Breaking with Tradition

There were over 150 000 weddings in Canada last year. That’s everything from sneaking off to city hall to breaking the bank on an all-out traditional bash.

Think about the last traditional wedding you’ve been to. Beautiful flowers for the wedding party, on the tables, on the pews. Toast after toast to the happy couple. So much food you couldn’t possibly finish it.

Those flowers were most likely grown with pesticides and possibly shipped overseas. It was easier to get 150 plastic wine glasses than 150 glass wine glasses.  In the rush to clean up and get home at the end of the night the catering staff skipped sorting out the compostables and all that left over food went with the trash (with the plastic glasses that could have been recycled).

Well, tradition is lovely but you can’t cling to something out of nostalgia when it’s just all-round not good for us or the planet. As an educated, environmentally/socially conscious group of brides-to-be and grooms-to-be we have to do what we know we should but cringe at the thought of: break with tradition.

You might want to start by mentally preparing yourself to deal with the expression on your grandmothers face when she gets her email invitation. I think invitations are an area that can easily be upgraded to planet-friendly, but it possibility one of the hardest. Invitations are the first thing guests experience about a wedding. They set the tone, arriving in a colour that matches the flowers and bridesmaids’ dresses. They’re pretty, customized and give all the info your guests need.

But they use resources. Lots of paper. The invitation. The envelope. The response card. Are all your guests going to recycle it? Lots of postage. Trucks driving the letter to your guests. Trucks driving the response cards back to you.

You can still get all the pretty, all the customization, and all the info to your guests without the tree chopping and exhaust billowing. Email! Websites like Cocodot let you have what looks exactly like your traditional invitation without all the guilt. Beautiful, customized invitations, along with all sorts of other handy features, such as links to registries, wedding websites and guest tracking. When I first saw this website my first thought was “people won’t like getting an email invitation”. But this is the bride and groom’s wedding, not the guests’, and why would they set aside their values for their wedding? If anything this is a chance to embrace your values.

(As an added bonus, it will also most likely cost you less)

150 000 weddings in Canada a year. You could save a lot trees.

***Author’s Note*** I got engaged! In case you couldn’t tell. Don’t worry though, all my posts won’t be about weddings from now on. I’ll try to bring up topics that are applicable to other situations. You can use email invitations for any event; anniversary, birthday, just because. And I’ll still cover some non-wedding issues. Like the BP oil gush being plugged (for now).

This week’s Green Product!

There’s a stew of claims about the adverse health effects of deodorant. Did you know that Alzheimer’s patients have higher than normal concentrations of aluminum in their brain tissue? Did you know that antiperspirants use aluminum to close your pores so you don’t sweat?

Now, there’s no clear evidence that shows that the aluminum in your brain got there by being absorbed  through your armpits, or that aluminum is a cause of Alzheimer’s, but it makes you think. Plus the mining of aluminum is definitely not a good thing for the environment. There’s also chemical fragrances, formaldehyde (the stuff your frogs were in before you dissected them in grade 11), and talc. Talc was exposed as being illegally mined from an Indian wildlife sanctuary in 2003 and being sold to companiess like Unilever, which owns the Axe and Degree brands.

Guess we’ll just have to stink, right? Wrong!

I started using Crystal Body Deodorant. It’s made from Ammonium Alum, a rock salt. It leaves a salt film on your skin that stops bacteria from growing, and they’re the ones that stink. It’s working for me; I know because I forgot to put it on one day. I recommend re-applying if you put it on in the morning and are going out again at night, it doesn’t seem to last as long as conventional stuff. It was more expensive than conventional sticks as well, but I have a feeling it’s going to last a long time. It seems to get used up slower than a roll-on or a regular stick so I expect it will work out on the plus financially by the time you need to get a new rock.

** This does not stop you from sweating. Just from stinking. **

Thanks to the book Ecoholic by Adria Vasil, where I got my info for this post. It’s a great book for those concerned about what’s going in/on/around their bodies and what every thing they do does to the planet and how to fix it!