Say ‘I do’ to a green wedding …

As a little girl, Kelly Moore always preferred dirt to dress up, and would choose flowers over a Barbie doll any day. So it’s not surprising that she would end up combining her love of nature and her keen eye for detail into her own business as an adult. Moore is the lead designer and senior wedding coordinator for Ambiance Event Planning & Floral Designs in Scranton, which specializes in green (eco-friendly) weddings. After 10 years of teaching horticulture at the Career Technology Center (CTC), Moore recently moved into a new space inside a blue Victorian at 410 Jefferson Ave. in Scranton, and is now devoting all of her time to her business. Though the space is new to her, being an entrepreneur isn’t. She and her best friend founded a shop in Petersburg Corners (in east Scranton) called Dreams Come True years ago, which remained open until she began teaching. “Even 17 years later, it’s always new, it’s always wonderful. Every time someone gets married it’s like a new adventure,” Moore said. Today, she is one of 10 people in the nation, and one of two in Pennsylvania, certified to plan green weddings. With the average wedding producing 400 pounds of garbage and 63 tons of C02, this environmentally conscious wedding planner has her work cut out for her. She’s doing her part to show us the beauty of bringing green elements into your special day without overspending. Meet Scranton’s Kelly Moore …

Do you do every aspect of planning a wedding?
Yes, ring to ring. Some people hire me just for the floral design and others hire me for the day of coordinating and others who say, “I just got engaged yesterday. What do we do?” And I’ve done weddings here and all across the country. We did one in the Florida Keys, New Orleans, Central Park. Weddings are so different all over the United States with different traditions and layouts. It’s nice to be able to have that perspective.

Have you come across traditions in other places that you thought would be fun to see in northeastern PA?
I love when people bring in their own cultural aspects. Sometimes they just do what Martha Stewart says, and you really need to make your wedding personalized. My preference is the way southern weddings are done. They’re not formal, sit-down dinners. They’re more like a really heavy cocktail party. There’s seating for less than 50 percent of the people, which is good, because when you have that ratio, people are constantly mingling.

Let’s talk about your specialty — green weddings.
The biggest thing that I’m trying to do now is introduce the area to the green aspects of wedding planning — and that doesn’t mean a tree-hugging, granola crunching, barefoot girl. That’s what everyone thinks and it’s not like that. I’ve had weddings that were gala events that you would think were for Donald Trump’s daughter, but you can still pull in green aspects. You can do one thing, or you can do the entire thing. Something as simple as having your wedding and reception in the same location makes a difference. You’re cutting down on transportation for everyone who’s attending. It doesn’t make everything completely green, but it’s one thing. For invitations, there are certain styles you can do, like the scroll, that’s just a single sheet and it ships in its own tube, and then the postcard comes back as a response card. That cuts down on paper. Then there are things like estate jewelry. Maybe instead of buying a brand new ring made from new metal and new diamonds, you can buy estate jewelry. Or, you could take your grandparents’ wedding bands and melt them down and use that as the band, or wear your great grandmother’s ring. If you don’t love the ring itself, you could have it reset. Little things like that will add up over the grand scheme of things. Reducing the favors you get is another way to reduce waste.

So you can help us combine traditions with eco-friendly elements?
Yes. You can still have a church wedding. You can still use a ballroom. You can have it wherever you want and it can look however you want. (Being green) doesn’t alter your theme, your style or your budget. It’s just being more aware of every choice you make. Do what’s important to you; it’s still your day. You don’t have to make it something else because you’re trying to be green. But if something isn’t so important to you, like maybe the specific flowers aren’t important to you, then we can do succulents and some branches and things that are reusable and aren’t fresh cut from Ecuador where you have all that shipping and chemicals. I would never advise a bride to compromise her dreams and wishes for her wedding just to say that it’s green.

Give us an example of a local wedding that incorporated a lot of green elements into it.
We had a bride who used the trolley (bus), and she had the reception at Fern Hall where she used all of the outside space. The background was her decoration, and she had her bridesmaids wear their own dresses. She did things like that to make it more environmentally friendly, but it didn’t kill her whole design style. She made all of her own runners for the tables in a Vera Bradley kind of pattern. She got a ton of different fabrics and used the table cloths they always have, but she made runners and napkin rings in all of these patterns so it brightened up the whole location. It was something she did here. It wasn’t shipped from another country or somewhere else and it was her own touch that brought in the color. It was more environmentally friendly than renting things that may have chemicals in them. It was very her. It didn’t feel generic. It was a beautiful wedding and everybody loved it.

What would you like people to consider to make things a little different and more green when they’re planning their special day?
The first thing I would recommend is to look for an out-of-the-box reception facility. Maybe there’s a cool barn out in Newton or Ransom, or maybe a there’s a beautiful park somewhere that you can use. It has to go with the theme and the style you want. So don’t compromise something – you’re not having a barn wedding when you want crystals and tiaras – that doesn’t go together. The second biggest thing is, you have to figure out what kind of wedding you want. It’s going to be unique. Don’t pick up the wedding magazine because you’re almost being brainwashed into “this is what Martha says.” I love Martha Stewart, and I have her magazines, but there has to be aspects of you in the wedding. A lot of brides don’t do that. They say, “I have to have this dress because it’s in this magazine” and that’s when it’s not you and it’s kind of a boring wedding because it’s a packaged wedding. If you throw in all those little things that are personal and you start thinking, “What is meaningful to me? What are things that symbolize me or where we met, or anything about us as a couple?” — that makes the wedding more unique and more interesting.
— julie imel

To learn more about planning a green wedding, visit Ambiance Event Planning & Floral Designs at