Eco-friendly weddings are becoming more and more popular, especially among millenials. Couples are having 'green' bridal showers and using recycled décor, and are constantly looking for more ways to be environmentally conscious when it comes to their wedding day. And why shouldn't they? The average wedding produces 400 pounds of garbage and 63 tons of CO2!
Throughout this blog we will give you some tips for having an eco-friendly wedding, that your guests (and the environment) will thank you for.
The biggest eco-friendly impact to the environment would be conscious of where you hold your wedding. If all of your guests have to fly cross-country to see you get married, well, then your wedding is not eco-friendly. And getting married outdoors is the most environmentally-friendly option since the sun will provide your lighting and you will not use much electricity. You can also ask your venue if they recycle or compost.
Again, having a local wedding that is close to your guests will cut down on gas emissions. But your guests will still have to travel to attend your wedding. If you are providing a transportation service for your guests, use an eco-friendly car service like DrivenEco or Eco-Limo.
For the couple, how about arriving in style in a horse-drawn carriage? Not only is this a super-stylish way to make an entrance, but you will not be using gas!
Ask your caterers if they can provide vegetarian and organic entrees. More and more couples want local, farm-to-table food served at their wedding. Also consider what you are dining on. If your location doesn't provide dishes, consider renting them to avoid using disposable plates.
Couples spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on stationary. Everything from bridal shower invitations to Save-the-Dates to wedding rehearsal invitations to wedding invitations. And don't forget about envelopes and postage. You can do electronic invitations for some of these events- just make sure you have all of your guests correct email addresses. And follow up with a phone call to any guests who may not be tech-savvy.
If you must print, use recycled paper. It's an easy way to create green invitations or ceremony programs. Ask your stationary vendor if they can print on recycled paper or recycle the leftover scraps. You can also create a wedding Web site where your guests can find directions, reply, and find out hotel information. This will cut down on the information you will need to provide with your invitations.
For your flowers, choose a local, organic florist to arrange your centerpieces and bouquets. For a summer wedding, use farmers' market finds to create bouquet and table arrangements. A huge trend right now is to donate your floral centerpieces after your wedding. There are non-profit organizations who will come to your venue, pick up your florals, and take them to a nursing home or hospital to brighten up someone's day. This is a great way to get the most shelf life out of your florals.
Still have your mom's or a loved ones wedding gown? Maybe it's not your style. But you can have it to have remade into a new, trendy dress. Or, you can use elements of the dress for your accessories. You can use your mom's fabric from her dress to make your belt. Or you can wear your grandmother's veil instead of buying a new one. I used fabric from my mom's wedding dress to hold my bouquet of flowers together.
After the wedding is over, are you ever going to wear that wedding dress again? If not, recycle it! If you want to donate it to a worthy organization, think about donating the dress to Brides for a Cause. Brides for a Cause is a non-profit that collects and resells wedding dressing for various charitable organizations. You can also donate to Brides Across America, which gives free wedding dresses to military brides who are facing deployment or financial hardships.
Choosing local vendors is a great way to keep the transportation emissions low, and support your local community. Ask your wedding vendors what they can do to be more environmentally conscious for you. Caterers can make the most impact with the services they provide. Also some wedding professionals are certified in green weddings.
Did you know that there are a ton of environmentally-friendly hotels? Also, make sure that you block off hotel rooms that are close to your venue-- this will cut down on travel.
This is where you can get really creative. Donations made to your favorite charity in lieu of favors is a big trend right now. Or you can give seeds to be planted, or small potted plants or succulents.
Decor is another area where you can get really creative. Vases can be filled with discarded wine corks. This looks chic, and it will go with most color schemes. You can put eco-friendly floral arrangements or terrariums in household items, like clear, used light bulbs. When making signs, use repurposed wood.
When it comes to choosing a ring, make sure to use jewelers that are green-friendly. More and more, jewelers are using recycled gold and fair-labor gemstones. To make sure you are not purchasing a "blood diamond," ask your jeweler about the origin of the stone.
Pay close attention to where items are made and what materials are sourced. Consider items like organic bedding, cloth shopping bags, reusable bamboo plates and natural kitchen and bath products. If you'd rather forego a traditional registry altogether, consider asking for a charitable donation to go towards a green organization or register for part of your honeymoon in lieu of traditional gifts. Ask guests to not wrap gifts.
When you're planning your honeymoon, keep in mind the practice of ecotourism, which is defined by The International Ecotourism Society as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." Check out their Web site for ideas and sources to plan an eco-friendly honeymoon.
If your wedding isn't 100% eco-friendly, don't get discouraged! Take pride in knowing that you are doing your best to protect the environment. If you get stuck or need some more ideas on how to have a green wedding, contact a wedding planner! And don't forget to have fun!