Q: Do you have any tips for unique eco-friendly wedding gifts or bridal showers? [rssbreak] A: At last, it's Etta James/Céline Dion.
Q: Do you have any tips for unique eco-friendly wedding gifts or bridal showers?
A: At last, it’s Etta James/Céline Dion slow dance season again, and because you love your pal and (hopefully) her partner-to-be, you want to give a gift from the heart. That means a fancy fork set and a champagne flute or two might not cut it.
To be honest, though, I’m all for wedding registries and giving people what they ask for. As much as hard-cores will curse it as a tacky consumer-culture innovation, truth is, the marrying couple will end up with two toaster ovens and three blenders if they don’t set up a registry, so why not prevent that kind of waste?
Plus, more and more mainstream department stores like Sears and the Bay carry a smattering of eco products, including green ceramic cookware, organic linens and big-ticket items like Energy Star appliances.
My friends registered at a home store and Canadian Tire (who says you can’t register in two places?), which meant they could theoretically sign up for a programmable thermostat, solar panels and a rain barrel from Canadian Tire and get their bedding and tableware elsewhere.
If the amorous duo fret about sea level and the fate of polar bears, they might already have a registry at a green shop. And if they don’t, you can always suggest it. Online wish lists can be set up at Grassroots (grassrootsstore.com), which carries a range of gift items from reclaimed wood serving platters to organic towels and pillows, or in person at Pistachio stores for items like eco kitchenware and decor (epistachio.com). Outdoor-lovin’ lovebirds can even sign up for sleeping bags and kayaks at Mountain Equipment Co-op (mec.ca).
But if there is no green registry in sight, you can always just peruse these shops as well as other eco spots like Organic Lifestyle (Organiclifestyle.ca), Green Design Studio (greendesignstudio.com), Ecoexistence, (Vaughan south of St. Clair) or the Zero Point (coming to Leslieville in June thezeropoint.ca) for one-of-a-kind green gifts under $100.
Or get creative and pool your funds with friends for totally original green gift like shares in a local organic food box. For $450, Plan B Organics will deliver farm-fresh pesticide-free produce straight to their door for a bountiful 18 weeks (planborganicfarms.ca).
If they’re stuck in an apartment and fantasize about composting food scraps, you could get them an automatic indoor composter from Nature Mill (naturemill.com). Maybe they’re moving into a new home and hope to hop on the green reno train give them a head start with a home energy audit (greensaver.org).
Of course, if they already have everything they need, you could forgo the whole wrapped-up thing and give the gift of a good conscience. Make a tribute donation to an environmental charity in their name.
Now, for those of you getting the bridal shower off the ground, there are a few things to keep in mind. If the bride in question wears green on her sleeve, go ahead and overtly ecofy the theme. But if the couple aren’t nearly as preoccupied with enviro issues as you, you can still sneak green measures in elsewhere. Serve up organic finger foods. Spike the punch with organic vodka. If bridal shower games are in play, dole out eco-friendly prizes like natural bath bombs and organic chocolate.
Forfeit typical shower excesses like paper plates and plastic forks and go the reusable route. Ditto for glassware. If you’re short on anything, look into getting some Preserve Tableware – brightly coloured 100 per cent recycled plastic plates, tumblers and cutlery that are perfectly reusable and dishwasher-safe. (You can score some at indie stores like IQ Living on Danforth as well as chains like Whole Foods and Home Depot.)
For anyone on their second marriage or just not interested in the consumer-showering that happens at showers, wrap the day around an event and avoid the whole gift scene altogether.
Organize a group girly day at an organic spa, a canoe tour around the Toronto Islands (paddletoronto.com), an afternoon of local wine tasting in Niagara, a group cooking class – whatever suits her fancy, really. Just don’t drag a total tomboy bride out for high tea at a fancy-pants hotel unless you know she has a secret yearning for crumpets.
Send your green queries to firstname.lastname@example.org