Eco-chic weddings: How to get a little greener

Vineyard Gardens rents out a variety of live flowers for events, such as andromedas. — File photo by Lynn Christoffers


Choosing flowers is perhaps one of the simplest ways to make a wedding more environmentally friendly, especially with a large selection of nurseries and farmers on the Island. Businesses large and small, from Vineyard Gardens to The Cottage Garden, offer a selection of live flowers for decoration, large plant rentals, and topiaries.

When planning flower arrangements, Vineyard Gardens in West Tisbury offers rentals for small and large live plants. Most popular for spring wedding décor, according to staff member Lauren Crosbie, are crab apple trees, weeping cherry, azaleas, heather, rhododendrons in late spring, evergreens, and andromedas.

“As soon as a flower is cut, it’s killed. Instead of cutting flowers for the table, get clusters of small pots and everyone can take one home,” says Ms. Crosbie. “If you’re having an Irish or Scottish wedding, you would want heather; it’s a very good wedding flower.” Other popular spring choices are pansies, daffodils, crocuses, and other spring bulbs in small pots. For summer, Ms. Crosbie suggests passionflowers, rosemary, and various kinds of flowers on a trellis.

Donaroma’s Nursery in Edgartown offers organic as well as locally grown flowers, hydroponic roses, and decorations made with recycled materials, such as rumpled paper bags. “I’ve done a lot of things with recycled paper,” says Mariko Kawaguchi, head floral designer. “We also work with local growers of flowers that do organic gardening, and of course we try to patronize local agriculture.”

When Sarah Stock-Cottage of The Cottage Garden is hired for an event, she tries to use flowers that she gets from Island farms and growers. “I do try to use as many locally grown flowers as possible, whenever I can,” says Ms. Stock-Cottage. “I get flowers from different farms on the Island. I like Norton Farm, Morning Glory; sometimes I go up to Beetlebung Farm, and Mrs. Jackson’s farm.”

InvitationsSandy Bernat of Seastone Papers makes environmentally friendly paper commonly used for wedding invitations. Made out of plant and fiber materials, the unique invitations are handmade in Ms. Bernat’s West Tisbury studio. “Seaweed is one of the favorites, but there’s also corn husk, daffodil and iris leaves, and cattail,” she says. “None of the paper that I make is made from wood; it’s from plant fibers.”

Ms. Bernat does not limit herself to plants. Her son’s wedding invitations were made from an old linen tablecloth, and she commonly visits the West Tisbury “Dumptique” for raw materials for her popular blue jean paper.

Eco-MV sells 100 percent recycled plain white paper that can be used for making your own wedding invitations. You can place an order through them or buy wholesale at Cash and Carry.

FoodCaterer Jan Buhrman of Kitchen Porch Catering is passionate about green cooking. She makes it a point to offer her customers fresh locally grown produce, meats, and seafood.”Whenever specific food is available on M.V., I will use that exclusively,” says Ms. Buhrman. “I’m more concerned where the product is coming from rather than if it’s organic, because I’m familiar with their farming practices.” Her favorite source is the Allen Farm in Chilmark, where she handpicks her meats. She also frequents Morning Glory and North Tabor Farm.When it comes to fish, Ms. Buhrman will not serve anything that is not fresh and wild. “I don’t use any farm-raised fish. For example, I only use wild salmon, and that’s only available seasonally. My whole business is based on sustainability. I raise pigs and all scraps are fed to them. We recycle all our products, and we only use environmentally friendly products in the kitchen and in the laundry.”Gifts and favorsDuring her many years in the business, Island caterer Jamie Hamlin has come across unique gifts for the wedding party. The most eco-friendly idea was from one couple that made donations to an environmental group in the name of each of the bridesmaids and groomsmen. For their wedding favors, another bride and groom left a ribbon-tied note on each table for their guests explaining that they were making a donation to a conservation group to offset the carbon footprint of the wedding, from airline travel to food preparation. If you want to give your guests a gift, M.V. Candle Company sells weddings favor candles that are custom-made on the Vineyard. Candle designs are hand-painted and include wedding bells, “the married couple,” a mini cake, and the three-layer cake. Prices range from $2.50 to $6.Flat Point Farm, run by Emily Fischer and Doug Brush in West Tisbury, offers handmade soaps in many fragrances. Or treat your guests to Island’s Own Herbal Skin Care products, made with organic herbs grown on the Island. Products include lotion, salves, bath soaks, lip balm, and body butter.If toiletries aren’t your thing, give jars filled with organic jams or honey. Jams, jellies, and mustards from Linda Alley’s New Lane Sundries are a piece of the Island your guests can take home. A local favorite is the Jalapeno Hot Pepper Jelly.Avoiding plastic and paper products or using centerpieces that can be recycled are two ways to be friendly to the environment. Shells, rocks, and driftwood can all be returned to the beach. Choose solar lanterns or candles for mood lighting.Pine, spruce, or redwood saplings, packaged in pretty recyclable tubes, or personalized seed packets and gift-wrapped flower bulbs make great nature-themed gifts. The National Arbor Day Foundation ( and vendors such as and offer a wide array of forest finery.