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• Help a nonprofit. If you’d like your reception room fee to bolster a local nonprofit organization, Kozin sug- gests choosing a reception room at your house of worship, a museum, or a local historic building owned by a nonprofit.


• Green decor. When it comes to green decor, consider buying organic flowers from a local shop or Organ- icBouquet.com, or using 100 percent soy or vegetable wax candles, rented plants, potted plants, or rented or secondhand lights.


Or, you could choose to have your ceremony outside in a garden, to take advantage of the free natural decor. Your reception party can be outdoors too, under a rented tent. Just make sure your outdoor location won’t be ruined by having a bunch of guests treading on the premises. Also, be sure to have a back-up plan for in- clement weather.


• Buy green tags. Consider purchasing green tags to offset the energy used during your ceremony and reception, as well as for guest travel.


Favor, Food and Fun


You’ll probably want to serve food and drinks at your recep- tion party, and you may even want to provide favors. Here are some ways to green those:


• Look for a local caterer that will serve organic foods. If you’re serving meat, make it organic, available at local natural food outlets or by mail-order from the Wholesome Harvest Organic Meat Farmer Coalition. Or, you can choose meatless dishes, which save money and are less taxing on the Earth.


• Offer organic and Fair Trade beverages, such as Fair Trade coffee and tea, readily available at local health food stores. You can also find organic beer, wine, and soda locally or in the “Beverages” section of our National Green Pages™.


• Avoid using disposable dishware. Most caterers provide washable dishes and will take them away for you for clean- ing when guests are finished with them. If you must use disposables, use recycled paper options, like those from Seventh Generation, or choose compostable, plant-based dishes and cutlery, such as those from Greener Earth Mar- keting. You’ll want to use an industrial composter for dispos- al, which you can find through your local waste authority.


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