The bridal shower is all about making the bride-to-be feel special and celebrated. But that doesn't mean Mother Nature should be ignored for the occasion. Here are eight great ways to host a beautiful and more earth-conscious bridal shower.
Pick an Outdoor Venue
Spring is the perfect time to throw an outdoor bridal shower. Everyone's excited about being out in the sun after a long, cold winter, and the environmental impact is lessened because you're cutting back on lighting and energy costs, say Iris and Zach Nathan of Gingerhill Farm, on the big island of Hawaii.
Make Invitations More Green
Keep the environment in mind when it comes to mailing out invites. Digital services like Sendo will email custom invitations and save a few trees in the process. If paper invitations are a must for whatever reason, check out Paper Culture, where cards are made from 100 percent recycled paper. The company will also plant a tree with every order, so you're part of the solution.
Opt for Plants
While flower centerpieces are always beautiful, plants are a safer bet, as long-lasting blooms are better for the environment. Makayla Thom of Blossoms Studios recommends succulents for starters. "Tropical plants with bulbs designed as centerpieces and garlands are so ecofriendly because you and your guests can take the plants home to plant outside," she says. Curly willow branches are earthy and modern, and they'll grow roots and become a tree if put in water. If the shower host insists on flowers, Alejandro Muguerza of Le Basque suggests humble roadside wildflowers and shrubs. Just ask for them to be arranged without floral foam, and find a way to recycle them by bringing them to a hospital or nursing home so they can have a second life after the celebration.
Create a Green Tablescape
Build a beautiful, edible tablescape by assembling lush, sustainable displays of crudités, says Muguerza. For plates and utensils, find ones made with recycled, reusable, or compostable materials. Muguerza suggests WASARA bamboo plates or other natural- or renewable-material dishes. And don't be tempted to toss trendy, cost-conscious fabric goods in your shopping cart. Always rent linens and napkins instead of buying them to reduce the impact on resources, says Larissa Banting of Weddings Costa Rica. And if you really want to throw a green bridal shower, forget linens entirely and borrow or rent beautiful wooden tables that don't need any kind of covering.
Offer Sustainable Sips
Even the wine or bubbly you imbibe can be earth friendly. For example, Lila Wines offers alcoholic drinks in three popular varietals—Lila rosé, Lila pinot grigio, and Lila sparkling—that come in specially developed ecofriendly cans. Everything is 100 percent recyclable. And since each can has 1.5 servings, you don't risk any waste from opening big bottles that go unfinished.
Manage Food Waste Wisely
Iris and Zach Nathan say it's good to have a plan for managing any food waste ahead of time. Find a local compost club or plant (or even a neighbor who keeps a personal composting heap) that will accept your leftovers. Or consider donating the scraps to feed animals. You'll need to reach out to your local solid-waste or county agricultural-extension office for more information on what kinds of scraps you can provide and how you should handle them safely for animal consumption.
Ask for Earth-Conscious Intimates
Being showered with sexy new lingerie is a fun part of many bridal celebrations. If intimates are in the cards for you, ask gift givers to look to MADI Apparel (Make a Difference Intimate Apparel), a gorgeous line of ecofriendly underwear, sleep tops, robes, and bralettes. Making all its wearables from beautiful yet highly practical bamboo, MADI not only ethically manufactures its goods but also participates in a buy-one-give-one program that donates a new pair of underwear to women who need them while in the care of domestic-violence shelters, homeless shelters, and rape crisis centers.
Give Ecofriendly Goods
Just because you're thinking of Mother Earth doesn't mean your guests have to go home empty-handed. The Cacao Prieto Vanilla & Cassia treat bar found at With Love From Brooklyn is a sweet way to say thanks for celebrating. Made with cacao sourced from a single farm, the creamy yet slightly spicy bar is 100 percent organic. For your bridesmaids (and maybe even mother of the bride and groom too), check out Doie Lounge for some ecoluxe loungewear that's as stylish and comfortable as it is earth friendly.