I write a green weddings column for Gorgeously Green, and since so much has been mentioned about Chelsea Clinton’s vegan and gluten-free menu and cake choices for her wedding, I thought I’d share my article on planning a Green Bridal Shower to help you find an organic caterer and create your choices of green party planning elements!
Gorgeously Green girls love to find fun ways to share their eco-conscious brilliance with their friends and family, so when it’s time to host a bridal shower, your great, green ideas can take center-stage! Especially if the bride lives an eco-kind lifestyle. She’ll love it that you’re honoring her belief system, and that her party creates good in the world.
Here are your top tips for planning a Green Bridal Shower:
Plan an organic menu. If you’ll hire a caterer for your posh bash, hire a chef who specializes in organic menus. He or she can be a wealth of smarts on which types of seafood to include (Tilapia! Farm-raised salmon!), and how to serve organic chicken – traditionally one of the most budget-friendly menu items – in a luscious sauce, or as a sate using organic peanut butter. Party guests groan when the appetizers are greasy, fried puffs of yuck, so freshen up your lush, green salads with – here’s the crowd-pleasing secret! – food items they don’t get everyday! Slivers of beets can be cut into star shapes. Artichoke hearts can be marinated in organic pear dressing. Carrots can be julienned and tossed with equally-pretty julienned green and yellow squash. Celebrity caterers now offer these organic, fresh, salad and veggie-based dishes at mega-stars’ birthday parties and at Oscar bashes, so they’re perfect for your shower VIP guest of honor and her cherished friends and family. Find an organic caterer at the National Association of Catering Executives. For smaller-scale parties, a personal chef may be your go-to green source.
Green your drinks menu. Serve organic wines and champagnes, which you can find on Wine Spectator, also discovering some fabulous, award-winning vintages for less than $15 per bottle. Don’t forget that sources like Whole Foods and even your local supermarket are great for finding organic and fun sodas, such as Chill Guava, Chill Limon and Chill Pome from Chill, which are also low glycemic. Steaz offers 100% organic iced teas and sparkling green teas in flavors such as green tea and lemon, and these unique drinks give guests a thrill because they’re so adventurous and new to them. It’s not the same-old lineup of sugar-killed soft drinks. And of course, a 100% fruit juice-based punch with a splash of champagne and a dollop of sorbet on top is always a crowd-thriller.
Get a green cake. Yes, specialty bakers create gorgeous organic and gluten-free sheet cakes, cupcakes, even pies and chocolate-dipped berries, so green up the dessert and coffee hour with delectable desserts.
Use recycled papers. Shop for recycled or repurposed papers with which to make your invitations – and the same goes for envelopes. It’s so easy to find recycled papers at the craft store or office supply store that there’s no excuse not to use them for the bridal shower. And of course, there’s always the paper-free option of designing a pretty Evite invitation that helps you keep track of RSVPs and lets guests see who else is coming.
Skip the games. You don’t need to force fun on your guests, especially with those toilet-paper-wasting games in which guests make a bridal gown out of a dozen rolls of Charmin. Allow guests to relax and mingle – they’ll thank you for sparing them the clothespin game! – and enjoy the fabulous food you’re serving.
Use natural décor that can be replanted. Of course, organic cut flowers are on the market to be used as centerpieces, but a far eco-friendlier plan that does double-duty is to center each table with a collection of small, potted flowers or herbs that guests can then take home to enjoy or plant in their gardens.
Borrow! Ask your fellow shower hosts and relatives if they can bring over their platters and table linens, even sets of china that can be stylishly mix and matched on the tables, so that you don’t need to purchase any tacky and toxic plastic-lined plates and utensils. When Moms and grandmoms get to see their beloved china sets used at this fabulous party for the bride, they feel wonderful for their contributions and for the sentimental touch it adds.
Plan a display shower. It’s a hot new trend: send out a message to guests that they are not to wrap any shower gifts. You want to spare everyone that endless, grueling unwrapping session, and you want to avoid all of that terrible paper waste that comes from torn-up wrapping paper that gets no second life. The display shower is then created when guests set out their presents on a long, decorated table [potted flowers are great for this, and allow for extra take-home favors for guests!] with their card attached to the present. Guests can then stroll the gift table at their leisure, ooh and ahh at the pretty presents, and the bride can spend her party mingling with her guests.
Give green favors. Those potted herbs are always a winner, and guests also love to take home sweet treats in the form of organic edibles. Shop organic candy sites and you’ll even find yummy gluten-free cupcakes and candies if that’s the bride’s preference.
Choose charitable favors. You too can give a donation to charity in lieu of handing out favors, just like so many brides and grooms do for their weddings. Check out the I Do Foundation for details on how to connect with the bride’s favorite charity and arrange a donation in her name.
Take up a collection! It’s long been a trend for shower hosts to ask guests to bring along a little something for the bride. In the past, it might have been a recipe printed on an index card, or little household items to place in the wishing well. Now, shower hosts are using this practice to Give Back, by asking guests to bring canned goods and non-perishables that will be donated to a food pantry. Or, the guests might bring items to sent to deployed military troops. Or children’s books for a kids’ library. Or jackets for a coat drive. Guests love the giving element of these requests, and many bring generous collections to add to the pile. When the bride sees how her guests have supported a cause dear to her heart, that’s the best surprise of all.