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Learn how to green up your wedding

Planning a celebration for an upcoming shower, rehearsal or wedding? Please your guests and the planet by taking part in the latest party planning trend -- eco-friendly parties and events.

More and more party hosts are delighting their guests and finding ways to "green" their celebrations. According to a survey conducted by MyPunchbowl -- one of the leading party planning sites on the Web -- 94 percent of hosts are eco-conscious when planning events.

One way to start your eco-friendly party planning on the right foot is to use online invitations. Online invitations have come a long way and are widely accepted for most celebrations. Some sites allow hosts to design their own online invitation or save the date notice using paperless "papers" and "ribbons" that look like the real thing.

"New technology has closed the gap between traditional paper invites and what's now possible online," says Matt Douglas, founder of MyPunchbowl.

Whether you are hosting an intimate holiday dinner party, a surprise birthday party or a large wedding shower, the experts at MyPunchbowl recommend these tips to make your next party a green one no matter what the occasion:

* Decorations.

Bring your party to life by decorating with live plants and flowers. Expensive bouquets are not required to make a statement. Simply use small vases with one or two flowers in each for an elegant effect. Use locally grown or organic plants and flowers to keep it eco-friendly. For an added touch, let your guests take home the flowers or plants when they leave.

* Lighting.

Use natural lighting whenever possible. If you can have your party during the day, take advantage of the outdoors or natural light. If your party is in the evening, decorate with candles. Use soy or organic beeswax candles since traditional paraffin wax candles are derived from petroleum and can emit harmful toxins.

* Food and Drinks.

Buy food from local growers and farmers markets. It is often less expensive than the supermarket and it supports your local economy. Try to incorporate organic products into your party menu.

* Glassware and Flatware.

Use glassware and silverware instead of disposable plastic cups and utensils. You may have a bit more cleanup at the end (thank goodness for the dishwasher) but you'll feel great not adding to the enormous amount of paper and plastic that ends up in landfills. For a green party favor, buy glasses that fit your occasion such as wine or margarita glasses and decorate them with the name of each guest. Not only will your guests know which glass is theirs, but also they will go home with a fun party favor they can reuse.

* Recycle.

Set up recycling areas at the party for cans, plastic cups, and other recyclable items so your guests know how to dispose of these items properly. This will also make your clean up a lot easier.

For more tips and information, visit www.MyPunchbowl.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent