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P-A-R-T-Y!

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Of course there are many different sorts of parties--everything from the informal potluck barbecue to the 200 guest anniversary bash. But there's loads of opportunity to go greener (and cheaper) no matter what kind of shindig you're planning. And to get me started, I invited an expert. Nathalie Gendron runs a green party planning business called Them Concept. She spends her days helping small companies plan eco-friendly corporate events. "What is a green party?" she says, "a green party is trying to minimize the environmental footprint, make fair trade choices and support your local economy."
Watch the full video here.
Yee Haw!
Let's start with invites:
While planning my own wedding, I found that e-vites were a brilliant way to keep track of who's coming, with whom and so forth. Plus, they're free and you can customize them to suit your tastes with photos, background and themes.
But if you're a little more old fashioned, here's an absolutely genius way not only to get folks to come to the event--but to create cherished memories after:
Locally produced, hand-made seeded paper from Quebec company Wishbuds.
Handmade paper sheets start at $24/10 sheets (8.5x11)
You can also ask them to custom create your invitations (this will take longer, so allow upto a month for delivery)

Crockery and cutlery
Please, please ditch those plastic, paper and styrofoam cups, plates and cultery. Even paper isn't as eco-friendly as one might imagine. Paper needs sunlight and air to decompose--two things that are in very short supply in the average landfill that's designed to minimize bacterial activity. You can still find newspapers from the 1920s that are in perfectly readable condition in landfills today! And they didn't even have that helpful wax coating that most cups come with.
So...
REDUCE: Use what you have. If you don't have enough dishes, borrow some from friends for the event. Or rent! A quick google search brought me this link.
If you figure you are going to throw big parties often, it's probably worth investing in some secondhand crockery and cutlery from your local charity shop. It costs almost nothing and the mix-mash can be quite charming.

no border
If you insist on having everything match, don't worry, we even have an eco-friendly option for you (one that's GORGEOUS to boot!). A local Montreal ceramics artist called Carolyn Grimard "upcycles" used crockery with food-safe paint (similar to what you'd do at the Ceramic Cafe). You can buy a set of 12-16 pieces for $65! (Great wedding prezzie I'd say!)

CENTREPIECES

Commercial cut flowers can be quite the eco-nightmare. They use tons of pesticides, are shipped in from all over the world and flower workers often work under abusive conditions. Don't want to have all this on your conscience? Consider doing a centre piece with live flowers that are grown in Quebec. You can buy any number of varieties at the Marche Jean Talon, clip your own houseplants or buy organic, fair-trade flowers on Parc Avenue at Green Poppies.
If you’re planning something more elaborate, consider a gorgeous take-home bird house (starting at $20) by that’s made in Quebec by Arthur Quentin. The company also provides organic linen table cloths/napkins/placemats and beautiful wooden bowls that are made from a single piece of wood (although these are made in the US).

You could also order the best possible mix of utility and art from Edible Arrangements (they do fruit masterpieces that you can feast on with eyes AND tastebuds).
http://www.ediblearrangements.com/

BOOZE!
Did you scroll down straight to this one? Well, with some of the delicious local organic wine and beer out there, who can blame you. Check out Negondos for the only bio vino produced in Quebec. It’s a neat family owned winery and bottles run between $10 and $15.
(website was down when I tried to check it out, but I found loads of references to it on Google)
I’ve been unable to find a direct link to Logique Bio organic beers, but here’s a review.


And last but not least:

FOOD
Turns out, there are loads of excellent options out there if you want to have your event catered. But even if you’re cooking at home, try and buy seasonal produce (organic if possible) and from local farmers. Also, when shopping for food (and this isn’t restricted just to parties), try and buy stuff that comes with minimal packaging. I personally am trying to get my local IGA to stop wrapping produce in Styrofoam and plastic. It sort of defeats the purpose of carting it all home in a reusable bag, no?
But I digress…
If you’re interested in local caterers, check out these sites:
Crudessence: They do raw food starting at $15 per person
Le festigoût : This is a social organisation which uses part of its profits to feed the less fortunate.
Buffet starting at $15.00 per person
Fuschia: Delicious vegetarian cuisine with seasonal ingredients used in exotic and unusual (but always delicious) combinations.


Meanwhile, if you have some green party ideas to share, I'd love to hear them. And I'm trying to track down someone, anyone who's either had a green wedding or plans to). You can contact me through the blog or call our talkback line at (514) 597-5626

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Comments (4)

Stéphanie Côté-Marcoux

Kirkland

Dear Geeta,

I very much enjoy Homerun and I'm very impress with your blog.

Not only weddings can be green, but funerals also. Part of my mission as a new funeral services provider is to be sensitive to the environment issues surrounding funerals and commemoration.

Stéphanie
www.voluntas.ca

Posted April 16, 2008 03:57 PM

Mandy Hollingshead

Montreal

Hey Geeta
I heard your plea to talk to a couple who have had a green wedding. We did! Contact us anytime, and we'll talk to you about what we did.
Mandy

Posted April 16, 2008 09:36 PM

Alana Kane

StLaurent

Good Morning Geeta, my colleague mentioned that you were looking for brides planning a green weeding. Well, my name is Alana Kane and I work for Kahnawake Environment Protection Office.

My fiancé proposed to me on March 29th and ever since, I have been researching green alternatives for my wedding next year. I have found some very helpful websites, however I am really looking forward to your segments to help me out.

Thank you for all you do, education is the only tool we have to remind people that we can do things differently! I would love to be a part, somehow, of the wedding segments you have planned. Thanks again,
Alana Kane

Posted April 17, 2008 02:20 PM

Melanie Bregman

PointeClaire

I am having a green wedding. I would be interested to be contacted through my e-mail for a possible feature.

Posted April 26, 2008 05:37 PM

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