Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Confessions From a Green Meeting Planner's Wedding

After decades of being a single mother raising two children, I accepted my sweetheart’s marriage proposal and we are going to tie the knot next month. We decided a festive celebration was in order to share our happiness with friends and family. Thus began the planning process for two people in the event business--with the groom's theatre background thrown in for good measure.

Our vision is to transform an old building into a swanky 1940’s nightclub complete with tiered dinner seating, silver lamps adorning intimate tables and a cabaret show. Zoot suits and padded shoulders optional.

While I usually maintain this blog for business-related green meetings and events discussion, over the next month I will digress to share a few personal stories about planning our event. The journey to creating a sustainable wedding is requiring me to make sometimes difficult choices—not unlike those we all make when planning any type of gathering. But this time it is personal.

The first problematic choice was whether or not to even send an invitation. While my eco-sense told me to develop a wedding website and evite guests, my sense of elegance said a beautiful printed invitation was in order. Ah, the guilt! I lecture people daily about using electronic resources for all their event communications and now here I was about to turn my back on that very advice for my wedding. How could I do it? After much internal discussion, I compromised. Invitations were printed and mailed but using the paper with the highest pedigree possible for sustainability. In addition, the invitations didn’t include any inserts or extra cards to be mailed back—RSVPs would be electronic.

One decision down. Next up, how am I going to justify and then calculate the carbon footprint of flowers grown in New Zealand and flown first class to Portland?

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