Q Is it possible to have a 100 mile (more or less) wedding?
A Amidst all this heated love and sex, plenty of lusty Romeos and Juliettes (or Romeos and Romeos) have wedding bells on their minds. But between all the landfill-bound wedding favours and budget-breaking gowns from oceans away, how are star-crossed tree huggers to wed without guilt?
Beyond taking the bus to City Hall to elope, there are plenty of knot-tying locations right under your nose (you know, like the Ontario Heritage Centre on Adelaide East, the Toronto Botanical Gardens, the Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf Manor on Bayview).
But even if you get married in your backyard, you’ll need carbon offsets (like from www.greenmyflight.com) for all those guests flying in from across the country (and planet). Consider the offsets your gift to guests and forget the dollar-store trinkets.
Sticking to the 100 mile rule might limit your meal mid-winter, but a growing number of caterers like veg-friendly Hearty Catering and Les Louises stress Ontario seasonal ingredients in their menus (www.heartycatering.com, www.leslouises.com).
You may need to make exceptions for sugar and coffee, since I can’t promise you a local-beetroot-sweetened wedding cake. But fair trade organic delights are being whipped up by progressive bakers like LPK’s culinary groove (www.lpksculinarygroove.com).
If you’ve got control over the bar, make sure you ply conga line lovers (and macarena-happy aunts) with local wines like Henry of Pelham. And forget walking down the aisle with pesticides-laden imports; all summer long, Eco Flora will supply you with local organic blooms for your big day that won’t create an ethical stink. Or put a friend in charge of finding you flowers from the wild for each table.
Ain’t nothin’ movin’ forward until the bride got her dress on. Beyond going vintage, look for local designers doing custom work. As You Like It will rework your grandma’s old dress (no website, just call 416-962-4167). The gals behind Passenger Pigeon’s fab ecowear (www.passengerpigeon.ca) are now stitching up wedding dresses with hemp/silk blends and the like, as is Margaret MacLeod (from $500, www.margaretmacleod.com).
Overwhelmed? Take that paper bag off your head and call up a green wedding planner (even if it’s just for help on the big day). It’s Personal! Occasions (www.itspersonal.ca) and Talen Weddings (www.talenweddings.ca) both do green wedding planning.
And don’t forget to check out Toronto’s first green wedding show in March (Ecoweddingshow.com). All this stuff and more will be under one roof, which, hey, will cut back on the greenhouse gases it would take to boot your ass around town.
Q I’m looking for an engagement ring and want to be environmentally smart about it – where can I find antique ones?
A Mazel tov on bypassing the, shall we say, ethically dubious De Beers thing and reaching for the lightest ring around (footprint-wise, anyway). Going the vintage route means no new metals had to be extracted and refined, and no new stones had to be bloodily yanked from the ground.
Wanting to be environmentally smart, you haven’t fallen for the whole Canadian diamond thing either. Sure, northern miners are paid a tidy sum for their services, and they’re a fairer trade option than rings from the developing world, but they ain’t perfect. Just ask Mining Watch Canada.
The NGO published a report detailing the lake-draining, wildlife disruption and undermining of native peoples that happens when you dig up environmentally fragile ecosystems without sufficient government protection. For more dirt, check out There Are No Clean Diamonds: What You Need To Know About Canadian Diamonds (www.miningwatch.ca).
If, hypothetically speaking, you were set on getting a new diamond, at least Brilliant Earth uses recycled gold and platinum for its Canadian gems and fair-trade Pride Diamonds from Sierra Leone (the company also offers True Blue Australian sapphires).
FYI, GreenKarat says nuh-uh to Canuck stones and will custom-make rings with lab-grown diamonds, fair trade or recycled stones, petrified wood or even the lovely pebble you kept from the park where you first made out. Plus, you can send them a broken gold chain or your grandma’s old gold bracelet that’s too small for you and they’ll melt it down into a new ring!
But if you want to go totally footprint-free (no re-refining, no shipping, just the two feet it takes for you to walk into the stores), you can find antique jewellery at Toronto Antiques on King (formerly the big Harbourfront Antique Market) and the St. Lawrence Market, north side, on Sundays. There are also antique jewellery auctions, like one coming up in March at Waddington’s on Bathurst (www.waddingtons.ca). Check out www.fraleigh.ca, too. Happy hunting!
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