As more and more people are going green in their own homes and lifestyle choices, why not include entertainment? Any excuse to get together with friends and family is a good one, right? For your next dinner party, try a green theme. Here are some ideas for throwing a green dinner party from invitations to favors.
Consider going informal and inviting your guests via electronic invitation. There is free software available online where you can design your own unique e-invitation. You can also use E-vite or set up a Facebook event.
In your invitations, encourage your guests to carpool to cut down on emissions, or if they live nearby, to walk to your house.
Choose local, seasonal food with a vegetarian emphasis. Meat has gotten a reputation lately for not being eco-friendly. If you do serve meats, choose organic, grass-fed beef and free range, organic poultry and ham. If you can find locally-raised meat, that is also a good choice. For vegetarian menus, emphasize bean dips and whole grain dishes with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Serve organic, fair-trade wines, teas and coffee in re-usable cups and mugs. Avoid soft drinks, water or juice in plastic bottles or cans. Instead, serve home-made punch in re-usable cups and hot beverages in insulated pitchers.
Plastic tableware is quite wasteful. Go ahead and use your regular flatware that can be washed and re-used. If you do decide to get disposable flatware, look for utensils made from biodegradable plastics. Use washable cloth napkins and tablecloths, or rent or borrow them.
Get creative with your decorations! Look to the outdoors for inspiration, and cut greens if it’s winter, fall foliage if it’s autumn, and flowers for a spring or summer party. Your local farmer’s market will have seasonal fruits and veggies that can make attractive centerpieces and decorations, such as colorful squash, cranberries, apples, pears, peaches, etc. Just be sure you use the decorative foods and don’t throw them away – in fact, your guests could take some of them home as favors. You can even rent live plants as decorations.
Light your home and table with eco-friendly candles and LED lights, whether as regular-sized bulbs or in festive strings of mini bulbs.
Compost the Leftovers
Don’t toss the leftovers! If your menu is vegetarian, leftovers can be composted, or made into a garden smoothie. Ask your guests to put their veggie and fruit scraps into a designated bin.
Forego the plastic trinkets if you decide to give favors. Consider organic chocolates, or buying loose tea in bulk and putting it in small glass containers. Give seeds, potted herbs, or even tree seedlings.
If the time of year is right, have a cookout and use natural wood charcoal or wood chunks in the grill. Your guests won’t need artificial lights and you won’t have to use the electric stove. Candles and strings of lights look particularly attractive outside.
Use your creativity and put together a green party that is uniquely yours!