The Green Fiend

Annemarie Conte is hearing wedding bells. But if the day is to be remembered forever, does offsetting the whole thing erase some of the permanence?

By Annemarie Conte

I got engaged this year on January 2, and right after my fiancé, Andy, proposed, I said to him, “We’re going to enjoy this engagement for a full week before we begin planning the wedding.” Two hours later, I was practically picking out china patterns.

In an attempt to stay organized, Andy and I have created the requisite wedding notebook to track appointments, potential vendors, and various ideas along the way. We’ve learned to tackle one thing at a time, take lots of deep breaths, and explore as many environmentally friendly options as possible—because they’re out there; they just aren’t organized in one convenient place. Here are some excerpts from our nuptials notebook. Taking a peek at these pages also provides a glimpse of the emotional roller-coaster that is my planning process, so get ready.

NOTE TO SELF Get rings. Andy proposed with a family ring, which is the best form of recycling there is, but unfortunately, the matching wedding band didn’t outlast Great-Grandma Pasquelina. We have a problem here.
IN THE MARGINS There are jewelers who use recycled gold, like Green Karat ( and Leber Jeweler in Chicago ( And while Tiffany & Co is researching fair-trade certification for diamonds, there’s no word yet on guaranteeing the gold they use. I don’t think the legendary ring bearer will come through in time for me, so I have to scratch them off the list.

Find a dress that makes me feel great. Bridal shops stress me out, and buying a new gown just doesn’t appeal. I need alternatives, something like a “gently used” dress from Encore Bridal (
IN THE MARGINS Every single consignment shop dress I try on has poofy ’80s sleeves and is made with approximately 44 pounds of lace.

Create a registry. For those into estate silver and china, Replacements  ( and Rocky and Brenda’s ( offer previously loved tableware—a bonus not only for the eco factor but also because you get distinctive stuff, instead of the same old Crate & Barrel plates that everyone else gets.
IN THE MARGINS Do I really need all this stuff? Actually, hell yes, I do. I’m tired of living like a frat boy.

Send invitations. But I don’t need multiple pages or heavy cardstock made out of trees from virgin forests.
IN THE MARGINS Some people I know use Evite or Pingg, but it just feels so backyard-barbecue to me. Under consideration are Earthly Affair ( and, which has gorgeous, sustainable papers made out of some sort of bark by villagers in the Kathmandu Valley.

NOTE TO SELF Line up the reception. Guests getting drenched during an outdoor reception? No thanks.
IN THE MARGINS The people at the Pocono Environmental Education Center in Pennsylvania don’t look at me like I have three heads when I say the words “No disposables,” and they have a hall made from local timber that incorporates green design. That’s promising.

NOTE TO SELF Select the food. September will be a great time for the wedding because local produce is abundant on the East Coast. Two of the hardest-working men in the food business, Albert Sabitini and Kevin Ruch, grow amazing eats on 14 Acre Farm and have their hands in a restaurant, a B&B, a bakery, and a catering business near Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.
IN THE MARGINS I’m scared they’ll be so exhausted from other endeavors, they’ll fall asleep in the herb-roasted blue potatoes. But the star duo assures me they’re hardy people.

NOTE TO SELF Map out the honeymoon. I haven’t had any time to find an eco-friendly resort yet, but what I do know is …
IN THE MARGINS I can’t wait.

Send Annemarie your wackiest DIY ideas at

Issue 25

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