Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Greening of the American Wedding Part 2


Your wedding gown might not seem like the place to make an environmental statement but a quick search of the internet will prove you wrong. A search for “environmentally friendly wedding gowns” brought up 206,000 hits. First think recycle. You can either buy vintage or reuse one that is in the family. A good seamstress can recut a dress to a more modern style to suit your taste and figure and in some ways you are carrying on a family heirloom. If what you crave is new that is also now an option. There is of course silk but also silk hemp blends and a fairly new synthetic fabric make from cellulose called tencel that is very soft to the touch. You can either buy gowns ready made or purchase yard good to have a gown custom made for you. All those options also hold true for bridesmaids.


With how much has been said and written about so called conflict diamonds many socially conscience couples are forgoing the traditional engagement ring altogether. A diamond is considered a conflict diamond if its profits is used to fund war, or it is mined or produced under unethical conditions. In fact there has been such a backlash against diamonds that in 2001 diamond industry figures convened and formed a new organization, the World Diamond Council. This new body set out to draft a new process, whereby all rough diamonds could be certified as coming from a non-conflict source. Dubbed the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme it tracks the origin of rough diamonds and follows the stone through it life. If you are considering a new stone you can look for its certification. Such jewelry stores as Tiffany & Co, Zale and even QVC have started marketing “Ethical Jewelry”.

Not everyone has complete faith in any system, especially one as steeped in human rights violations as the diamond industry. If that is you the best way to go may be to use recycled stones and precious metals. Both and specialize in using recycled materials. Better yet, recycle the family jewels. You can have pieces collected from both families recast into one beautiful new set to symbolize your joining.

After the Wedding

Consider taking your honeymoon close to home. You will be so tired anyway after all that planning and partying that not having a seven hour flight might be a relief. You will also reduce your carbon output.

When it comes time to preserve your gown you can even do that in an environmentally friendly way. Oakwood Cleaners, in Nashville,TN operated by Surendra Kumar is one of the most modern facilities in the world. Specializing in a non-toxic cleaning process they preserve and restore wedding gowns for customers all over the country. Most telling was when Kumar told me that the process is so gentle on fabrics that shops like b. Hughes Bridal and Formal and Ann Frances Couture trust them to pre-clean gowns before the wedding. That just isn’t done. Normal dry cleaning methods can sometimes be so harsh to delicate fabrics that salons usually only spot clean a gown if needed between the portrait sitting and the ceremony for fear of damage. I take that as a huge vote of confidence.

Just how green you decide to go is up to you. Whether your color is a hint of green or more of deep foresty green the people that supply you are catching on. As more and more couples make greener choices and ask for what they want the more resources like money and time the vendors will put into finding solutions. So you see, it really is up to you.

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