green

Eco-Friendly Wedding Ideas
Having a more eco-friendly wedding helps reduce our carbon footprint.

Using used goods, having an outdoor ceremony, and using recyclables are a good way to have a more eco-friendly wedding.

One environmentally friendly philosophy has entered the wedding industry. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint during your special day, you don’t have to give up the vision you have for your wedding. Here are some tips to help you find ways to turn your ceremony and reception into an eco-friendly wedding.

  1. Choose an outdoor venue where the sun can provide the lighting. Many outdoor venues have the modern conveniences of toilets and sinks, making a more comfortable atmosphere for your guests.
  2. If an outdoor venue is not an option, hold the ceremony and reception during the day in a venue that offers natural lighting. Host all the festivities during the day to avoid having to use electricity.
  3. Also, hold your ceremony and reception in the same place. This will reduce the fuel emissions from guests.
  4. Look for a venue that is environmentally friendly.
  5. Print up wedding invitations on recycled paper, but instead of multiple inserts in the envelope, send your guests to your wedding website for more information. Go paperless with save-the-date notices.
  6. Buy seasonal flowers from local vendors. Use potted plants or topiaries as centerpieces. You could also use silk flowers for your bouquet and decorate with items that can be reused later. There are also many options for decorations that can be found in your garden, such as twigs, moss and ivy.
  7. Rent hybrid vehicles or use a horse and carriage to arrive and leave the wedding venue, if you must have a special moment.
  8. Rent linen napkins instead of paper. Ask for glass tabletops and forego tablecloths.
  9. Choose caterers that source from local farms and dairies. You can also serve local wines, champagnes and beers. Ask your caterer about its green philosophy. Does the company use eco-friendly cleaning products and is it careful with its paper consumption? Your cake baker should also use organic products and source locally as much as possible.
  10. Avoid sturgeon caviar or Chilean sea bass and other threatened species.
  11. Choose a honeymoon location that keeps your green vision in mind. Travel in eco-friendly methods and look for a hotel that is designed to be environmentally friendly.

What to Wear for an Eco-Friendly Wedding

For the bridal party’s attire, go eco-friendly by reusing garments. Many brides wear a gown from their mom or grandma, but if that is not an option, shop at a vintage clothing or consignment store. You can also rent gowns, much like you rent tuxedoes. If you want your own dress, look for one made of sustainable fabrics, such as silk, hemp or organic cotton.

Instead of choosing specific bridal party dresses, allow the bridesmaids to wear dresses they already own or give just a few guidelines to allow them to choose a dress that can be worn again. Your bridal party can show off their own style while finding dresses they love.

For the groom, instead of wearing a tux that might never come out of the closet again, invest in a good suit that can be used for other special occasions. Allow the groom’s attendants to wear nice pants, button-down shirts and matching vests instead of jackets.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

You might have to ask your vendors what they are doing to reduce their carbon footprint. Find ways to reuse items from your eco-friendly wedding. Shop at flea markets or antique stores for decorations. Ask your decorator or designer about what he or she already has in inventory. Talk to your friends about reusing wedding decorations. It might take a little more effort on your part to be environmentally conscious, but it can also make for a beautiful wedding that matches your philosophy.

Seven Tips for an Environmentally Friendly Wedding

Young couple enjoying an environmentally friendly setting

Everyone should have the wedding of their dreams, and more and more couples are choosing to have the festivities be environmentally friendly as well. Even if you are not super green, there are some simple, yet chic, ways to lighten the carbon footprint of your big day.

Buy an Ethical Engagement Ring

An ethical engagement ring is constructed of recycled materials and conflict-free diamonds from legitimate sources that have not been used to fund wars in African countries. These rings may even come in a box that has been locally made. Two companies that offer ethical engagement rings are:

Brilliant Earth has very high standards for the materials used in its jewelry and incorporates many Canadian diamonds in the designs. It also donates 5 percent of profits to African communities in need.

Do Amore offers a wide selection of lovely engagement rings made from 100 percent recycled metals and conflict-free diamonds. It has partners in third world countries who build water wells, and the company pledges clean water for life for two people for every ring purchased.

Another option is an antique engagement ring. If you are lucky enough to have a family heirloom, it can be resized by a jeweler if it does not fit. Purchasing an antique ring is also a great alternative because no new metal or stones will be mined in order to make it.

Use Online Invitations

Besides the actual wedding, it is common for friends and family to host other parties in connection with a wedding. This can add up to lots of paper. Sending online invitations will reduce waste and save money. If you really want to mail invitations, consider having them printed on recycled paper. The paper quality is constantly improving, and there are many options.

Wear an Heirloom

Some brides choose to wear their grandmother, mother or sister’s dress. If you have access to a family wedding garment that you want to wear on your big day, it can be a lovely way to add special meaning to the occasion, in addition to being ecologically conscious. Hiring a local seamstress who uses non-chemically treated, sustainable fabrics like organic cotton is another way to do it. Avoiding a dress that may be manufactured in foreign countries, under unknown circumstances, can help ensure what you wear is socially mindful.

Go Local

Instead of choosing exotic flowers from a far-flung destination, consider using what is in season and grown near the location of your nuptials. The same principle applies to the food you serve. Locally sourced ingredients can be fresher and better tasting than lobster tails flown in from the East Coast, unless your wedding happens to be in Maine.

Embrace Nature

Hosting your reception outdoors, rather than in a hotel ballroom, can be more visually stunning. It can also lower electricity costs and reduce the number of discarded decorations.

Skip the Party Favors

It is estimated that as many as 70 percent of wedding favors are left at the reception by guests. If you feel you must hand them out, consider giving something that supports a local business or a fair trade product such as a jewelry made by African women. These pieces are available online and from some arts co-ops.

Make a Charitable Contribution

The supremely socially conscious may even opt to skip a formal wedding altogether and donate the money they would have spent to a worthy cause. Another other option is to ask guests to make a donation to a charity you support rather than buying a gift. These approaches are definitely not right for everyone.

A wedding is one of life’s milestone moments, and the union will hopefully last a lifetime. Considering the way your nuptials will impact the environment can have a long-lasting impact as well.