Saying 'I Do' to Green Weddings

A lot of brides still honor the old English custom of wearing something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue on their wedding day. But at least one Pittsburgh woman thinks green is the way to begin a happy marriage.

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OPEN: A lot of brides still honor the old English custom of wearing something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue on their wedding day. But at least one Pittsburgh woman thinks green is the way to begin a happy marriage. Hereís The AFís Deborah Weisberg with the story.

JACKOWSKI: how does this feelÖa little tight? A little bitÖand fade

WEISBERG: With just weeks to go before her big dayÖSarah Allessio gets zipped into her wedding gown for a final fitting at Clarissa boutique bridal store.

JACKOWSKI: Thereís a little snap there on the bowÖthere you goÖoh, Sarah..looks greatÖand fadeÖ

WEISBERG: Although sheís surrounded by new gowns costing thousands of dollarsÖAllessio paid just $25 for her 1950s white taffeta dress at a secondhand shop. She had it altered to suit her own style by Clarissaís Gretchen Jackowski.

JACKOWSKI: When she brought it in, it It had capped sleeves, neckline and shoulder and we took the sleeves off and reshaped the necklineÖI made halter strap out of old bow on dress. She had an idea of what she wanted and we built on that.

WEISBERG: Although thereís a certain romance to wearing a vintage gownÖresale shop finds are also practicalÖ and Jackowski says sheís seeing more of them.

JACKOWSKI: 3:32 I wouldnít say itís a new trend, but it might be an increasing trend. (WEISBERG: What do you chalk that up to?) People like the older styles sometimes and they like the fact they can recycle.

WEISBERG: Alessio knows all about recycling. Sheís an environmental educator with the Pennsylvania Resources CouncilÖso a sustainable wedding seemed a natural choice for her and her fiancÈ Aaron Shea. On a recent visit to The Mattress Factory Art Museum, the couple strolled through the courtyard where their ceremony would be held.

ALESSIO: We hope we get nice weatherÖso we can get the walls up on the tent and, just like sunshineÖweíll seeÖweíll keep our fingers crossed for that one.

WEISBERG: The couple chose the Mattress Factory for its paperless membership. Theyíre also skipping printed programs to eliminate paper waste and borrowing flowers from Brenckle's Nursery. Alessioís bridesmaids will wear black dresses from their own wardrobes and a friend is making wedding favors out of recycled gift bags. Shea says itís about personal values as much as saving the environment.

SHEA: We both felt like there's many other ways we could spend money that would benefit us more than spending it on more expensive food and more expensive things to have on just one day. (WEISBERG: Are you spending it on a down payment on a house or on a trip?) More so a tripÖWe have a house already so eventually we want to go to IrelandÖso moneyís better spent traveling and experiencing things in the world than an expensive dress or expensive linens.

WEISBERG: The wedding will cost less than half what the average bride spends todayÖwhich is about $25,000 according to wedding planner Lisa Mason of Big Day Wedding Center. Although she hasnít been asked to plan an all-green wedding, Mason says most brides are saying "I do" to at least a few green soy or beeswax candles, recycled paper for invitationsÖacoustic musicÖLED lightingÖeven dinner plates made from recycled fibers.

MASON: People are starting to recognize that it is importantÖitís not just a trendÖthat each and every one of us needs to be responsible. And weíll see a swing toward events being environmentally friendly.

WEISBERG: And thatís something to celebrateÖaccording to friends of Shea and Alessio who found no shortage of fun at the coupleís wedding.

COLAIZZI: Hey, dude, this is great, manÖthanks for having usÖ

WEISBERG: Jessie Colaizzi went to high school with Alessio.

COLAIZZI: Having a wedding like thisÖwhere youíre not having a big $50,000 weddingÖis green. Itís a money kind of conservative

WEISBERG: Colaizzi says he had a green weddingÖtooÖ

COLAIZZI: We had our cousin whoís the mayor of our neighborhood marry usÖ my uncle whoís passed made the wineÖmy aunt made the cakeÖa friend of the family whoís a caterer catere everythingÖso we kept friends and family in businessÖbut we also didnít spend a lot.

WEISBERG: Even older guests whoíd had more conventional weddings said they'd do things differently the second time around.

WEDDING GUEST: I really enjoyed itÖIím getting remarried so it gives me ideasÖ(laughter)Ö

M.C.: Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Shea.

WEISBERG: For the Allegheny Front, Iím Deborah Weisberg.