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Interview with a local Event Planner

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Here's a post from my Green.Weddings.com blog that shares an interview with Vera Devera, of Va De Vie Events, here in the Bay Area.  I've worked with Vera on a few events now, and we've had a great time.  Thanks Vera for the interview!

 
The cake table is a salvaged piece from Mignonne Decor. Also featured are scraps of ribbon to connect vintage letters with a felt heart in the center, champagne glasses (from her mother-in-law's wedding 35 years prior), an antique white milk glass cake stand found at a local flea market and fresh dahlias.
 
I have had the privilege of getting to work with Vera Devera, a local event planner here in the Bay Area, on a number of weddings. I've asked her to answer some questions about event planning and specifically, green-er events. Enjoy!
1. What kind of services do you provide couples?
Va de Vie Events specializes in month-of wedding coordination, especially for brides who prefer planning the major elements but recognize the need for help with organizing the event flow, managing vendors, setting up decor and determining the final details. We also offer partial to full planning, including providing overall event design consultation and selecting and booking vendors.
Salvaged lace served as the base for an escort card display (recycled kraft paper that was hand punched) and attached to a wrought iron gate.
2. Why would someone want to hire a planner/coordinator?
A wedding coordinator is like the quarterback between the bride and groom with their vendors and key family members. We act on your behalf to ensure that your vision for the day is executed. The greatest value we offer is our ability to troubleshoot and put out fires. Murphy's Law applies to even the best laid plans and it's our job to make sure you don't even know there was a problem and enjoy your wedding -- after all you have invested a lot of time, energy and money into making it extraordinary!
Principal event planner and owner, Vera Devera
3. What kind of advice/suggestions do you give couples who are trying to stay green while planning?
1. Determine how green you want to be. What are your priorities in minimizing your carbon footprint and how does it impact your wedding's look and feel and its budget? For example, when it comes to shopping for a wedding dress -- is the greenness of the material and getting a new dress made of bamboo fiber more important than finding a dress on Craigslist and getting it customized with vintage embellishments? Where are you going on honeymoon and how are you getting there? Are you volunteering together, engaging in an eco-tour or just having a relaxing getaway within 200 miles of where you live?
2. Go local! Where is your venue? Is it near public transit? Does it already have the tables and chairs that you need (or do you need any at all, especially if you're getting married on the beach)?
 
Unbleached cotton market bags printed locally with vegetable dye.
 
3. Hire vendors who share your values. As you're researching or interviewing vendors, find out if they share your philosophy around being green. For example, is your photographer going all digital and will they post a gallery online for your friends and family to view photos? Find out if your floral designer can make a bouquet that you can plant later (e.g. succulent bouquet) and ask your caterer where their ingredients come from and how it's grown or raised.
4. Consider the season, especially for your food and flowers. It doesn't make sense to eat fruits and vegetables out of season and that have to be flown in from south of the equator for your wedding.
5. Shop smart. Thrift stores, antique flea markets or retail outlets that specialize in salvaged materials are great sources for "found" objects that you can incorporate into the look and feel of your wedding. Or, you can shop online. Our go-to is Etsy.com and we suggest searching for vendors (especially local ones) that recycle or use sustainable materials in their work. Keep in mind that it's best to buy locally -- for example, if you find an amazing antique trunk in New Jersey, it's not cost effective or environmentally friendly to get it shipped out of state.
6. Leverage your existing network and consider the reusability of materials. Can you borrow mason jars as vases from a friend? Can your crafty aunt share scraps from fabric projects? Could your grandmother's treasured brooch be tied to your bouquet? 4. What is your favorite part of planning an event?
Partnering with our clients to find solutions to their needs -- whether it's finding a DJ on a particular budget, determining the best layout for the reception, or creatively communicating seating arrangements to guests -- is one of the most rewarding aspects of our work. We pride ourselves in being resourceful and leveraging our community of talented vendors. And ultimately, it's seeing all the moving parts come together that's the best part of our job. We often work with couples months in advance leading up to the day-of and to see the bride and groom, their family and friends and the beautiful details come together is truly awe-inspiring.
 
In Green and Health,
 

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