While planning your earth-conscious affair, other green keywords you should look for and consider are organic, sustainable, renewable, and fair-trade.
Organic products are those that are grown without use of pesticides and other unnatural products, and they are processed without use of harmful chemicals. When you shop for organic products, don't just think food. Flowers are grown organically and many products are made from organically grown crops, including wine, beer, cotton, and hemp fabrics, and even bath and beauty items. Not only can your menu be organic, but so can your flowers, your cosmetics, and your dress.
Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth. Ecologists claim bamboo is the best renewable resource because it can be used for everything from building materials to food. In the right environmental conditions, bamboo can grow as much as four feet per day.
Sustainable resources are those that can be used without fear that they will run out. A material is also considered to be sustainable if it can be created or harvested and used without harming the environment. Hemp and bamboo are sustainable resources because even though the plants are destroyed for manufacturing, new ones quickly grow in their place, and the supply can be maintained. Petroleum is not a sustainable resource; once petroleum resources are depleted, we cannot make more.
Hemp fabric combines warmth and softness with extreme durability. It is very versatile and is used to make numerous products including clothing, shoes, accessories, linens, and furniture. You can use many hemp products in your wedding, from paper made from hemp to hemp fabric used in the bridal attire.
Bamboo may show up in many products you use for your green wedding. Bambu (www.bambuhome.com) has biodegradable single-use plates and utensils, called Veneerware, made from bamboo. Several bridal designers offer gowns made from bamboo and bamboo fabric blends.
Renewable resources are those not completely depleted by human consumption and the afterlife of which does not contribute to the waste system. Solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, and bio-fuels are all renewable resources. Look for green businesses that utilize renewable resources.
Fair trade products are those that have been produced by businesses that promote fair wages, environmentally sustainable practices, and healthy work conditions. Many big businesses have factories in other countries where workers are exploited. Clothing is made in sweatshops by workers who are treated poorly. Research the companies you purchase from at sources such as Co-op America (www.coopamerica.org), SweatFree (www.sweatfree.org), and the Fair Trade Federation (www.fairtradefederation.org).
Some people may view you as a little eccentric for going the green route, but to most people you'll be the height of style, an eco-trendsetter. The hottest thing right now is being green. Remember that change occurs when people decide to discard the old way of doing things. You'll be moving in the right direction, changing the way people view weddings and the world.
By purchasing products that are organic, sustainable, fair trade, and recycled you are supporting the conservation of the planet's natural resources and practicing responsible consumerism. That makes you and your wedding even more meaningful.