By Angie Howard

There are a handful of occasions in life that nearly every woman can recall. Among those are usually her wedding day, the birth of her children and grandchildren, and maybe even her high school or college graduation day.
I remember with fondness the first event mentioned on the above list. My wedding day was in August of 2000 and was one of the hottest days on record in Arkansas. I had planned every detail of my special day with the precision of a true obsessive compulsive personality for over six months, and I can still remember the excitement and anticipation I felt sitting in the dressing room minutes before walking down the aisle.
Once I had made it to the altar at the front of the sanctuary I realized that it was at least 20 degrees hotter than the sweltering conditions outside thanks to my insistence on a candlelit ceremony. I can remember praying through the entire wedding that, number one, my soon-to-be husband would not faint from the combination of being in a tuxedo, being nervous, and being trapped in the extreme heat, and number two that my beautiful flowers would not wilt before the event had concluded. Thankfully, both new husband and flowers stood strong throughout our vows.
It will soon be a decade since my wedding day, and in that relatively short amount of time, today's brides are offered even more choices regarding the type and style of ceremony and reception to plan.
One specific wedding theme that has become more and more popular in recent years is the "Green Wedding." For those couples who are committed to beginning their sustainable lifestyles together in an eco-friendly fashion, a green wedding is a terrific option to demonstrate to friends and family how beautiful, original, and fun a celebration attuned to environmental preservation can be!
Just how do you begin to plan a green wedding? Starting with the invitation leading all throughout to the honeymoon, brides and grooms are presented an array of options to make their weddings more environmentally conscious. There are even wedding planners who specialize in planning green weddings.
Some suggestions to implement green strategies in your wedding planning might include:
Earth-Conscious Wedding Invitations or Announcements
Wedding invitation suppliers today offer a wide variety of 100% recycled, partially recycled, or even tree-free papers. Simply inquire with your invitation company and prepare to be boggled by the choices!
"Green" Wedding Gowns
A great eco-conscious wedding gown choice would be to wear a family gown, perhaps a wedding dress worn by your mother or grandmother. Another option is to purchase a once-worn or sample wedding gown for your big day. A company called Encore Bridal, www.encorebridal.com sells exquisite pre-owned couture wedding dresses. If your heart is set on a new dress, consider a gown made from sustainable fabrics such as hemp and organic materials (cotton, linen, and silk).
Eco Friendly Flowers
Choosing a florist who will commit to using organically grown, local, and in-season flowers can make a tremendous difference in the environmental impact your décor has on the environment. By purchasing local flowers, long-distance transportation of tropical blooms for your special day is eliminated, along with the huge carbon footprint created by shipping your flowers.
Wrap it up with an
Earth Happy Honeymoon
The possibilities to this one are limited only by your imagination, affinity of destination, and of course, budget. There are numerous travel agencies and even websites which specialize in offering green travel options. Check out websites such as www.greatgreentravel.com or www.itsagreengreenworld.com to inspire you and your fiancé for ideas to create your own post-wedding adventure.
Though I personally would not change one thing about my beautiful wedding day (except maybe the triple-digit temperatures), I do wish that "green weddings" were an option I knew of when planning the details of our union. Brides of today: best wishes to you planning your wedding! Perhaps some of you may add another color to the old adage: Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something(s) green! So maybe it doesn't have quite the same ring as the original version, but incorporating that "color" into your special day can be a terrific way to begin your newly formed family's eco-friendly traditions.