Martha’s Vineyard is a popular destination for some of the most elaborate and intimate of affairs, and we’re lucky to be a part of many of them. On any given weekend there could be dozens of weddings happening on-Island, with vendors buzzing about in preparation, and guests traveling in from afar just for the occasion. All of this activity can make for a lot of extra waste, but if you’re careful in the planning process you can seriously reduce what ends up in the garbage.
Planning a green wedding on Martha’s Vineyard, or anywhere else for that matter, just takes asking around and giving some special consideration to the decisions you make for the event. And green weddings can still be just as elegant and chic! Here are ten ways you can be sure to pull off a beautiful, fun-filled celebration that reflects more kindly on the environment.
Plan an outdoor event during the day. Martha’s Vineyard is home to beautiful beaches, rolling hills and gorgeous wooded areas that make for the perfect backdrop to any occasion. Allow the sun to provide the lighting and reduce your need for electricity in the process. If you’re planning a wedding think about having the ceremony and location in the same place so you can reduce your carbon footprint without the extra transportation.
Ask your caterer about composting. The amount of food wasted every day is staggering, and much of it is unnecessary. According to Island Grown Initiative (IGI) an estimated 11 million pounds of food waste are generated on Martha’s Vineyard each year. Here we ship our trash off-Island where it travels approximately 40 miles before being landfilled or incinerated, using fossil fuels to power the trip (and the return trip). Be sure to ask your caterer about composting the prep, scraps, and leftovers from your event. Many caterers like Kitchen Porch Catering will do this anyway. You can also hire IGI to do it for you as part of their Food Waste Collection initiative. Contact Aaron Lowe at (508) 687-9062 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Rent or reuse your plates and glassware. Be sure to avoid disposable items at all costs. Many vendors like Big Sky Tents, offer full linen, china, and glassware rentals. If you’re renting ask your vendor about eliminating or reducing the plastic wrap they’re usually packaged in. You can also purchase mason jars to be used as drinking glasses or jamming jars after the fact (they make great containers for canning beach plums). Another option is to sell or donate them to a friend planning an event at a later date. Sites like Wedding Recycle and Bravo Bride make it easy for you to buy and sell wedding decor products online.
When it comes to beverages consider a keg or large jugs of wine to eliminate extra bottles and cans. And if you need to serve straws purchase stainless steel ones that you can use as favors. Reusable water bottles make great gifts too!
Use local vendors. Martha’s Vineyard may be small but there are vendors here for just about everything you need to pull off the perfect event. Try to reduce the number of people and automobiles that have to be brought in from off-Island. And if you’re looking for gifts for your guests or bridal party opt for locally made items like Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salt and Chilmark Chocolates that are made right here with extra love.
Repurpose your formal wear. There’s a ton of websites where you can shop for used wedding dresses and formal wear like NearlyNewlwed and Tradesy. Ask around in your family to see if there’s a dress you can alter to make yours, and consider allowing your bridesmaids to wear a dress they already own. Shop your closet for things like shoes and accessories, not everything needs to be fresh. If you decide to go new consider re-selling your clothes after the fact so they can be used again.
Ask for organic or locally grown flowers or consider decorating with potted plants. If you’re having fresh-cut flowers delivered ask that they be transported in buckets to eliminate plastic waste. Have a friend or family member with a garden on Martha’s Vineyard? Consider asking them to grow them for you as a wedding present. After the event donates your flowers to the hospital or local nursing homes that would especially appreciate the arrangements. You can even ask your caterer about using them for an event the next day.
If you’re using potted plants plan to repurpose them throughout the entire weekend of events, including the rehearsal, wedding, or a Sunday brunch. Then give them away as a favor for repotting (the gift that keeps on giving!), or reuse them at home as a lovely and sentimental addition to your home.
Send e-vites or use recycled paper. It’s still pretty common place to send physical wedding invitations, but you can be mindful of the material they’re printed on. IGI’s Food Equity and Recovery Director Sophie Abrams Mazza recommends plantable wedding invitations that can grow flowers and herbs when you plant them–beautiful, creative, and eco-friendly! When it comes to save the dates and RSVPs go digital.
Shop thrift stores and secondhand shops. You can find some really cool and unique pieces second hand. Shop around for previously used items that can be used for your decor and tablescaping, like glasses, jars, vases and baskets. On Martha’s Vineyard be sure to check out Chicken Alley Thrift store and the dozens of estate sales and yard sales happening each weekend. You can mix and match pieces for the perfect rustic chic look!
Express yourself. When talking to all of your vendors simply mention your commitment to going green and ask what they can help you do about it, whether it’s reducing the packaging of their items or repurposing the items they’re assisting you with. Martha’s Vineyard is a very eco-friendly community and vendors here are happy to help you make it happen–not only is it the right thing to do but it can often eliminate extra work in the process too.
For additional assistance with planning a sustainable wedding or special event contact KG Events and Design, a certified Green Event Company on Martha’s Vineyard.