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Marriage &

Weddings now have a touch of green

How to plan for a church wedding

Before saying ‘I do,’ couples should consider who’ll do what

Marriage prep courses offered in Oakland diocese

Catholic Web site is successful matchmaker

Catholic Voice
  February 8, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA

Blowing bubbles is an eco-friendly alternative to throwing rice at a wedding.
Weddings now have a touch of green

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The tradition for brides to wear “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” for good luck may now include the stipulation that these things also be environmentally sustainable — or green.

The things old and borrowed certainly meet the criteria as they involve recycled products, but the new and blue might take a little more effort.

But doing more work to be less wasteful doesn’t seem to be stopping modern couples. As more couples seek to have eco-friendly wedding ceremonies and receptions, a whole industry of stores and Web sites have sprouted up with advice and products.

A green wedding can involve slight changes to traditional wedding fare or more complex plans to make sure the invitations, bridal attire, menus, favors, rings, gifts, flowers and even honeymoon travel are all environmentally sustainable.

Even Brides magazine is on board with the trend with a special planning guide for a green wedding called eco-chic weddings.

According to Millie Martini Bratten, editor-in-chief of Bride’s magazine, you do not have to sacrifice style or taste to go green with your wedding plans. “If anything, it makes the wedding even more meaningful,” she said.

Catholic couples in particular may want to consider eco-friendly weddings since the Catholic Church has long advocated the need to show proper stewardship of God’s creation and many of the saints spoke about doing this long before it was trendy.

Eco-friendly wedding planning can start on the right foot with invitations that are either handmade, e-mailed or printed on recycled paper.

Green bridal attire involves either re-using a wedding gown from a family member, vintage clothing shop or eBay purchases. If a bride really wants to buy her own dress, she could purchase a simple dress that could be worn again or consider donating the wedding gown to a charitable organization such as Brides Against Breast Cancer or the I Do Foundation. Bridesmaids could also donate their dresses to the Glass Slipper Project, a program that distributes formal dresses to high-school students unable to afford prom attire.

For wedding flowers, couples should consider what is locally grown or grown at organic farms. They could also use potted plants for centerpieces that guests could take home.

The old tradition of throwing rice at couples after the wedding is a green no-no as rice can be dangerous to birds. Throwing birdseed, as some couples have opted, has similarly been blacklisted as birdseed may contain non-native or invasive plant seeds. If guests must do something, blowing bubbles seems to fit the bill without causing any environmental harm.

With food and drink: think local and organic and include options for vegetarian guests. Some green wedding Web sites also suggest that outdoor receptions use biodegradable dishes and flatware or rented silverware and flatware instead of using disposable materials.

Wedding favors needn’t be gift bags of chocolates but could be seeds, plants, fruit or something made by a local artisan.

Couples, especially those marrying later in life who have many of the household items they need, might want to consider creating an online gift registry for charity. Couples that sign up with www.justgive.org can ask their wedding guests to donate in the couple’s name to one of more than 1 million charities, including Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services and dozens of local Catholic organizations.

Paul Covino, editor of “Celebrating Marriage: Preparing the Roman Catholic Wedding Liturgy” and associate chaplain and director of liturgy at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., noted that couples can take part in these charity registries or make a donation, from the money they receive as gifts, to the parish’s social outreach committee or food pantry.

He also suggested that couples include a request for wedding guests to bring nonperishable food items to the wedding which can be brought to a parish food pantry or a local food bank.

Covino’s suggestion was not merely to be eco-friendly but as a way to “express the care for the needy that a Christian couple is called to reflect in marriage.”

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