An increasing number of couples are saying “I do” to the latest trend in love: green wedding ceremonies.
Thanks to an array of elegant yet eco-friendly options, environmentally conscious couples can honor their commitment to a healthy planet as they commit to each other. Sweethearts often save green by going green, as well. As the average wedding price tops $28,000, according to the Brides.com 2009 American Wedding Study, ecologically responsible choices can help cut costs.

“Hornblower has been helping couples and families celebrate commitment and love for nearly 30 years, and we’ve watched a number of trends evolve,” commented Hornblower Cruises & Events CEO Terry MacRae. “A green wedding is the wedding of today and, based on growing interest from our guests, the wedding of the future.”

Looking to celebrate your wedding day in a green way? Here are a few practical tips, courtesy of the professional wedding planners at Hornblower Cruises & Events.

1. Capitalize on natural beauty and cut decorating costs by choosing a venue with a view. Get married in a park, at the local botanical gardens or on the top deck of a yacht at sunset.

2. Opt for a site that accommodates both your ceremony and reception. When that’s not possible, consider walkable options or seek out a green shuttle service.

3. Book responsible event venues. Hornblower vessels feature ENERGY STAR® appliances, energy efficient hand dryers and light bulbs, and green cleaning products. Some of the company’s cruise packages also include carbon-offset credits.

4. Send save-the-date notices, shower invitations and registry information by e-mail. When mailing printed invitations, choose recycled or post-consumer paper and soy-based ink.

5. For receptions and dinners, source organic fare from area farmers and growers. Hornblower Cruises & Events has established relationships with purveyors who provide seasonal, locally grown produce, sustainable seafood and free-range, organic meats.

6. Adorn your wedding venue with reusable linens and soy candle centerpieces.

7. Select seasonal flowers available locally at the time of your wedding. Better yet, decorate with orchids, potted daisies or other flowering plants that can be enjoyed long after the ceremony.

8. Purchase sustainable, eco-friendly “thank you” gifts. For a long-lasting party favor, send guests home with a packet of seeds or a potted plant centerpiece.

9. After the reception, recycle bottles, cans and plastic containers. Avoid plastic utensils and serving ware. If you must use disposable products, choose recycled or biodegradable alternatives. Hornblower follows responsible merchandising guidelines and has an extensive recycling program that extends beyond the company’s boats.

10. Honeymoon at an eco-resort or sign up to clear trails, teach children or build homes on a volunteer vacation.

Hornblower Cruises & Events operates more than 32 yachts in 6 scenic California cities. Vessels in Berkeley, San Francisco, Marina del Rey, Long Beach, Newport Beach and San Diego welcome shower, rehearsal dinner, wedding and reception groups from 2 to 2,200. Hornblower’s professional event planners assist throughout the planning process to coordinate details and ensure an unforgettable experience.

To learn more about planning weddings and special events with Hornblower, visit www.hornblowerweddings.com or call 1-888-HORNBLOWER (1-888-467-6256).

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