Thalia Event Design is a local event planning company that keeps things green and local when planning events big or small.

Creating Thalia Event Design

Hollie Dunn, the owner and designer for Thalia Event Design, started her company in February 2011. Dunn says that there was a niche in the market for sustainably-planned events and for an event planner that supports local businesses. The goal is to limit transportation emissions and keep money flowing within the local economy in an effort to create more jobs in Arizona, Dunn says.

“Our events are designed to exceed all of our client’s expectations and requests while also being as close to zero waste as possible,” Dunn says. “We look at where items are sourced from and where they will end up in an effort to reduce waste; this entails the incorporation of recycling and composting programs for event refuse and incorporating reusable décor whenever possible.”

Thalia Event Design planned an event in October 2011 for the Environmental Fund for Arizona that was completely sustainable from beginning to end.

“The food was all made from locally grown, organic ingredients and was prepared and served by a locally-based catering company; the flowers used in the centerpieces were also sustainably grown and provided through a local florist,” Dunn says. “The venue itself was a historic building owned by the city of Tempe with an outdoor garden patio that, in and of itself, decreased the event’s energy consumption, and all fees paid to rent the venue were donated to help a Tempe-based, non-profit organization.”

Dunn adds that what she loves most about event planning with Thalia Event Design is helping them to create the event of which they dreamed while also contributing to a cleaner, greener environment.

Sustainable Doesn’t Mean Substitute

When it comes to making an event memorable, Dunn says that the most important aspect to focus on is the food.

“Make sure it’s amazing and that there is plenty of it,” Dunn says. “Guests will always remember an event that had plenty of amazing food, and you can be sure that they will also remember an event that did not.”

When it comes to a client requesting a certain type of food, flower or any other amenity that will make a client’s event just the way they want it, Dunn looks for sustainable or local alternatives, never asking the client to give up a desired aspect of the event to be sustainable.

“If a client wants to serve filet mignon, I would never tell them that it isn’t advisable due to the environmental damages that arise from the process of procuring the filets,” Dunn says. “I would instead look into sourcing filets that are locally raised, grass fed, and/or free range. This way we can plan for sustainable solutions to our client’s requests.”

How Thalia Event Design Keeps Events Sustainable

When it comes to meeting the goals of local and sustainable some items are easier to procure than others, but the most important point of creating a sustainable event is focusing on waste reduction.

Dunn says that this is achieved by eliminating individually packaged drinks, using a pitcher of water instead of individual bottles, providing recycling and composting bins at the event and communicating that to guests before or during the event; and if an item will be inevitably thrown out after an event, making sure it’s recyclable is always priority. Thalia Event Design always focuses on where an item comes from and where it will end up, reducing waste significantly events, Dunn adds.

But it isn’t always simple finding sustainable and local items; this includes disposable dinnerware alternative to china or glassware.

“Sometimes it isn’t always possible to get everything that’s needed for an event from a supplier that fits both the local and green criteria, and when that happens we compare the available purchasing options to determine what choice best meets the needs of the event, the environment and the economy,” Dunn says.

Making Your Own Event Sustainable

These tips are provided by Thalia Event Design and Hollie Dunn for making your get-together local and sustainable:

1. Procure all of your meal ingredients from a local market. Farmers markets are great for this.

2. If you need to, hire local vendors. This automatically lends itself to being green as less transportation is involved in getting items from Point A to Point B, and you’ll be sustainable keeping money in the local economy.

3. Compost and recycle all of your event’s refuse, and purchase your event products accordingly to ensure they can be either composted or recycled. Planning ahead is what it’s all about when making your event sustainable.

For more information about Thalia Event Design, visit