Greenwashing 101 :: “green” wedding planners


The Minnericks Photographers

So, I am often asked about green weddings, obviously. But when I’m discussing my business with other wedding pros, I often have a lot of reading in between the lines to do. I think there are questions that industry pros want to ask, but are maybe a little afraid to for fear of sounding skeptical.  But, lucky for me, it takes a lot more than curious skepticism to ruffle these feathers!

Being a green wedding planner doesn’t seem like it would be all that different than being a ” normal” wedding planner. And many wedding planners will tell you that is the case. After all, anyone can plan a green wedding. Right?  Well, that is true, in the same way that it’s true that anyone CAN plan any wedding.  But when you are hiring a wedding planner, you are hiring someone for their expertise.  They know exactly what vendors to go to that will make your budget work with your tastes and expectations.

The Niche market is fun.  But, the whole point of a wedding planner catering to a specific niche is that they are different from other wedding companies who are more traditional.  For example, I would never claim to be an expert Indian wedding planner.  I’m not going to be able to tell you who the best henna artist is, or who serves the best paneer, or even be knowledgeable about everything that is necessary to be present at a Hindu ceremony.  Of course I could do research and use my best judgement to find these things, but I could not go from past experience on having planned dozens of Indian weddings.  Although I have worked with several Indian brides, and even planned a full traditional Hindu wedding and all of the side ceremonies, I can not call myself an expert in the area.  The same is true for green weddings.  Someone who has planned one or two weddings with a few eco-friendly elements doesn’t particularly fit the bill of being an experienced green wedding planner.

Lauren Larsen Photography

It is important if you want to have an eco-friendly event to hire someone who knows exactly which vendors and resources are the real deal.  For example, some catering companies boast that they use local sources for their foods.  But technically, if a restaurant orders their food from Ben E. Keith, which is a local company, then they are sourcing their food locally.  Unfortunately they still have no idea where that food came from.  A traditional wedding planner who is unfamiliar with greenwashing and what to really look for in a sustainable catering company might recommend someone who is not what they seem.  Whereas a true green wedding planner will do continuous research and know all the right questions to ask caterers about how they source their products.  I personally keep a running tab on which companies are taking measures to offer green business practices.  I know the farmers set up at the farmer’s markets and ask them about what restaurants they work with, and they are usually excited to promote them to me.  And for the record, if a company is truly using local sources they will be able to tell you exactly where they get their eggs, milk, veggies, and meats come from, and most of the time they are purchased farm direct.

I’m not a fan of green certifications.  Most companies will tell you that if a business carries their seal of approval then they are the real deal.  Unfortunately, most of these organizations have no real verification process and are a pay to play opportunity.  Anyone can say on a form that they recycle, therefore they are a green business.  But when you look at their websites they have weddings with beautiful over-sized floral arrangements, and disposable items with custom lables, and the whole nine yards.  These items are beautiful, but don’t necessarily showcase a green wedding.  And a green business certification program that does actual verification will see that and not approve the business.  Does your wedding planner provide recycling boxes and carry them away at the end of the night?  Because most DFW venues do not offer recycling services.  Are they showcasing huge flower arrangements?  Because there are only two eco-friendly florists in North Texas who source local, organic, and fair trade flowers, and chances are they aren’t the ones who made those arrangements.  If a business (any business) touts being green certified check into the certifying organization.  Do they require coursework?  Do they have a real verification process?  Or do they have a checklist and paypal account?  If an organization does research and checks referrals and requires proof that a business is practicing what they preach, then you can feel more confident in their seal of approval.  If it is an organization that will issue anyone with $50 and who can justify their practices on a checklist then you might want to dig a little deeper.

As a wedding planner and green business owner there is one certification program that I suggest above all others.  I talk quite a bit about The Green Bride Guide, and what a great resource it is.  Their founder Kate Harrison has teamed up with the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners to offer an in depth certification course.  What I like about this course is that it gives wedding planners the tools and education to build a green business, and to know where to start with finding the best resources for planning a green wedding.  Of course just because someone has gone through this process doesn’t mean that they actively implement what they have learned in their work, but it is a great starting point for determining if your wedding planner is holding true to their claims.  I in fact am so supportive of this program that this year I am teaming up with Kate Harrison to host a green wedding workshop for wedding planners to learn from national and local experts about how to execute the perfect eco-friendly affair right here in North Texas.  I am so excited about this event, and encourage all of my wedding industry friends to join us.  There are so many brides out there who are seeking out these services, and I am so excited to help educate North Texas wedding pros on giving their clients TRUE eco-friendly wedding services!

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

 

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We want YOU to help make North Texas greener!


We have had an awesome year at Vera Green Productions and Vivi Gray Design.  We have been so blessed to work with some amazing couples, businesses, and wedding pros, and now we are blessed to be adding to our family!  We are currently filling two new positions in our company.

Floral Assistant- Vivi Gray Design

We are seeking a floral assistant to help with our operations on an as needed basis.  This is an entry level position, and there is room for rapid upward growth.  Pay is hourly on a contract basis (contracts are assigned for each event) with the opportunity to receive commission as well.

Job functions:

Provide assistance on an as needed basis to create floral arrangements, and setup/break down decor for special events
Meet with potential clients for sales consultations,
Attend networking events to promote VGP and yourself,
Attend regular staff meetings,
Buying and Merchandising assistance as needed.

Job requirements:

Minimum 4yr degree or applicable work experience,
Must possess working knowledge of  floral varieties and how to handle specific breeds,
Strong background in social media primarily twitter and WordPress blogs,
Must be able to attend Networking events on occasion to promote yourself and the company,
Proficiency in Microsoft office programs,
Must be able to stand for up to 10 hours and lift objects over 50 lbs,
Must have flexibility to meet with clients during the week and be available most weekends for events

The best candidate for this position will possess the following attributes:

Ability to see other’s vision regardless of your own taste, ability to work with others, a professional demeanor, assertive but not abrasive personality, willing to go the extra mile for clients, passion for conservation, prioritize sustainability and style over what might be easier, self-motivated and Driven to move forward professionally, a love for social media, strong writing skills, an eye for design, and a flexible schedule.

To apply please email your resume and links to applicable social media outlets to ashley@veragreenproductions.com

PLEASE correspond VIA email only.  No phone calls, texts, twitter or FB messages.  This is a Fort Worth based position.

 

Wedding Coordinator- Vera Green Productions

As we move into the New Year our goal is to take on more events, and still continue to be able to provide our clients with the highest level of customer service.  In order to achieve this goal we need manpower!  Executing a perfect event may seem like an effortless; however there is much time, organization, and patience involved in being successful.  Pay is an hourly rate based on experience plus commission for any new business brought in.

Job Functions

Primary duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Respond to initial inquiries and track all sales .

• Be knowledgeable of all Vera Green Productions wedding and event packages.

• Responsible for negotiating contracts with new clients.

• Maintain regular contact by phone, email and letter with clients and customers in relation to their wedding and/or event.

• Monitor event activities to ensure that guests are behaving in compliance to the venue policies as well as local laws and regulations.

• Confer with staff onsite to coordinate details prior to event at varying points in time and throughout the event.

• Inspect event facilities to ensure that they conform to customer requirements. Uphold visual standards of facility during event.

• Coordinate services for events, such as accommodation and transportation for participants, facilities, catering, signage, displays, special needs requirements, printing, and event security.

• Consult with customers to determine objectives and requirements for events. Ensure client satisfaction throughout the event.

• Meet with client and/or their parties to plan scope and format of events, establish and monitor budgets, or review administrative procedures and event progress.

• Review event bills for accuracy and receive final payments at the end of the event.

• Evaluate and select providers of services according to customer requirements.

• Arrange the availability of audio-visual equipment, transportation, displays, and other event needs.

• Plan and develop programs, agendas, budgets, and services according to customer requirements.

• Maintain records of event aspects, including financial details, timelines, layouts, menus and any/all other event details.

• Conduct post-event evaluations to determine how future events could be improved; mail personalized thank you letters in a timely manner. Produce post-event internal evaluation for client file and for review at staff meetings.

• Organize registration of event participants.

• Read trade publications, attend seminars, and consult with other meeting professionals to keep abreast of meeting management standards and trends as well as trends and progress in sustainable events and design.

• Other duties and responsibilities as assigned.

Job Requirements

 

The ideal candidate for this position will possess the following attributes:

• Extremely organized and detail oriented,

• Able to solve logistical problems on the fly,

• Professional demeanor and appearance,

• Must be familiar with sustainable design and “green” lifestyles,

• Able to handle intense situations with grace,

Required Experience:

• 4 year degree in related field

• Minimum 2 years experience in project management or related field,

• Wedding industry experience and knowledge of social media is preferred

We can’t wait to start pouring through resumes and to meet the next members of our Vera Green/Vivi Gray family!  If you would like to submit your resume for consideration please email hello@veragreenproductions.com with a professional cover letter, and resume.

A Small Business Saturday Special. Deck your halls with Vivi Gray Design!


To celebrate small business Saturday we are offering a special on our remaining openings to deck your halls! The Vivi Gray team will take the reigns for installing your interior holiday decor this year as you sit back and enjoy the finer things in life. And this deal won’t even take a huge chunk out of your Black Friday savings! Our Small Business Saturday special includes the following for a low low price:

*One hour home walk through and inventory consultation
*Holiday decor design for three home areas
*Two and a half hours of decor staging
*$50 Eco-friendly floral and decor credit
*25% off any additional floral and decor items
*All for only $175!!!! ($300 value)

To schedule your holiday installation email heyvivigray@gmail.com or call 817-965-1253. We will be only be taking appointments for this deal through Monday, November 26, so book fast as space is limited!

We thank everyone who has supported our small business, and supported our mission to bring sustainable design to North Texas!