Naturally Yours: Planning an Organic Affair

Bright Bird PhotographyEveryone wants to do something memorable for their gay wedding, and sometimes hiring the “La Cage” chorus boys feels dated or just isn’t in the budget. One idea that’s gained a lot of traction in recent years is going organic; using foods (and products) that are free of pesticides and artificial substitutes.

I spoke with Jonathan Rollo, chef and owner of Greenleaf Gourmet Chop Shop in Beverly Hills, Century City, and Costa Mesa, about simple ideas to bring an organic touch to your ceremony. And, hey, Jon’s not just a fan of gay weddings, he’s about to have one himself.

“People think of food when they go organic,” says Rollo, “but there are other ways to go. You can get locally grown flowers, and personalized gift bags.” As examples, Rollo talks about making your own candles—using using local beeswax—and cooking organic carrot cakes, chocolate-chip cookies, even jam. Rollo says that most supermarkets offer organic foods, and that if you want to be creative and make candles or jam, it’s easy to find instructions online.

Rollo, whose restaurant has catered many weddings, likes the idea of offering gift-bag items that promote organic products. “I’ve done weddings where goodie bags had discounts to local, organic bakeries or restaurants. It’s another way to encourage people to go green.”

On the beverage front, you can now purchase organic wine, beer, and liquor, and sparkling wines—some of which Rollo says are excellent.

Food is the number-one priority for most organic weddings, and Rollo says you should prepare for a price increase. Once again, it’s not difficult to find organic chicken and meat, and your caterer should be able to guide you. “I would add about three or four dollars per person,” says Rollo, adding that “if the food you want is grown nearby it will be cheaper.”

The great fish debate has never been resolved, says Rollo, because “You can’t control the intake of a fish unless it’s grown in a tank.” While some people object to fish farms as being unnatural, Rollo points out that when you take fish out of its natural environment “you’re stripping the ocean of its habitat and causing damage to the eco-system.”

Desserts are less-complicated, and organic sweets are all the rage. Says Rollo: “Sugar-free cakes and gluten-free cakes are popular, and bakers are easy to find.”

Given my occupation and natural curiosity, I had to ask Rollo about how he was going to handle his own wedding—he’s tying the knot with Barry’s Bootcamp C.O.O. Joey Gonzalez. The couple are planning their October ceremony in Miami, and Rollo’s not handling the food. “We are going to focus on super fresh and local,” says Rollo.

But can a big-time caterer let someone else take over? “I’m just gonna step back and relax and not get involved in the operational stuff. It’s going to be f***ing fabulous.”


David Toussaint is the author of the Gay Couple's Guide to Wedding Planning, Gay and Lesbian Weddings: Planning the Perfect Same-Sex Ceremony, and TOUSSAINT!.