These days if you want your next event to be in a league of its own,
you have to go green. Weddings and social events are more memorable
when guests know you're doing the right thing, and any company's image
is enhanced when clients know it's eco-savvy. Here are some tips for
designing an earth-friendly event without busting your budget.

Paper & Peripheries

Everyone knows that you can save a bundle by switching to e-vites, and
save the environment to boot. This may be an excellent option for
conferences and meetings, but many brides-to-be want their guests to
receive an invitation that's a little more personal. Recycled paper is
a must here, and, contrary to a popular misconception, organic soy
inks can actually save on printing costs because soy ink is much more
vibrant than regular inks, meaning that less can be used to create
more.

In Lieu of Linen: recycled paper table covers are being used at many
events – this cuts back on the waste of one-time-use table
covers, and they can be recycled after the event, instead of being
thrown into the trash. Many of these products are cost-effective when
compared to traditional table coverings, and because they feel like
the real thing, your guests will be none the wiser.

At your conference, make sure to minimize paper based inserts in gift
bags, and use electronic technology to your benefit in order to reduce
printing cost and save paper by the bundle. Consider creating displays
that can be re-used next year too – plan ahead, and create these
items in unity with your brand so that they can be re-used or flipped
over and re-designed.

Hors' Devours

Bottled water is a big no-no, from both an environmental and a social
standpoint (this was a very popular thing to see at events three years
ago, but not anymore). Having carafes filled with at every table saves
money and keeps your guests from going thirsty.

Going local for your produce is a fundamental strategy for the
eco-minded party planner, as it saves on transportation cost and
drastically cuts down on the carbon footprint your delightful
delicacies leave on the planet. Remember, if you must have lobster at
your event in Anchorage, well, you're not doing the earth any favors.
While organic food is generally more expensive, the veggie and poultry
dishes are priced competitively.

Your caterer plays an important role in this aspect of your event. If
you are planning your special night at a venue known for being
earth-friendly, consult its list of preferred caterers. Many caterers
are responsible with their waste, and some even take the idea further
by composting all the leftovers from their events, at no cost!

Your Party Planner

Finding a party planner who shares your vision is the first step to
creating events that go off without a hitch – green or not. And
after decades of waste, many in this industry understand the
significant impact their operations can have on Mother Earth.

Establish a great rapport with your planner, and talk to her about the
green initiatives her company already has in place, and whether their
suppliers are interested in creating quality products from recycled
materials. Everything from recycled chairs, to bamboo dance floors, to
sustainable plywood is available to the right planner. Event companies
that are already reusing and recycling can save you time money,
because they've already found savvy ways to go green while making a
profit.

Plan Ahead

The better planned your green party, the smaller the footprint it
leaves behind. Perhaps the most important aspect of going green and
saving money is that while many of these options are priced
competitively, they aren't as readily available as traditional
products. This is why its important for you to have a clear vision of
what you want, and how you want to go green. Communicating with your
planner and all those involved with your event is the first step to
creating a night that your guests will remember for its elegance and
sustainability.