More and more couples are exchanging conspicuous consumption for sustainable celebrationsThe long-held wedding adage, “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” may be evolving into a different shade: “Something old, something lean, something recycled, something green.” More brides and grooms are expressing their environmental predilection through their choices for their wedding ceremony and reception. Yes, like so many other aspects of life, weddings are going green.
By the Numbers
Eco-friendly invitations, organic bridal gowns, recycled wedding bands, organic food and drink, natural make-up and hair, sustainable décor, central locations, outdoor settings, green transportation, and green registries are now not just feel-good buzzwords of the sustainable world, but opportunities wedding industry providers are successfully marketing to their clients.
How much impact could such a movement have if brides and groom embrace the green factor? According to theknot.com, 2.4 million couples get married each year in the United States, generating an estimated revenue basket of $70 billion. If even a fraction of those 2.4 million couples embrace the emerging green paradigm-supporting open markets for local, organic, recycled and recyclable goods, businesses that engage in sustainable practices, and vendors who share their environmental bent-the impact could be substantial. It could particularly help the mobile entertainment industry, currently reeling from increased competition, easy access to music on the internet and “iPod weddings,” by providing a completely positive way to stand out among the muddle of entertainment options
“I haven’t noticed anything yet. But I know it’s coming,” offered Craig Brown, owner of High Fidelity Entertainment in Vancouver, WA and president of the Southwest Washington & Oregon chapter of the ADJA.
Catching the Green Wave
Celebrities are embracing the trend. Stella McCartney’s private wedding included sustainable clothing and organic food. Prince Charles cut into an organic fruitcake and ordered pesticide-free blooms for his wedding to Camilla. And Alicia Silverstone’s guests enjoyed organic vegan food, gazed upon pesticide-free flowers, and received recycled invitations. She even wore a ring handed down on her husband’s side.
Wedding service vendors are responding to the movement. New York’s OZOcar offers hybrid limousines; Organic Vintners, based in Boulder, CO, helps wine lovers find all-natural vintages; and the Houston-based Green Hotels Association will locate accommodations at facilities committed to saving water and energy and reducing solid waste.
Across the United States, in addition to pesticide-free menus, caterers are offering fine china and linen napkins instead of throwaways. Numerous web sites help newlyweds establish donations to charities that benefit the environment, offering guests an alternative to heavily wrapped presents.
“Going green is one of the great business opportunities of the 21st century, and the rapid growth of green weddings and green wedding consulting groups is not surprising,” said David Cooperrider, a business professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, in an article on the MSNBC web site. “In fact, wedding advisers that are not going green are going to be at a competitive disadvantage.”
Evan Reitmeyer, owner of MyDeeJay, serving the Baltimore/Washington/Virginia metropolitan area, has elevated sustainable practices in the industry to a new level. The company is the first Green-E certified wedding vendor in the nation and is likely the first 100% carbon-neutral wedding entertainer provider in the United States. Check out Evan’s companion article on page ___ for details on his company’s approach to implementing environmentally conscious business practices
Light Up for Less
What can mobile entertainers do to lessen their environmental impact?
For any paper product-brochures, contracts, or agreement letters-employ recycled, tree free or FSC-certified paper. Better yet, minimize paper usage via deployment of email and a robust, interactive online marketing presence.
Drive a hybrid vehicle or, with the incredible shrinking equipment presence, follow Craig Brown’s lead and buy “a smaller van that gets better gas mileage” rather than drive a gas-guzzling SUV. An added benefit-vans, while not as sexy, tend to have significantly more room than their four-wheel drive brethren.
Regarding equipment, Dave Star of Star Productions, serving Central Oregon, suggests, “Using fewer lights than before or more energy-efficient lower-wattage lighting systems.” Or, even better, Brown bought energy-sipping lights: “LED par lights and a Spectrum LED for my light show.”
LED power consumption is, on average, approximately 5% of the equivalent brightness halogen or fluorescent lamp. In addition, LED lights generate virtually no heat and, because they are made up of solid state components, they are extremely durable, better able to withstand the rigors of travel and constant set-up and teardown.
Learning the 3 R’s
On a personal level, what can mobile entertainers do to support green causes? As an older eco-slogan goes, “Reduce, reuse and recycle.”
Consider supporting local, non-profit and/or community-based organizations and businesses, in order to lessen your participation in the huge environmental impact of the megacorporations. Subscribe to renewable energy sources (most utility companies now offer customers an option to “purchase” renewable energy). Recycle anything and everything (newspapers, plastic bottles, glass, cardboard, cans, envelopes). Minimize waste as much as possible. Buy products made from recycled goods. Choose reusable bags instead of paper or plastic when shopping. Consider bicycling for errands within a couple miles of home. Link your trips, so you complete errands before returning home for the day.Use both sides of a piece of paper, if possible (even for scratch paper). Outfit your home with fluorescent bulbs.
Only time will tell if “going green” will translate into a lot more of the “green stuff” for mobile entertainers. But, at least, embracing green in your entertainment business and your life will certainly safeguard you against feeling blue about your personal impact on the world.
Wedding Theme: Carbon Neutral
Brides and grooms-and DJs-can calculate their carbon impact on the environment at this site, hosted by NativeEnergy.
Green Power Partnership
At this site you can learn more about purchasing green power to offset electricity usage. Plus, find out about certification and verification as a business utilizing renewable energy and making greenhouse gas reductions.
Filed Under: Issues from 2008, Performing
Leave a comment