By Azure Nelson,
Published Sep 10, 2009
One of the perks of this job is getting a chance to chat with fascinating people. Check out this interview with green wedding author and blogger, Wenona Napolitano
. Then, visit onewed’s new bookshelf section to read a review
of The Everything Green Wedding Book.
Interview with Wenona Napolitano author of The Everything Green Wedding Book
by Marta Segal Block
Marta: Do you consider yourself a “wedding person” who became interested in the environment, or an environmentalist who became interested in the wedding industry?
Wenona: I have always been a bit of a treehugger. I didn't become a wedding person until in my twenties when my mother remarried and I helped her plan the wedding. I discovered I loved wedding planning and that I had a knack for it. After that I took a course in wedding planning and several floral design classes.
M: How does this book differ from other wedding books?
W: Well, instead of focusing on wedding extravagance and all the things the wedding industry says you're supposed to have it focuses on planning a wedding with the environment in mind. Like the title says, it's everything green about planning a wedding. From the ring to the honeymoon and even in married life after the honeymoon you'll receive advice about going green.
M: What do you consider a “green wedding”?
W: Any wedding that incorporates several green elements is a green wedding. It is not all or nothing. If you create invitations from recycled or tree free paper and wear a gown made from bamboo-it's a green wedding. You know it is as much or as little as the couple can do, the main thing is that they are planning with the environment in mind.
M: What is one “green” thing every couple can do, even if the environment isn’t their main concern?
W: Keep things simple. The fewer items that are purchased the fewer resources that are used. Conserving resources is a great way to be green without worrying about every little detail.
M: What is the most important thing a couple can do?
W: Other than keeping things simple, plan with the three R's in mind: reduce, reuse, recycle. Reduce what you use, reuse everything you can whether through buying or borrowing gently used items or by using items that will be reused in the home, and always purchase items made from recycled materials or that can be recycled.
M: The book offers a lot of suggestions for getting married on a budget, do you see this as related to having a green wedding?
W: Definitely. One aspect of being green is saving resources. Money is definitely a dwindling resource. Weddings are usually extravagant and wasteful. A green wedding should conserve as much as possible and a big bonus for being green is saving green… as in dollars. Sure you see celebrities planning green extravaganzas but they're showing off. In reality being green follows the less is more type of thinking.
M: Some of the parts of the book I was most interested in were the discussions of jewelry and food. Are there other aspects of green living you got interested in as a result of writing the book?
W: Yes. I learned so much about the amount of waste and energy that we use…just in the US. The statistics are staggering. Now I watch my consumption more than ever and make sure everything possible makes it to the recycling bins and I always go around my house turning off lights and unplugging things that are not being used. Before writing the book I was conscious of energy use and consumption but not actively conserving as much as I could. Now I am very pro-active about conservation in many areas.
M: What’s something you were surprised to learn why researching the book?
W: To make one gold ring over 20 TONS of mining waste is created, waste that uses resources, pollutes the environment and can destroy natural settings and animal habitats. Really makes me rethink the appeal of pretty, shiny jewelry.
M: Can you give us one tip for living a more green life after the wedding?
W: Practice conscious consumerism and recycle. (I guess that's two but they are both really important.)
M: Did you have a green wedding? Are there things you would do differently today to make it more green?
W: My wedding was greenish, more budget than green but with plenty of green elements. All the vendors we used were close to home, the catering was done by my husband's family. The wedding and reception were in the same location. Our honeymoon was close to home. All this reduced travel and travel emissions.
The chapel and reception location were pre-decorated so we didn't have to spend a lot of money or resources on that. I borrowed and reused a lot of other décor elements like centerpieces and rented the table linens and skirts. I did my own flowers. Almost nothing was thrown away afterward. Any leftover food was passed on to family and friends to take home.
If I had it to do over again I wouldn't stress so much about the perfect wedding and I would focus on more green elements. Today there is so much more available than when I planned my own wedding. It is amazing how much "green" has grown in just a few years. I wish I would have had so many eco-options readily available.
M: What are you working on now?
W: I have lots of articles in the works and I am keeping busy with my online blogs and the sites that I regularly write for. I try to keep my companion blog for The Everything Green Wedding Book updated at least once a week with tips, green recommendations, and new green companies -even product reviews. The blog can be found at www.everythinggreenweddings.blogspot.com