Operations Manager and Chief Sustainability Officer of Ziro Supply, Kara Cederquist said "I Do" to Mr. Green. She explains how she married together her two favorite things one magical day under the late October sky.
My journey in “Going Green” figuratively and literally.
In November 2021 when Nicholas Richard Green asked me to marry him on a mountain in Colorado I knew all my stars aligned. Being eco-friendly has always been something I've been passionate about, I care too much about the world and its people. When I started wedding planning I wanted to communicate to my vendors the importance of sustainability to try to reduce the carbon footprint of our wedding. When I was exploring the event and hospitality world during college I took a few wedding planning classes and quickly decided that route was not my career path, too emotional, personal.. and sometimes chaotic. Then I learned about destination management, and I was hooked. The last decade I zeroed in on sustainable tourism. It’s not everyday a word that embodies your entire career becomes your last name. Below are a few tips for the eco-conscious bride seeking out natural, environmentally-friendly solutions!
Our main efforts include.. simple save the dates used from recycled paper, with the option to RSVP online, having the ceremony and reception in one place (reducing carbon emissions), minimal local dried florals and decor (minimizing water, energy to refrigerate, and shipping waste), and a self-serve water/ drink station with glasses at each table setting.
The overall environmental footprint of the event is largely dependent on working with other sustainability-minded partners, so when you contact potential vendors, ask them about their green practices. If you’re from a small little corner of the world like me vendors may not know that they already have implemented good practices into their business, such as renting decor.. or donating food waste. Let them know these are a win for the environment!
Building your wedding supplier team is like pulling together a collection of pals, everything is easier when you share the same values! So be transparent.
Being from a small town there are only a dozen wedding venues to choose from, its either farm or beach. But the sweet spot is in between - downtown Pensacola. Enter, Supposey Wedding Venue, located in Pensacola, Florida made up for an incredibly unique space as is. Initially we fell in love with the venue because it had a lot of natural beauty and character built in (even at its bare minimum). I knew I could significantly reduce the amount of decor (aka waste and cost) by letting nature do the work, and the moms still got their big southern guest list accommodated.
Get Married Outside
What better way to be one with nature than to tie the knot outside. I can’t think of anything better. First off you’re using the light to your advantage and those ‘golden hour’ photos will be fabulous – the sun is in your favor always. Pray for the weather gods, baby!
The great outdoors makes the best backdrop, our ceremony location had built-in decor, we added two matching fan elements (reused from my bridal shower) on the gates which complimented our reception and seat assignment table perfectly.
Confetti and Glitter
As someone who loves nature I can think of nothing worse than being showered in a cloud of plastic, especially those little plastic sequin style confetti or fake plastic petals, especially at what is qualified to be the best moment of my life. Plastic confetti is quite simply littering, but there’s lots of natural and biodegradable confetti options out there to swap it for. For our exit we chose white crisp freeze dried petals that I put inside cones that were made of a single page of my favorite book, the Alchemist (I found a copy of the book one day at my local library's book sale for $1). Avoid the plastic here.
Reuse Flowers or Opt For Dried Florals
For bouquets we hired our friend and local floral vendor, Chrissy Florals who used in-season florals, as well as dried elements that matched our reused floral decorations. All my bridesmaids were able to save their bouquets to enjoy in their own homes. My bouquet was the centerpiece for the brunch table the very next day, and at my parents house for them to enjoy all week with family.
We decided to rent amber colored glasses of all shapes and sizes, one at each table setting, which doubled as a decorative element. Guest could have used these for water or tea at the self service drink station, or even put an alcoholic bevy using the same amber glass at our reception, to reduce washing/ drying of multiple glasses for one person. We set out bamboo straws at the bars, eliminating plastic straws entirely.
Tuxes and Bridesmaids Dresses
For the rehearsal dinner my Groom and I wore clothes from our closet that can be worn again. For my shoes I wore both Friday and Saturday.
Save you—and your groomsmen—money and help the planet by renting a tux. We used our family friend's business, Gents Formal Wear in Pensacola. For the bridesmaid dresses I allowed my bridesmaids to choose a different style and color of their choosing for the day of (with my approval of course), they are able to wear it again to nicer functions for years to come.
We asked for experiences as well as some essential kitchen items for our home. If the couple is able, ask guests to donate toward a charity that is close to your heart.
Finally, the best thing you can do is communicate directly with your vendors your wants and needs. I voiced that sustainability was the most important aspect and as their client I expected it to be equally important to them. My wedding planner, Chloe Sexton (who is the best in the Florida Panhandle, having been awarded the title many times) was so conscious of my every need, and truly got the memo “Going Green.” I believe over time wedding vendors will get more inquiries from brides on reducing waste for their special day. Happy Planning, love.
Newly, Mrs. Green
About the author – After graduating from one of the top 5 hospitality management programs in the world, Kara took the path less traveled, and it has made all the difference. She has lived, worked and traveled to over 45 countries around the globe all the while learning about sustainable tourism and hospitality. Everyday she works on reaching her goal to successfully run an inbound/ outbound tour operating company, Escape to Pensacola and Beyond. Her most recent venture is working for Ziro Supply as an Operations Manager and Chief Sustainability Officer which parallels the values of her DMC, to live a more conscious eco-friendly life.
She is ecstatic to wake up every day (period) and to be part of the solution! The key to a more green future starts in your own backyard! Her most recent motto “The grass is greener where you water it.”
Venue: Supposey Warehouse and Gardens @ SupposeyWeddings
Planner: Chloe Sexton @ ChloeWSexton @ Supposey.co
Photographer: Taylor Howton Photographer @ TaylorHowtonPhoto
Florist: Chrissy Floral @ ChrissyFlorals and MA and Mrs. Vici Papajohn
DJ: DJ Lao @ MrLao2
Duo: Marvelous Strings @ MarvelousStrings
The Dress: Bliss Bridal in Fairhope, AL @ BeABlissBride @ByLillianWest
Suit: Gents Formal ware @ Gentsformalwear
Cake: Creations by Sharon
Hair: Tonya Penrose @ Hair_by_sweetT
Makeup: Hayley Gurney @ GulfCoast_Glamhouse
Officiant: Clint Jernigan