Jan. 31, 2012

Twenty-nine year old, Fort Worth resident Ashley Paz is a Green Wedding Consultant whose company Vera Green Productions specializes in creating weddings that are elegant, eco-friendly and ethical. 

Planning green weddings for six years, Paz says “It was before people even called them ‘green’ weddings.”  A home based company, she carries her eco-mindedness into using only recycled paper products, 100% green energy and always uses as many eco-friendly wedding resources as she can find.  

“We provide compost and recycling bins at all of our events that we personally deliver to community recycling and composting facilities,” Paz says.  “We also strive to work with other vendors who offer green services.  Each year I make a list of goals for how to make my company more environmentally friendly.  I think it's important to make goals to increase your value.”   Paz moved to Fort Worth in 2006 and says at that time most couples hadn't even heard of a green wedding, much less catering one. 

“It took some time, but in 2009 after a short hiatus from having my first daughter I rebranded my company as Vera Green Productions and made it a goal to exclusively cater to eco-friendly couples.  This is when I started reaching out to other vendors about offering green options to their clients.  Now, almost three years later people are beginning to realize that it's not just a fad, but a change that people will be making as long as they are having weddings.” 

Paz is not sure how many green weddings there are in the Dallas/Fort Worth area right now, but she says she does know that a larger number of couples are incorporating more eco-friendly choices into their weddings as more vendors are making green options available. 

There are also several venues throughout the metroplex that have switched to eco-friendly operations like City Club in Fort Worth and Hickory Street Annex in Dallas and bakeries that specialize in organic, vegan, and gluten free options like Sublime Bakery in Fort Worth.  More local farms are beginning to plant crops of the more popular wedding flowers such as peonies and ranunculus too.

Paz  creates all of the floral designs for her events and about 75% of the designs are from locally, or at least domestically, sourced blooms, “When I can't utilize those sources I insist that my alternatives are Fair Trade certified, “she says.  “I even had one couple this past year that had us design potted centerpieces that their guests took home and replanted in their own flower beds.  They were beautiful, and the guests loved them.”

As for green wedding choices Paz says “The biggest green wedding trend that I have seen this season is not just an eco-friendly one, but an economical one.  In their decor couples seem to be incorporating more reused elements such as vintage vases, candle holders, etc.  Vintage is a huge trend this season, and not only is it incorporating something that is reused from the past, but also something that couples can use in the future to decorate their new homes that will be a lasting memory of their wedding day.”

 Another big thing in eco-friendly weddings is skipping the favors.  Paz suggests that instead of handing out a trinket that’s going to end up as clutter in someone's cabinet make a donation to a charity. 

“The number one suggestion I have for going green in wedding planning is to go local,” Paz stresses.  “Our area boasts some of the finest restaurants in the country, and many of them are dedicated to featuring locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as locally bred and raised meats.”

She also suggests being conscious of the décor and use vintage or rented items whenever you can, think about the location and how the guests will get there too.  Will the ceremony and reception be at different venues and if so, arrange a shuttle service to reduce the amount of driving.  Finally, when you order invitations be sure and request post-consumer or sustainably sourced papers. 

In addition to her green friendly business, Paz and her family live in the Fairmount Historic District of Fort Worth and she says they have carried their love of conservation over into a love for historic preservation in a neighborhood she has gotten quite involved in helping to preserve. 

“Overall, I think that planners are becoming more aware of the products that they are using these days,” Paz says in conclusion.  “I see more vendors who make a conscious effort to make eco-friendly options available to brides doing a lot more business. I think that more couples are interested in green weddings, but just don't know where to start or they look at is as an ‘all or nothing' kind of effort.  But just because you have a green wedding doesn't mean you can't rent a limo or buy a pretty white dress, it's all about your intentions.”

For more information about having your own green wedding Paz can be reached through her websites at www.veragreenproductions.com or her email ashley@veragreenproductions.com or 817.965.1253 to schedule an appointment.



Rita Cook is an award winning journalist who writes or has written for the Dallas Morning News, Focus Daily News, Waxahachie Daily Light,  Dreamscapes Travel Magazine, Porthole, Core Media, Fort Worth Star Telegram and many other publications in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago.  Cook is the Managing Editor of Insider Magazine, worked at the Chicago Sun Times for renowned columnist Irv Kupcinet and can also be heard Sunday morning in Los Angeles on The Insider Magazine Radio Show’s featured segment “I’m Standing Here.”  With five books published, her latest release is “A Brief History of Fort Worth” published by History Press.  You can contact her at rcook13@earthlink.net