Tying Our (Green) Knot

Tying Our (Green) Knot

The most vivid moment of worry I experienced before our wedding came two days before as I was hustling around the farmers’ market at the Marin Civic Center. My pickup list went something like this: grapes from Ed at Woodside Farm, melons from Jim at Fiddler Green Farm, tomatoes from David at Little Organic Farm and so on. A passionate locavore, I was determined to treat our guests to tastes of our bountiful Bay Area food- shed throughout the weekend.

I checked my list and loaded the car to the brim when it hit me . . . olive oil. I frantically called Katie Powers, my caterer, who was picking up ingredients for the seasonal feast she would prepare for our reception at the Headlands Center for the Arts. I hid my looming disappointment and asked gently if she had remembered to pick up olive oil from Beth Sylverleaf. She assured me that she was on her way to Beth’s booth. At that moment, the clouds parted, the sun shined and my heart was set at ease.

It may seem ridiculous that a condiment would be the catalyst of such emotion. But my husband and I had spent over a year creating a wedding that felt right to us. We are committed to simplicity, to supporting local businesses and to investing in quality products that tread lightly on the earth, all within a finite budget. Our set of standards required creativity and some sacrifice. We designed our invitations and had them printed on 100-percent recycled paper by Greener Printer in Berkeley. I found my dress at Shadows, a charming family-owned bridal shop in San Anselmo. A friend took photos and my cousin shot video. Full Belly Farm in Yolo County brought bouquets of organic, seasonal flowers. Flour Chyld, a bakery in Novato, and Barlovento Chocolates, a chocolatier in Berkeley, provided exquisite desserts. Our families, wedding party and 80 guests stayed at the Marin Headlands Hostel, a certified green business a few hundred feet from both the ceremony and reception. We even registered for hand-thrown dishware from Two Rivers Gallery, a pottery store in Downieville.

Nearly every detail had a green lining and a personal edge. This was why I so desperately wanted to savor Sylverleaf Olive Oil at my wedding. It is cold-pressed from olives handpicked from 100-year-old olive trees in Loma Rica, a few short miles from where I had lived as a child.

A wedding is an opportunity to create a celebration that embodies the values you hold with your partner, and to share them with a community of family and friends. While good things take time, green things seem to take more: more thought, more creativity and more determination. Living lightly on the planet and making choices that create the change you want to see in the world is a daily challenge. We found that planning a wedding by the same values is great practice and a truly enriching experience.


Amelia and Alex Spilger were married on September 15, 2007 in the Marin Headlands. They strive for simplicity and sustainability in their daily lives and invest their working hours to promote local agriculture and green building. Amelia works for Marin Farmers Markets and Alex works for KEMA Green.

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