Eco Week–Green Wedding Venues: The NC Arboretum

Looking for a Green Venue? Try a Local Park, Public Garden or Arboretum.

I'm happy to report that the NC Arboretum, near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, is now open as a wedding venue. While this is not breaking news–The Arboretum started opening it's doors to couples last fall– it's certainly exciting news. And a fitting reminder for Earth Day!

We looked into using NC Arboretum as a venue last year. I was so disappointed to learn that they did not accommodate weddings. But things change, and after a long approval process, the State of North Carolina has approved the use of the NC Arboretum as a wedding venue, The state found that weddings help it meet its mission to connect people to plants, educate people about the environment, and generate revenue for the facilities. Think of it, the Arboretum has a chance to expose thousands of wedding guests to its mission for appreciating plants and reducing human impact on the environment.  Education is high on the NC Arboretum's list of priorities, especially in terms of reducing carbon footprints.

bridal portrait at NC Arboretum
Image by Two Ring Studios

Only serious eco-chic couples need apply. The NC Arboretum requires that weddings it hosts be green. As a matter of fact, a a part of their venue contract couples must follow green guidelines for limiting consumable products, limiting the guest lists to between 50 and 150 people, and using organically grown and natural products. The NC Arboretum states that, "all floral decorations, candles, tables and chairs, and catering must demonstrate a sustainable carbon footprint reduction." To this end, "all paper products must be recyclable [and] every effort must be made by the caterer to reduce waste and use organic food products."

Luckily for western North Carolina residents, Asheville has it's share of organically-minded businesses. Short Street Cakes uses fresh, all natural ingredients. Jodi makes a serious commitment to using locally produced ingredients whenever possible. Katie over at Lady Luck Flower Farm is a local organic flower grower. Janet at The Enchanted Florist will use  Lady Luck Flowers; you can request that all of your flowers be local. If you are a DIY bride/couple, you can pick your own flowers.

Quilt Garden at the NC Arboretum
Image from Flatbrush Gardener

Really though, how many flowers will you need here. An added bonus of getting married at the NC Arboretum is you don't have to send much on decorations. You will be surrounded by thousands of blooms and plants. The exhibits will also keep your guests entertained.

The NC Arboretum offers green buildings, recycling services, H2O conservation, and lights and PA rental upon request. You have to provide your own table and chair rentals, and no tents are allowed.

A few things you should know:

  • Your guest list must be between 50 and 150 people. No huge weddings!
  • Only beer, wine and champagne may be served
  • Absolutely no smoking is allowed on the grounds
  • You must comply with NC marriage laws, meaning no same-sex commitment ceremonies.
  • The NC Arboretum offers wedding site tours every Tuesday at 3PM

Gratuitous money saving blurb for these trying economic times: By limiting your guest list, scaling back on decorations, and serving only beer and wine, you can save a bunch of money while helping to take care of the planet. Happy Earth Day budget-minded brides!!!!

Looking for inspiration and eye candy? Check out Erin and Adam's Real Wedding at Asheville Event Company.