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Neil Warren and his fiancee

Green is the new white - when it comes to tying the knot

Anyone who is considering saying “I do” in the next few months might want to consider following in the footsteps of South West Tourism’s Sustainable Tourism Manager, Neil Warren, who ties the knot this summer.

The couple, determined to practise what Neil preaches in South West England, where there are now over 200 businesses signed up to the Green Tourism Business Scheme, have planned their nuptials with the colour green in mind.

Here are some of the ideas Neil and his fiancée came up with for their big day:

1. Cutting their carbon to church – Neil is taking advantage of the church’s proximity to a canal and arriving with his Best Man, Master of Ceremonies and Head Usher by Canadian canoe. (This is on the promise to the bride that there will be no capsizing!)

2. Alternative Accommodation – Neil is recommending plenty of local, independent accommodation to friends and family. One recommendation is Larkbeare Grange – a five-star, Silver Green Tourism Business Scheme award winner: “It’s great to recommend places to stay that will not only offer high quality but a flavour of the local area.”

3. A Worldwide Wedding – As well as the standard department store list Neil chose to offer one of the increasingly popular ‘alternative gift lists’ which fund projects in the developing world. Fair-trade products will also be a feature.

Fruit juices, coffee, tea, red wine and, even most of the ingredients of the wedding cake will benefit producers around the world. Neil adds: “Having been fortunate enough to stay with a Costa Rican coffee farmer and his family and seen first-hand the difference that fair trade makes, it’s great to feel that our big day could benefit them too. I’ll even be wearing my fair-trade socks!”

4. Eat the View – A reception venue was chosen for its commitment to using local food suppliers which stretches all the way through the menu – even a West Country cream tea for dessert, West Country fudge (as an after-dinner alternative to chocolate) and, to finish, a West Country cheeseboard. The happy couple have arranged for this to be washed down with fruit juices, white wine and even some “Devon Bubbly” (Ashridge Vintage Cider) for the toasts.

5. Travelling Lightly – With guests gathering from near and far, and a honeymoon to follow, the miles soon mount up. To minimise the impact, the carbon emissions have been estimated and will be offset through Climate Care. And rather than jet-off, the train will take the strain for the honeymoon (although the destination remains top secret!).

For more information on hotels, B&BS, party venues, restaurants and attractions in South West England that are accredited by the Green Tourism Business Scheme, and ideas for green holidays in the South West, visit www.visitsouthwest.co.uk/feelgood