How to Make Your Event More Sustainable

Tips to raise your meeting's eco-friendliness.

Green is on everyone's lips these days -- not the color, but the concept.

Special events are about making magic happen. We know it's not the money spent, but rather the thought put into it, that makes a celebration special and creates lasting memories. As you begin to make plans for an upcoming corporate function, gala social event or conference, start thinking early about how to create themes and capture ideas that will set your event apart.

Not only is it important to have the furniture and accent pieces to fill your space, but to find talented design consultants that have the knowledge and expertise to help you save resources -- both dollars and resources like water, energy, and natural materials.

Go Green in Every Way Possible

While ostentatious displays might have fallen from favor, there are some proactive ways to embrace sustainability:

Whether your event is inside or outdoors, be mindful of the impact on its surroundings. When booking public space, choose a facility that backs up its eco-consciousness with actual practices. If your event will be outdoors, deal responsibly with crowd control, traffic, and trash.

Be aware of ways to utilize natural materials, to minimize energy requirements for heating and cooling, to conserve water, even to reduce the use of paper, plastic packaging, and polystyrene.

Work with caterers and suppliers to arrange for appropriate and efficient service. Try and eliminate waste, both during preparation and after the event. It would be extra beneficial to investigate the possibility of donating leftover food to a shelter or food pantry.

Always insist on water served from pitchers rather than in plastic bottles.

Look to local food, growers, markets, purveyors, and preparers if possible. Your guests will appreciate your commitment and chances are good that your food will be fresh and delicious, no matter where you source from.

This is the digital age. Whenever possible, go paperless and communicate electronically. It's not only faster, but also more efficient.

Choose flowers, centerpieces, and favors based on what's in season and available, rather than what is showy and must be shipped in. Make sure to use natural, local materials when possible.

Resolve that in every way possible your event will be "non-toxic, natural, and earthwise." From coffee to chocolate, from party favors to cleaning solutions, do what you can to assure that everything about your event is as good for the earth as it is for the people who participate.

Take Your Event to the Next Level

Specifically, when it comes to creating the perfect ambience for your special event, whether it's on a rooftop terrace, on the beach, or in a posh private club, renting furniture and accessories will not only simplify your planning efforts, but can keep costs reasonable. It is important to choose coordinated collections not only for their style and beauty, but also because they are well-constructed and durable.

Compliment your chosen furniture with other pieces, including LED lighted accessories and dramatic low-wattage lighting that will create drama and impact. Maybe even dramatic green trees and topiary that look just like the real thing!

You'll have no problem finding supply tables, lounge seating, bars and barstools, display cubes, and promotional accessories that are ecologically sensitive and appropriate for any occasion, from casual to black tie.

From coast to coast, and everywhere in between, the public is on board with green principles and sustainability. However, a few years ago the Environmental Protection Agency called out the meetings and events industry as the most wasteful in the country. At Designer 8, we're determined to make a difference. It's only natural -- and it's all about natural. We invite you to think about ways to integrate green living and eco-consciousness into your next event.

We all have every reason to celebrate, but now's the time to change our ways -- let's all get behind the cause. For now and for the future.

Samantha Sackler is the CEO of both Samantha Sackler Productions and designer8* Event Furniture Rental, as well as partner in Infinity Marketing. She has a vast knowledge within the event industry boasting more than 20 years of experience. Samantha designs and produces high-end social events, movie premieres and many corporate conferences/events.