Published on June 8th, 2009 | by Rachel Venokur-Clark2
How to Throw an Eco Chic Event-Advice From Expert Green Event Planner dvGreen
dvGreen designs sustainable events without sacrificing style. They show clients that they can reduce their ecological footprint while still throwing a beautiful party – one that just happens to be Green. By featuring organic food, flowers, and table linens; tree-free paper invitations; donating or composting leftover food; purchasing carbon offsets, and more, dvGreen creates incredible events that you can be proud of forever.
Danielle, founder and CEO of dvGreen spent several years as Event Director and later General Manager of L’Olivier, one of New York’s premiere floral design houses. The driving force in Danielle’s event work has always been her belief that parties are important. They are essential celebrations of life that allow us to freeze time and honor meaningful milestones. If we don’t mark these moments, then they risk going away forever.
It is this belief, coupled with Danielle’s very parallel feeling about the environment (if we don’t take care of it, the planet as we know it will also go away forever), that led her to launch dvGreen in 2006, a company that combines excellence in event design with the latest in sustainable practices.
Here’s is some great advice from dvGreen on how to go green for your next event.
What are some of the simplest elements of an event that can be done in a sustainable way without sacrificing style?
“First things first, I think it’s important to understand that sustainable does not simply mean that the word “organic” is found on an item’s packaging. At dvGreen we really prioritize local as well as organic. By shopping locally, we support the local farms and economy, minimize transportation and achieve product transparency.
The incredible influx of new sustainably minded companies and eco-friendly products on the market has made it easier than ever to introduce stylish, sustainable elements into your event design. Many caterers are working with local farms and organic purveyors, so it’s often no extra effort to request that your food come from these sources. Similarly, flowers can be purchased from local farms or from certified organic and fair trade farms if there is nothing in season during the time of your event.
Another simple way to go green is with the invitations – consider email Save the Dates and RSVPs, nontoxic inks, recycled content or tree-free paper, etc.
Also, for candlelight consider purchasing rechargeable led candles if you host events often, or if you prefer natural candlelight then select soy candles or beeswax candles over petroleum-based paraffin ones.”
Tell me more about being sustainable and eco-friendly with food choices at events. Are there easy choices we can make in regard to greening our food and drinks?
“If you are so lucky to be hosting your event during a season when there is an abundance of local produce then going sustainable with food choices can be quite simple. Avoiding the emissions caused by shipping food across the country, or the world, dramatically lowers the impact of your catering and hence your entire event.
As for drinks, why not choose an organic beer, wine from a local vineyard and maybe one signature cocktail made with an organic spirit and fresh juice from a seasonal fruit accented with perhaps a locally grown sprig of mint? There are tons of certified organic beverage options and, of course, utilizing seasonal, local accents not only keeps it green but also adds to the event’s cache.
And, of course, compost! Speak with your caterer in advance and make sure that they will be willing to separate food waste and work with a local compost facility to avoid adding valuable waste to the landfill.”
How can we be eco-chic and eco-cheap in our everyday family gatherings and entertaining?
“The most common culprit we see at budget events is plastic. Plastic disposables are a nightmare ecologically speaking, and rarely add much aesthetically. Consider using a product like VerTerra compostable plates made from fallen leaves. These look chic, are affordable, and are 100% compostable.
Also, think reusable. If you can pull together enough china, flatware, linens, etc from around the house, then work with that. Maybe make mismatch the theme if you don’t have full sets, and accent with pieces from a local thrift shop.
Finally, never underestimate the power of beautiful leaves/greens. Bringing the outside in, or just on the table, can be super cheap, totally eco (return these items to their home after the event) and incredibly beautiful.”