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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 September 2007, 23:11 GMT 00:11 UK
Green vows won't cost the earth
By Louise Walter
Video journalist, BBC Spotlight

Russell Geake and Alexia Muskett
The couple met at a series of climate change events
Russell Geake and Alexia Muskett got together after bumping into each other at a series of climate change events.

So when they decided to tie the knot in Cornwall, it was only natural they would want to do it in an environmentally-friendly way.

"The less mark that you can make on the ground you walk on the better," said Lexi.

"It's much simpler if you do it this way. It's about keeping the meaning, because the meaning is about love and it's about your life and that's central to everything we've been doing."

So right from the off the wedding preparations have been as environmentally-friendly as possible.

Invitations popped up in guests' inboxes, saving paper, ink and postage.

You have to look after them, and polish them, like a good marriage
Perry Bond, wood carver

Anything that has had to be printed has been done so with vegetable ink on left-over recycled paper by a local firm.

The orders of service and place names will have travelled fewer than two miles between factory and venue.

All the food for the reception on Saturday has been sourced locally and on Friday Russell and Lexi will be at the market finding gastronomic goodies for their guests.

Instead of champagne, an equivalent from a Cornish vineyard will toast the bride and groom.

And both Russell, 30, and Lexi, 42, found their outfits in charity shops.

Amanda Tse, who makes bespoke costumes, has adapted Lexi's cotton find into the wedding dress she wanted.

They had to buy new fabric to make the train and veil, but Amanda promises it will be re-used to make princess costumes after the wedding day.

Eco-friendly essentials
Wooden wedding rings
Invitations by email
Order of service on recycled paper with vegetable dye
Wine from Cornish vineyard
Locally sourced wedding breakfast
Wedding outfits from charity shops
Veil material will be recycled
Wooden wedding rings
Walking to reception
Light bulbs as wedding favours
Flowers made from plastic bags
Confetti made from fallen spring blossom

Guests have been asked to take public transport to the wedding, and in cases where that is not practical, have been encouraged to car share.

Porthpean Church, set above the glistening Cornish sea, is only a five minute walk from the reception venue so there is no need to drive and only the bride will arrive by car - one powered by electricity.

The couple have also decided to have wooden wedding rings.

Russell had tried to carve them himself but after several unsuccessful attempts they decided to call in a professional.

Perry Bond carved them a pair of rings from walnut and boxwood.

The latter was donated by a tree surgeon while the walnut was cut down to make the Newbury bypass, and came to Perry after most of it had been used to make tables.

He thinks wooden rings are more appropriate for a wedding than gold ones.

"You have to look after them, and polish them, like a good marriage," he said.

There will be no cut flowers, instead Lexi's mother has been hard at work making buttonholes and bouquets out of plastic bags.

Lexi's mother Nette with a plastic bag carnation
Lexi's mother has made flowers from plastic bags

She got the idea after reading an origami book, and wondered if the same technique for making paper flowers would work for plastic.

It did.

A dedicated hoarder, Nette has finally found a use for her plastic bag collection.

She concedes it has taken "quite a while" to make the dozens of carnations required for the big day but is thrilled with the result.

For months any available radiator space in the Muskett household has been taken up with drying petals to make confetti from fallen spring blossom.

Once it has been thrown over the happy couple, it will return to the earth and nourish it.

And they hope the impact of their special day will last beyond 15 September.

Green approach

They are giving all their guests low energy light bulbs as party favours.

If they are all used, Russell calculates they will save about 32 tonnes of carbon.

And there are definite financial benefits to taking a green approach to your nuptials.

Today, the average cost of getting married is 17,000, but this eco-friendly wedding has actually worked out a lot cheaper.

"There's no need for all the clutter which goes with (a wedding)," said Russell, and Lexi agrees.

"At the end of it, it's the event, the meaning you take away from the event and how much you've enjoyed yourself rather than the stuff you fill the marquee with," she said.

Bride says 'I do' to green wedding
01 Jun 07 |  Northern Ireland
Couple go 'green' to tie the knot
08 Jun 07 |  Tayside and Central
Bridesmaid's six-week green trek
21 Aug 06 |  Mid Wales

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