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Beautiful (green) bride, by Robert SaxeIs this event really “green”?

ISO, the International Organization for Standardization is moving to develop a new standard for what is really a “Green Event”. The initiative began to provide clear rules on “green” sporting events, but was quickly broadened: the same issues arise with everything from homecoming weekends to concerts to weddings.

I have been a volunteer on ISO green standards (such as ISO 14000) for more than a decade. In the absence of a clear standard, we did what we could to “green” our daughter’s recent wedding. It was (mostly) easy, and we were delighted with the results. For example: The beautiful bride wore an “eco-dress” by Adele Wechsler, made by fair trade labour from sustainably grown, vegetable-dyed silk. She spoke her vows at Toronto’s greenest venue, the Wychwood Artscape Barns (since the Evergreen Brickworks won’t open til next year). All electricity was provided by Bullfrog Power; the cooling was from a ground source heat pump. We bought everything we could from members of our network, Green Enterprise Toronto. Most of the food was local and organic. The flowers were local, pesticide-free, in season and gorgeous, provided by Eco-Flora in reused containers.  Many were wildflowers.  We provided out-of-town guests with metal water bottles instead of plastic. All paper was recycled, before and after. Surplus food went to Second Harvest. After the wedding, the flowers went to six hospices in the GTA:

  • Ian Anderson House, Oakville
  • Carpenter Hospice, Burlington
  • Darling House for Kids, Milton
  • Hill House Hospice, Richmond Hill
  • Param House, Toronto
  • Casey House, Toronto

Surplus food went to Second Harvest. We gave 3% of our food budget to Mazon. We used nothing disposable, except napkins. And lots of us wore clothes we already owned and loved, instead of buying new duds for the occasion.


I don’t know how we’ll score on the new ISO standard, but it was a wonderful experience. And the bride looks happy, don’t you think?

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