Sunday, June 08, 2008

The invitation

The other day, I received an invitation to the wedding of a friend. I haven't been to a whole lot of weddings thus far, but I must be getting to be of that age when everyone and their sister is getting married — because everyone and their sister is getting married this year. I mainly have been to the weddings of relatives on my mom's side; in which case, the invitation is sent to my mother, and she tells us where and when to be there.

So, upon receiving the invitation in question, I was confronted with a decision I haven't really had to make before: beef, fish, or vegetarian at the reception? Now, I've confronted with these options when on an airplane (back when people were actually fed hot food on transcontinental flights), but in those days, it didn't really matter much to me. It's different now: I care about where what I'm eating comes from and about whether the food being offered has been chosen in a socially-responsible manner. Will the beef be from a CAFO ("concentrated animal feed operation"), or perhaps from a happier place like Niman Ranch? Will the fish be sustainably caught or farmed, and will it contain little to no mercury?

I emailed my friend with these questions. Since the menu has not been finalized, she could not answer them for me. Besides worrying that she thinks I'm some crazy hippie, I'm worried about how people go about planning big events like weddings. Are there caterers who offer sustainable food options? Do people take these kinds of issues into consideration when making wedding plans? When faced with lots of other wedding-related decisions, is being green the last thing on people's minds? Which isn't to say I'm assuming my friend isn't making an effort to be green (I really have no idea).

The truth of the matter is, I'm picky. But I think my pickiness is valid because it's an informed sort of pickiness. And, without being preachy, I do want others to be aware that their choices and their dollars make a difference — a huge one, if you're spending thousands of dollars on a wedding. I don't need people to announce their sustainability in big neon letters (another acquaintance who is getting married this summer is doing just that on her website, and I think it's over-the-top) — I just want people to spend more time thinking about the impact we have on the planet. Not just with weddings, but with everything.

When I sent the reply note back, I checked off "fish." I know that people will make the best choices they can, and I trust that whatever the fish actually is (or how it's served — don't get me started on my pickiness around catered food!), it will be fine. Besides, it's not about the fish that day, it's about celebrating the newlyweds.

1 comment:

Corina Beczner said...

I think you bring up a great point, and I'm glad you did! As a green wedding planner, I'm going to share this with my clients. I think they should note the level of thought that went into selecting the food you will share with them at their celebration-- "organic" "grass fed, happy cows" "free range" or "sustainably fished"-- these things matter to almost 35 million people across the US called the LOHAS market. Being thoughtful and responsible to the planet at your celebration is what a lot of values based couples and businesses are starting to take on! Thanks for the dialog! -- BTW-- vegetarian would be the most eco-friendly option. Corina-