"Environmental responsibility is extremely important to us," says Heidi Bechtold, of Rochester, who's marrying Nic Gengler in July. "We try to buy things locally as much as possible. We also try to buy organic as well as fair trade coffees and chocolate. I drive a hybrid, but whenever possible I ride my bike to work.
"From the start, I felt that I couldn't live with myself if we spent ridiculous amounts of money for one day," she says. "I went to Ecuador last year to volunteer and when I think of what even $1,000 can do for people there, I just couldn't live with myself if I let things get out of hand. So from the start, we set a firm budget of no greater than $10,000. Even that took some time for me to accept, but I realized that we did not want to economize on catering and rentals and end up with poor service or bad food."
Every element of Bechtold's wedding had to pass an eco and cost analysis. Their venue was easy: the ceremony and reception will take place on July 19, 2008 at her parents' farm in upstate New York. "We are encouraging our guests (150 are expected) to camp after the wedding, for fun and to hopefully eliminate the chance of people drinking and driving," she says.
Their invites were printed on paper from a carbon neutral company, using a friend's antique printing press (powered by a foot pedal, not electricity). "Instead of renting glasses, we are going to use jelly jars, which will be used for canning after the wedding," she notes. "Our decorations are glass bowls we borrowed filled with glass rocks with an LED light underneath. Also, we've been saving blue wine bottles to be candle holders." The flowers are from a local grower, the caterer is serving local, organic food and they're planning on serving wines from the nearby Finger Lakes region and beer from a local Rochester brewery.
"After nine months of wedding planning, I think a "simple wedding" is an oxymoron," Bechtold has concluded. "But not too much about our wedding is traditional, which we're hoping that that will make it even more memorable."