Friday, October 3, 2008

Celebrity Helps Kickoff Green Wedding Giveaway

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist

Who better to launch Clay Hill Farm’s The Green Wedding Giveaway than a celebrity relationship expert?
“When it comes to marriage, I have been quoted as saying don’t do it,” Steven Santagati said during the official kickoff of the unique project at Clay Hill Farms last week, “…because most people are not fully aware of the commitment it takes to make a marriage work for the long haul.
“However, I’ve discovered that people who are aware of matrimonial reality are usually aware of other things as well; safe driving, health, and yes, the environment. So will a couple’s common sense transcend the relationship and carry over into their green practices? I think so.”
Santagati has appeared as a relationship expert on the Today Show, Oprah, Rachael Ray, Fox News, CNBC, VH1, The View, and The Tyra Banks Show. He is the author of “The Manual” and has appeared in more than 70 national and international television commercials.
Clay Hill’s Green Wedding Giveaway is a contest of commitment in which couples are encouraged to explore the parallel of a commitment to each other and a commitment to the earth.
“We’ve always wanted to give a wedding away,” Jennifer Lewis-McShera, founder of the project and daughter of Clay Hill Farm owners Gordon and Donna Lewis, said, and when Clay Hill Farm was one of the first businesses in Southern Maine to be a state certified Environmental Leader, the time seemed right.
The project is looking for couples to come up with creative ways to commit “to each other as well as the earth.” Lewis-McShera said, noting that “green is a process, not an end result.”
She said in putting together the contest entry couples can become aware “of the little things they can do” to help the earth and realize the “little things they do are important.”
The green wedding will be a daytime wedding ceremony and reception at Clay Hill Farm June 21, 2009, that is appropriately the Summer Solstice. Rehearsal dinner, ceremony, catered reception, flowers, hand-painted watercolor invitations, photography, DJ services, live cocktail music, cake, hybrid bridal transportation, spa services, organic beverages, tuxedo rentals, wedding-night suite and honeymoon week…are all part of the Grand Prize package.
Couples are asked to submit a play, a poem, a painting, or a song, along with a two-minute video or a photograph and essay that creatively answers the contest question and demonstrates an understanding of the contest message.
Applications for the giveaway along with contest rules and complete details are available at Engaged couples must complete their online applications and mail their entries on a CD or DVD by Dec. 31.
The top-five couples will be decided by a panel of Clay Hill judges and will be revealed at a bridal fair in Portsmouth Jan 11, 2009. The public will vote and pick the winner on line at The winning couple will be announced February 13, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
In addition to the grand prize, wedding package valued at over $30,000, the top-four couples will be awarded prize packages, and random prizes will be awarded to contestants and voters.
“We are really proud of the Green Wedding Giveaway Contest,” Lewis-McShera said. “It is a great way to give back with a positive message of connectedness and empowerment.
“So much about green today is overwhelming and intimidating. How can we fit in?” she said. “The truth is, we are all green in some way. So, pick your shade and shout it to the world. It’s time to feel good about all that we do, commit to improvement and celebrate all contributions.”
Caption: Steven Santagati, celebrity relationship expert, addresses a crowd at Clay Hill Farms. Jennifer Lewis-McShera, founder of the Green Wedding Giveaway, stands to the right. (Weekly Sentinel photo)