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In honor of Earth Day this month, we dedicate this blog to sustainable events and weddings. Third Degree strives to take steps towards sustainable or “green” practices year-round. In fact, we just started a compostable program (using Total Organics Recycling) and banned all single-use plastic disposables at events. So, if you’re looking for an eco-friendly venue, look no further than Third Degree Glass Factory!
WHAT IS A GREEN WEDDING (OR EVENT)?
An eco-friendly wedding is one that strives to reduce negative impacts on the environment wherever possible. The Green Bride Guide states that the average wedding produces 400-600 lbs of garbage and 63 tons of CO2 for a 100-120 person wedding. With an estimated 2.5 million weddings per year, that is about 1 billion lbs of trash and as many emissions as approximately 4 people would produce in a year, in just one single day. That was back in 2008- 12 years ago.
HOW CAN I HOST A SUSTAINABLE GREEN WEDDING (OR EVENT)?
- The first rule of planning any event is “HAVE FUN!”
- Draft up a plan and budget.
- Spend some quiet time to really outline what you’d like, what you envision, and how much you have to spend.
- A good outline and budget will help you endlessly as you move through the planning process.
- Determine what you can do sustainably and where
- Review your entire event from the beginning to the end and ask yourself if and how you can incorporate more sustainable options.
REMEMBER THE FOUR Rs
- Reuse (when possible)
- We’ve added Rent!
- Try not to use single-use disposables.
- Try not to purchase new items that you’ll only use once.
- Rent china, flatware, and linens.
- Rent the vases, etc. from your florist.
Here are a couple of quick tips and suggestions organized by vendor that you could use as you plan.
Invitations & Communication
- Are you comfortable with these being digital?
- From traditional to modern, Green Envelope has hundreds of invitation options and the site can help you track RSVPs.
- Could you use old postcards? These are a wonderful option for a save the date mailing.
- Want a traditional invitation? Hire a printer that uses soy ink and wind power, and use paper with 100% post-consumer content.
- Create an invitation on paper that can be planted! Botanical Paperworks and Forever Fiances covers it all: invitation, menus, place cards, and much more!
- On your (print or digital) materials and on your website, let your guests know that you are hosting a green wedding and what to expect. There is nothing wrong with letting your guests know in advance that there will be three types of trashcans. They will probably thank you for it!
- Hire a venue that has a well-planned and labeled recycling and composting program.
- Host your ceremony and reception at the same location.
- Check to see if the venue uses solar power or another form of renewable energy.
- Buy wind credits for your event, if your venue doesn’t already invest in the Ameren Pure Power Program.
- Pure Power funds are used to purchase Green-e Energy Certified® RECs from regional wind energy and other renewable generation facilities.
- As electric cars become more attainable, venues are installing recharging stations. Third Degree and the Moonrise Hotel offers recharging stations.
Food and Beverages
- Food and beverages typically are the biggest part of the wedding budget. Here is really where a couple can make a difference.
- Try to use locally-sourced products as much as possible. Pick a menu using ingredients that are in season.
- Find a caterer such as Seed, Sprout, Spoon that understands sustainability.
- Ask your caterer if they will compost. Most are already composting- you would be surprised! Make sure your caterer on board with sustainability.
- Organic is nice… and expensive. Be prepared to spend.
- Missouri has a number of great local wines, and we all know that Saint Louis has the best beer!
- Serving only vegetarian/vegan fare is extreme, however, it is the most sustainable thing you can do when hosting a green wedding.
- Rent your plates, glassware, and flatware. Aries Rental Company has a fantastic sustainability program. In addition, they have hundreds of options to choose from.
Travel & Accommodations
- Rent an electric car! Third Degree has a charging station!
- Make sure your hotel offers in-room recycling.
- Book your stay a “green hotel” such as the Moonrise Hotel, which uses solar panels to power its top three floors.
Favors & The Registry
- Try not to pick something that will go in the trash.
- Book a food truck and offer a late-night snack as a favor.
- Ask guests to donate to your favorite charity in your honor.
- Register at local businesses. You would be shocked at how many can accommodate a registry.
- Only use flowers that are in season.
- Don’t use flowers at all. Third Degree offers glass art centerpieces for just $15 a table.
Considering a “green” wedding? Third Degree can help! Event Director Rachel McCall is an experienced “green” event planner. Former clients include the United States Green Building Council, STLGREEN.COM, and The Earthways Center- a Division of the Missouri Botanical Gardens.
Third Degree was the perfect place to have our wedding reception! Our guests raved about how unique and open the space was. They loved that they could peruse the glass gallery, hit the dance floor or chill on the outside patio. My husband and I are both graphic designers so we loved the artistic atmosphere and the ability to have glass artwork from the gallery as the table centerpieces. Tracey was awesome to work throughout the planning process. Rachel worked our reception and she was beyond amazing at attending to our guests and to the details of the night. My husband and I had a perfect evening and Third Degree will continue to be a very special place for us! We can’t wait to go back for events! — Laura H. – Bride
Ready to plan your wedding? Check our availability here, or contact Rachel McCalla, Events Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314.396.2825. Check out our full list of wedding services, including rehearsal dinners, handmade glass gifts, and much more!