmental considerations for your wedding and offers glamorous, green alternatives. There’s also a comprehensive directory covering budgeting, venues, gowns, beautification, the gift list, honeymoons and more.

We caught up with author Jen Marsden and asked her what inspired her to write the book, how weddings can impact the environment, how easy it is to make a change to a green wedding and general tips for brides to be!

Read after the jump for her brilliant answers… and for essential reading order a copy of her book, priced £8.99 from Green Guide.

Related: Interview with Katie Haines, the brains behind the Eco Chic Wedding and Home Show | The wedding gift list that helps build your home | Hem and silk eco wedding dress by Julia Smith.

BW: What inspired you to write the book?
JM: My great passion is the environment and trying to live as ethical a life as possible, so when my dad remarried I had lots of fun advising him and his vegan bride-to-be on green suppliers, from sourcing local organic ales, wines and Fairtrade orange juice to finding suitable vegan dresses that would be worn by us all beyond the day. Considering that around a quarter of a million of us get hitched every year, weddings can be a very costly event, not just to the bank balance, but also for the planet, and it dawned on me that there was a lot of potential to green the big day up too, just like any area of your life. It’s so easy to have a more eco wedding if you know how and where – hence the book!

BW: What are the negative impacts a wedding can have?
JM: The biggest negative environmental impact is if you have your wedding ceremony and reception spread out all and your guests have to travel far. It makes far more sense, both for your wallet, stress levels and to your guests if you stick to one venue that can do everything for you, or to arrange your reception within walking distance of your ceremony and accommodation. Create a car share list when you send out your invites or set one up one through a wedding plan website you can tailor to your needs.

Ethically, there’s a whole host of potential negative impact from the flowers to the rings to the attire – but the good news is that there are a whole host of green planners and suppliers out there who have done all the hard work for you, preventing any conscious bride from having extra worry on one of the biggest days of your life!

BW: Is it easy to make the change to a green wedding?
JM: It’s so easy to ‘green up’ your wedding. It can be the little details from looking at your confetti and ensuring it is biodegradable or perhaps as one couple did, storing up lovely autumn leaves in jars until their wedding day and having something really natural. You could buy a vintage wedding dress, or get a local dressmaker (who can source sustainable fabrics) to make you and your bridesmaid’s dresses two piece outfits that can be worn again or turned into something else post-wedding. A green wedding is from the heart, and if you wish you can turn convention on its head: One couple I know had their wedding reception in a local park where they spent the day playing rounders with all their friends, who handily brought some homemade grub for a picnic. For the couple, it was simple to organise and a most relaxed special day – luckily the sun shone for them too!

BW: Is it more expensive?
Like any wedding, you can spend a fortune, but a green wedding doesn’t have to be any more expensive, in fact it can be cheaper. For example just by keeping it local you already minimise transport costs. if you are planning to have a large wedding party then catering is often quite an expense, but you can get around this by being creative, from getting your talented friends to bake the wedding cake to befriending your nearest organic farm and buying local produce. You can do your own bit to encourage wildlife and biodiversity here in the UK by choosing seasonal and native flowers such as wildflowers such as sweet peas and marigolds in summer or large single stem flowers such as calla lilies that can be placed in old wine bottles and offer a more cost-effective centrepiece or bulking up on local greenery and using fragrant herbs like lavender or rosemary within your decorations.

It’s entirely up to you what you do – you can spend £3 on a fair trade chocolate truffle in a box for your wedding favour or you could make your own – which is actually in keeping with this tradition (the reason wedding favours exist is that it was used as an opportunity for the mother and respected elders to get together and pass on wisdom to the bride-to-be).

BW: Do you have any general tips for brides?!·

I think that these days we’ve got into such a trap with the commercialization of the wedding day and forgotten what it is all about: the union of two individuals committing to one another for the rest of their lives! That is beautiful in itself and very personal. So let your wedding be personal, don’t succumb to pressures from others. Do it your way.

Working out what the most important aspects of the day are for you, set a budget and ensure you stick to them. Consider hiring a green wedding planner as they will also ensure you get the best deals for both your wedding itself and the planet.

Have an ecoescape in the UK or Europe and go slowly by train. It’s likely to be fair more romantic and whimsical and not as expensive as the typical honeymoon packages.

If you’ve got everything you could dream of, rather than receiving gifts that will go straight to the charity shop, why not sign up to a charitable gift-giving list? If you do want some new stuff for your life together, then set up a weddng list with a green online retailer – there are plenty to choose from!

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