Currently everyone is conscious of the trend “go green” and avoid pillaging the planet, but what exactly does that mean when it comes to planning your wedding? Actually, you can do as much or as little as you feel comfortable with to be ecologically sensitive when making your wedding plans. Thus, there are “shades” of green, all of which are to be commended.

Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:

• Hold your wedding and reception in the same venue, so that the guests don’t have to drive from one to the other.
• Have your invitations printed on recycled paper, using soy based ink. There are several attractive ones on the market.
• Choose a wedding gown made from a natural fiber (cotton, linen or silk,) instead of a synthetic fabric which involves petroleum products. Another option is to use a previously worn dress (your mother’s?) or to rent your gown. This is already popular for tuxedos.

• Select flowers for bouquets and decorations which have been grown without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
• Use potted plants instead of cut flowers for decorations—or if cut flowers are used, consider donating them to a senior citizens home after the reception.
• At the reception, avoid the use of paper or plastic plates, cups and forks. Think about renting china and flatware that can be washed and reused.

• If there is leftover food after reception, make arrangements to donate it to a homeless shelter.
• Instead of giving favors which involve plastic containers (made from petroleum) offer your guests seed packets or baby plants to remember your day. Other options might be small jars of locally grown preserves, or soy candles. OR you can give guests a note saying that you have made a donation on their behalf to an earth friendly charity.

In addition to these suggestions, you can think of some of your own. Just remember that the “shade of green” you chose for your wedding day will be as unique and special as you are.