More Singapore couples choose eco-friendly weddings

Zhao Quan Yin/Evelyn Choo, Channel NewsAsia 6 Dec 09;

SINGAPORE: The evening glow is just right at the Garden of Seasons for newlyweds Kevin Tan and Claire Chua.

They are among 150 couples who have chosen to get married in parks this year. They are also going eco-friendly on the use of materials.

"Our wedding flavours are tea infusions and we included rose hip flowers in it. So it is very much in line with the garden theme and it is something people can use over and over again," said the couple.

This new colourful theme garden at HortPark is designed to host intimate events in a romantic setting.

Going greener, NParks is encouraging couples to have environmentally-friendly weddings.

"Weddings generally generate quite a lot of waste, so we are trying to use this occasion to remind people that environmental-consciousness is actually a very important part of our lives," said Yvonne Cheng, manager, Marketing and Promotions, National Parks Board.

A gown has been created out of recycled materials - such as fabric covers of used wedding albums, and crystals and beads from damaged jewellery. And couples can learn more about such initiatives at the Garden Wedding Fair at HortPark on December 12.

The fair will feature more than ten lush gardens and parks, where couples can tie the knot.

- CNA/sc

Say 'I do' to green weddings
More options now for couples to help save the environment while pledging their love
Victoria Vaughan, Straits Times 7 Dec 09;

This wedding gown by WhiteLink is made of plastic wrapper, fabric scraps and other recycled materials. -- ST PHOTO: SAMUEL HE

GO GREEN for your big day and save on the cost of the wedding venue.

The National Parks Board (NParks) announced the 20 per cent discount offer at the opening of its latest wedding venue, known as the Garden of Seasons, at the HortPark off Alexandra Road.

For now, the discount applies only to the non-air-conditioned venues at HortPark, which charge between $85 and $260 an hour. NParks has not decided if the offer will be extended to its other six parks, where weddings are also held.

To qualify for the discount, the couple have to show NParks they have taken at least eight environmentally friendly measures for their wedding. These include using recycled paper for the invitations and using a hybrid bridal car.

NParks' director of parks Kong Yit San hopes the scheme will 'inspire more people to do their part in saving the environment and reducing the large amounts of waste that weddings usually generate'.

There has been an increase in the number of couples tying the knot in parks, although it is not clear if this is due to the novelty factor of having an outdoor wedding, or that people are becoming more environmentally conscious. So far this year, there have been 150 weddings held in the parks, compared with 130 last year, and there are already 90 bookings for next year.

However, these numbers still represent only less than 1 per cent of the total number of weddings. A vast majority of the 24,000 couples who got married last year did so indoors in venues such as hotels or places of worship.

However, some wedding planners said that environmental awareness is on the rise among couples.

Spellbound Weddings' Anna Lim tries to talk couples into reducing waste by using recycled paper or opting for china instead of disposable plates.

'This can add a further $3 to $4 to the price per guest, but about 90 per cent of couples are willing to pay the extra fee as china looks nicer,' she said.

'I believe that as the popularity of green weddings rises, catering companies will start doing this and may absorb the cost.'

Caterers such as ISS Catering Services are also offering biodegradable ware for wedding functions. Said its marketing manager Josephine Lin: 'We're being asked about these options a lot more by couples.'

Candy Floriculture, a wholesaler of plants and flowers, offers potted plants instead of cut flowers for decorations, which helps cut down on waste. Said its director Sharon Goh: 'We rent the plants out...It's cheaper and they create a nice environment for the wedding.'

Couples are also going for 'greener' bridal gowns, which cost about 20 to 30 per cent less than normal ones. For example, bridal boutique WhiteLink has three gowns, which cost between $300 and $1,200 to rent, made from recycled material as part of their green efforts.

The designers use fabric from older gowns, floral decorations from wedding cars, fabric covers of used wedding albums and crystals from damaged jewellery to create the dresses.These gowns will be displayed at the Garden Wedding Fair on Saturday at HortPark, the first such fair organised by NParks to offer tips on green weddings.

Mr Andrew Ong, 31, a project manager for a non-governmental organisation, will hold his wedding next March at Fort Canning, chosen so his guests can get there by public transport.

The couple will use fans instead of air-conditioners, recycled paper for the invitations and a hybrid bridal car. The caterer will use biodegradable ware, and shark's fin soup will not be served.

'We'll be going against certain norms, but it's important that we understand how we contribute to a negative effect on the Earth,' he said.

8 ways to love the Earth
Straits Times 7 Dec 09;

TO ENCOURAGE couples to hold environmentally friendly weddings, the National Parks Board is rolling out a 'Green Wedding Special', in which a couple will receive a 20 per cent discount off the venue's rental at HortPark if their wedding incorporates at least eight 'green' practices.

1. Invitation: Go paperless and use e-mail invitations, or use recycled paper.

2. Stationery: For menus and place cards, print limited copies using recycled paper or reusable materials such as chalk boards.

3. Attire: Rent the gowns and suits. Chose gowns made from recycled materials.

4. Venue: Use a non-air-conditioned venue such as the Garden of Seasons at HortPark. There are also six other parks here where you can hold outdoor weddings. These are: Bedok Reservoir Park, East Coast Park, Fort Canning Park, Labrador Nature Reserve, Pasir Ris Park and Sengkang Riverside Park. Couples can also tie the knot at the Singapore Garden Festival in July next year at Suntec City.

5. Transportation: Rent a bus to ferry your guests about during the day, or encourage them to carpool. For your own bridal vehicle, use a hybrid car.

6. Decorations and bridal bouquet: Use potted plants instead of cut flowers. You can also get your florist to wrap a small potted plant for your bridal bouquet.

7. Catering set-up: Use biodegradable ware or other environmentally friendly alternatives such as banana leaves or china.

8. Wedding favours: Give out wedding favours made of eco-friendly or recycled materials.

A dream green wedding
Today Online 7 Dec 09;

SINGAPORE - Saving the environment can now go hand in hand with saving costs for your dream wedding.

Couples can avail of a 20-per-cent discount at the National Park Board's (NParks) green wedding venues at the HortPark in Alexandra Road (picture), if they can prove that they will take at least eight environmentally-friendly measures for their big day.

The measures may include using a hybrid car for the big day, printing invitations on recycled paper and using bio-degradable cutlery.

"Weddings generally generate quite a lot of waste, so we're trying to use this occasion to remind people that environmental-consciousness is actually a very important part of our lives," said Ms Yvonne Cheng, Manager for Marketing and Promotions of NParks.

Charges for the venues in HortPark are between $85 and $190 per hour, depending on their location. A team there will assess whether couples who want to apply for the discount under the "Green Wedding Special" meet the criteria.

NParks said it is still considering whether to extend the offer to its six other parks.

Yesterday, it also launched a new wedding venue at HortPark called the "Garden of Seasons".

Newlyweds Kevin Tan and Claire Chua said they were inspired to include several green elements in their wedding there.

"Our wedding favours are tea infusions and we include rose hip flowers in it, so it's very much in line with the garden theme and it's something people can use over and over again."

NParks said the design of the new venue will be changed every three months to reflect the four seasons.

Couples can learn more about the green initiatives at the Garden Wedding Fair at HortPark this Saturday.The first wedding fair organised by NParks will also feature more than ten lush gardens and parks where couples can tie the knot.

This year, there has been an increase in the number of couples who held their weddings in parks, according to NParks.

From January to November, there were more than 150 such weddings plus about 30 bookings this month, compared to more than 130 weddings last year.