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July 12, 2012

Antigua: The Hottest New Green Wedding Destination.

 

For many engaged couples, a destination wedding in an exotic location is a dream come true.

When you pair sun and sand with heart-felt vows and breathtaking views, you quickly realize that natural beauty trumps plastic décor. Not surprisingly, green destination weddings are becoming more popular than ever as couples realize the positive impact green tourism has on the local people, economy and environment.

This is particularly important in low-income countries, where development pressure is constantly threatening natural ecosystems, and increasing the demand for sustainably harvested products is an easy way to support preservation.

We recently attended an elegant beach wedding on the quiet shores of Nonsuch Bay Resort in Antigua. This year’s “green themed” wedding focused on strengthening sustainable tourism and presenting “green weddings” as a new offering in the tourism product.

Jacky and Ron were selected from a group of engaged couples who submitted their love story as part of a yearly contest and promotion that showcases Antigua & Barbuda’s strengths and unique selling points as a wedding and honeymoon destination. For the sixth year the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism in conjunction with several partners collaborated to sponsor the destination wedding, the highlight of the annual June is Romance Month promotion.

During a pre-wedding reception press event, all future sustainability projects were discussed. These include new green technology, a sustainable island resource management project, a botanical garden, and more properties going off the energy grid.

Jacky and Ron’s eco-chic ceremony reflected the simplicity of the couple’s eco-conscious values and commitment to preserving the environment and minimizing the carbon footprint of their celebration.

The couple chose natural décor, scattering red orchids in the sand to mark their way to the sandy “altar” and married under a wedding arch handcrafted from fallen wood retrieved from the local rainforest.

All food and drink was local and made from the freshest ingredients.

Guests sipped on soursop and cherry fruit juice (two island favorites) and enjoyed spicy clam chowder served in small cups. Another local favorite, Antiguan Rum Cake, was served with a champagne toast. The couple also requested that local produce be used for the main course to reduce the impact of carbon emissions, typically associated with the transportation of imported foods.

By embracing the local and seasonal elements for their wedding, Jacky and Ron not only decreased the impact of their event, but supported the local sustainable economy.

The couple, who met at a scooter club in NYC, toured Antigua by scooter and visited Green Island, an offshore wildlife sanctuary. They also planted a mahogany tree on the grounds of Nonsuch Bay Resort to offset their carbon footprint and leave behind a symbol of their growing love and commitment to each other and to the environment.

Choosing a green destination like Jacky and Ron did will encourage more countries to go green and stay competitive in the tourism field. The U. S. Travel Data Center estimates that 43 million U.S. travelers are “ecologically concerned.” Many travelers will be on the lookout for green hotels and accommodations. If you are a green-minded globe trotter, encourage businesses to think like you do by choosing to stay and play at green resorts.

All images courtesy of Amanda Harkness

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Editor: Kate Bartolotta

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