10 Tips for an Elegant Green Wedding in Santa Barbara, CA


Santa Barbara has long been a popular destination for brides seeking a sunny, gorgeous location for weddings. Until now, it has not been considered a green wedding destination. Santa Barbara’s first sustainable wedding and event planner, Merryl Brown Events, has changed that. With Merryl’s assistance and ideas, brides can now create the eco-friendly wedding of their dreams. Here are ten tips for creating a magical green wedding in Santa Barbara, CA and the surrounding areas:


1. Choose a venue that has existing environmentally friendly practices. Some of the finest local hotels have incorporated sustainable practices:

                  The Four Seasons Biltmore Resort

                  The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa

                  Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort

                  San Ysidro Ranch

There are many other non-resort venues to choose from as well. Many people choose to have their weddings on one of the numerous scenic beaches Santa Barbara offers. Organic farms, historic estates and beautiful gardens abound throughout Santa Barbara County.


2. Hire a caterer who uses local, organic produce and humanely sourced meats. There are many excellent caterers to choose from in Santa Barbara. With our superb farmers’ markets, and year-round availability of fresh produce, there is no reason to serve anything that is not seasonal and local.


3. Go paperless! http://www.paperlesspost.com is a lovely way to send paperless formal wedding invitations. These are eco-friendly, sophisticated, and you can personalize them in endless ways. If you love the touch and feel of a real invitation, there are several talented graphic artists in town that will create a unique invitation for your wedding. Be sure to print on 100% recycled content paper that is processed chlorine free using vegetable based inks.


4. Use a florist that sources flowers locally (and ideally organically). Santa Barbara offers many exceptional florists who understand that some brides do not want to add to carbon emissions by having their flowers flown in from half way around the world! One great local florist that will work with you to create gorgeous eco-friendly arrangements is SR Hogue and Co. They are very talented and their creative floral designers are a lot of fun to work with. They have been in this business for a long time and they have superb taste. http://www.srhogue.com


5. Source your party favors locally. I love to use local favors for the weddings that I plan, such as local honey, olive oil, dried lavender bundles and oils from the farmers’ market, locally made soaps and bees wax candles, and jars of organic fruit jams and jellies. All of these earth friendly things, and more, can be found at the Saturday Santa Barbara Farmers’ Market.


6. A unique choice for bridesmaids gifts are locally crafted necklaces made of interesting beads and stones by Montecito jewelry designer Samantha Goldstone. No need to ship your gifts from far away when such lovely options are so readily available. http://www.adessoshop.com


7. To cut down on transportation emissions, choose to have your wedding ceremony at the same venue as your reception.


8. Use a wedding cake baker that can produce a delicious, organic or vegan cake. A talented local baker is Katie Scott, of Montecito Confections, who bakes the most amazing cakes and will use organic ingredients or make vegan cakes upon request. Her options are endless; she has made many incredible cakes of all shapes and sizes. You will love her designs and the taste of what she creates. http://www.montecitoconfections.com


9. Instead of registering for gifts, consider asking your guests to support a charity whose work resonates with your values. This is a great way to practice social responsibility!


10. Regardless of the choices that you may make from the suggestions above, the most important thing you can do to create a greener event is to limit the size of your guest list. The more people you invite will lead to more people traveling, requiring a larger venue. The food bill will be higher, and more waste will be generated. Less guests equals less cost to you and the planet.


Merryl Brown is the President of Merryl Brown Events, a Santa Barbara based wedding and event planning company specializing in elegant, classic events created within a framework of environmental and social responsibility. Elegance with intelligence™ is our motto!


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