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Friday, January 23, 2009

Green is SO the new white

One of our fantastic Event Managers, Sarah McSweeney, is engaged. Even more exciting is that she and her fiance chose Lowndes Grove (AKA her place of employment) for their vows and festivities. Even MORE exciting is that Sarah and Tommy are trying to find news ways to "green" their wedding. And, Sarah is heading up the newly created Patrick Properties Green Team. Obviously, there's a story here, so please help me in welcoming Sarah as our Guest Green Blogger!

Since Patrick Properties is a company that focuses on historic preservation, it makes perfect sense that we are also committed to preserving the environment. When I discussed my upcoming wedding with Jennifer Goldman, our Director of Events, she suggested I check out www.carbonfund.org. I used their "carbon calculator" to estimate my wedding's carbon footprint. That is a lot of carbon talk I know—let me explain. The calculation tells me how many metric tons of carbon my wedding will emit into the environment. My estimate was 49.9 metric tons. Yes, tons—with overseas flights, car travel and hotel expenses that seems about right. The good news is we can offset the cost by supporting carbon-reducing projects like renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation. Imagine if every bride and groom actually went through the process of offsetting their carbon emissions from their wedding! The positive effect on the environment would be astronomical.

From calculating my carbon footprint, to researching “green” companies, I came to the realization that though Patrick Properties is already a green company, there are always new and innovative green initiatives springing up. So, I'm heading up the PP Green Team, and you'll hear more about that soon. To get things going, check out the 5 Things You Can Do To Green Your Event. More to follow...don’t you worry I am just getting warmed up!

Location, Location, Location
With friends and families so dispersed these days, it is important to pick a location that's convenient for the majority of your guests. Not only will it decrease their travel costs (which they will be grateful for), but it will also decrease the carbon footprint of your wedding. Having your ceremony and reception in the same location is helping the environment and saving extra travel for guests.

Choose Local and Seasonal Flowers
Couples spend an average of $2,000 on flowers. Flowers are one of the most heavily pesticided crops in the world, and more than half of the flowers available in the United States are imported from overseas (which uses fuel and contributes to global warming). By choosing seasonal flowers, you not only decrease the cost of your wedding, but you decrease your impact on both the environment and human health.

Go Organic and Local
Ask your caterer (and we hope it's FISH) about including seasonal, local organic elements in your menu. If you can’t find a green baker, look for vendors are willing to substitute in organic flour, sugar, eggs and milk. I know Ms. Susanna Ieronemo, our Pastry Chef, will be more than willing to add a bit of green into your life!

Reduce
The average wedding produces 600-800 pounds of garbage! Try to cut down on waste by skipping one-time use of items like favors. A great idea is to pass along a flower bulb that guests can plant. Or, ask your bridesmaids to truly be a part of your day by wearing something they already own or pick dresses in a specific color and style so they will wear them again.

Recycle and Reuse
You can have a luxurious wedding, save a ton of money and decrease your impact on the environment by borrowing, renting and purchasing pre-owned items. For example, one of my favorite go-to sites is www.oncewed.com. Featured on the site is an entire section for past, present and future brides to buy or sell wedding dresses. You will also see lovely tidbits for d├ęcor and accessories. I will just mention that I found a lovely piece that will be showcased on my big day courtesy of Muscari by Easter Yu. Ok, no more hints. Yes it is YOUR day, but do remember that it is always the season to donate and think of others. Local hospitals and nursing homes could always use some cheering up with a lovely floral arrangement leftover from your big day.

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