Posted by: hoppybottoms | July 25, 2011

Weddings on Earth, Part II: Engagement Party

Tuesday’s post coming to you late Monday night…how is that for punctual?

So, now you are engaged and you want a nice backyard party to celebrate. Great! But can we keep it earth-friendly and avoid extravagant costs?

The answer is simple: YES! If you are willing to take on some DIY projects and do a little research, an eco-friendly (ecological and economical) party is a piece of cake.

Here is the first (and really the only) simple step: RENT

Buying costs a ton of money and is the cause of massive amounts of waste. Renting is a great way to save money, time, and minimize the amount of garbage produced. I’m not saying that renting is cheap; I am saying it can be more affordable.

What you can rent:

Tables and Chairs: or borrow them from friends and family. That is the cheapest way to go. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find tables and chairs that are exactly the same size and shape when you borrow from people. However, it is the perfect excuse to put your decorating skills (or those of your bridal party and family) to work and come up with cute ways to work in the different table shapes and sizes. Experimenting with different centerpieces and colors is a great, simple way to add some decorative flair without trying too hard.

Table Clothes and Chair Covers: Start picking out colors!

Tents: You never know what mother-nature has in store…

Sternos and Trays: If you have your party catered, these items are usually provided by the caterer. If you are cooking on your own (wow!), you may want to consider renting these items.

Plates, cups, cutlery: If you don’t want to use paper goods because it breaks your hippie heart (and I’m with you, I’m not mocking), but you don’t have enough of the good china for your 100 person engagement party, then consider renting tableware. There are lots of companies that do it; they deliver and pick up so your work is minimal, and you don’t throw away an obscene amount of paper goods at the end of the day.

Centerpieces: If you aren’t into DIY projects but you want kind centerpieces, try renting!

A simple Google search or trip your local party store would probably be a good place to start looking for rental companies. You may also want to ask the companies how they feel about helping the environment. Do they use an organic dry cleaner for their table clothes? What materials are their products made from? Etc.

Eco-Friendly Rentals:

 This rental company in California is pretty groovy: DISHGrace  

Another CA rental company dedicated to being as Eco-Friendly as possible: Blue Water Party Rentals

If anyone knows a NY based eco-friendly rental company please post their information!

If you aren’t so keen on renting, consider purchasing as many recycled and recyclable items as possible.

Start here:

Your local stores may have items also. Just the other day while I was watching a woman break the scanner at the self-checkout at Stop and Shop (it literally caved in after she tried to scan her bag of oranges several times by banging them  on the scanner), I noticed a display of 100% recycled decorative plates, cups, and napkins. I didn’t read the label thoroughly but the idea is that these things are accessible.

Some more ideas:

Were you thinking of the small details- like  napkin rings?

Here is a great DIY idea for Napkin Rings…in a nutshell.

Eco-Friendly DIY Centerpieces (this applies for weddings as well): You can rent bowls and vases or borrow from family members. Then you only have to pay for the flowers! Try to get organic flowers…am I pushing it, yet?

 Here are some ideas 

Simple Vegan Candle Centerpieces

If you are into composting you can be super duper earth friendly and get your party items from here: Branch 

If you want some creative inspiration just ask me…I love coming up with ways to re-use items and decorate without being wasteful.


Happy Planning, my Environmentally Conscious Friends! 🙂


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