Around 2.3 million couples wed every year in the US. That breaks down to almost 6,200 weddings a day! Fortunately for the environment, “green” weddings are on the rise. With wedding season quickly approaching, we put together a list of 10 tips for planning an eco-friendly wedding that will please you, your guests, and Mother Nature!
- E–RSVP. If it’s not online, does it even exist? If you’re looking to save time, money, and the environment, consider creating a wedding website that includes a tab for guests to RSVP online. This will eliminate the extra RSVP card, envelope, and stamps that you would have needed for a snail mail response. For invitations and save the dates, be sure to use recycled paper to cut down on waste.
- Think local. Set the tone of your green wedding by choosing an eco-friendly location. This doesn’t just include outdoor venues! If you prefer to be indoors, look for venues such as art museums or community-owned spaces that will donate part of your deposit to a good cause. When booking a caterer, florist, and DJ or band, try to utilize local vendors. This will help cut down on travel emissions and will give you the option to request locally grown, organic items.
- Something old—but new to you! Finding the perfect wedding dress is an exciting part of wedding planning. This doesn’t have to mean, however, that the dress you say “yes” to is brand new. Consider updating your mother’s wedding dress, or check out an amazing organization called Brides Against Breast Cancer. BABC’s Nationwide Tour of Gowns bridal shows provide brides-to-be with an opportunity to find their dream gown from a selection of hundreds of new, and lovingly worn, name brand and designer wedding dresses. If your heart is set on wearing a custom gown, consider finding a designer who uses sustainable fabrics.
- D(eco)rate: There are so many fun and beautiful ways to repurpose old items to use for decorations for your eco-friendly wedding. If you’re a wine-o at heart, put discarded wine corks to use as place card and table number holders. Old maps, sheet music, or recycled paper can be used to create paper garland, and vintage drawers, plates, and vases can be used for displaying appetizers and desserts. Get creative and refer to Pinterest for inspiration!
- Say “I do” care: Why not make your wedding ring a symbol of your love and commitment to each other—and the environment? For eco-friendly rings, look for recycled gold and ask about the origin of your stone. No blood diamonds allowed!
- Flowers with staying power: Instead of the usual floral arrangement centerpiece, use potted plants that guests can take home. They will be thrilled to take a part of your special day with them. For an even more natural look, forego flowers altogether and use pinecones, stones, or driftwood to decorate your tables.
- Return the favor: Favors are often left behind or easily forgotten by guests. If you have a cause or environmental organization that you feel passionately about, donate the money you would have spent on favors instead. If you do choose to include favors at your celebration, there are several eco-friendly options that will even save you money. Recycle canning jars and fill them with fresh jam or organic honey for a “Love is Sweet!” vibe. Or, have guests “Plant a Memory” of your special day by sending them home with packets of seeds or seedlings in burlap sacks. Additional tip: instead of handing out rice or bubbles for guests to use at the end of your ceremony, use birdseed as confetti instead!
- Food for thought: As mentioned earlier, try to use a local caterer who will use organic and locally grown produce. Not only will this help to support your community, this will also ensure that your food is as fresh as possible. Don’t forget to offer plenty of vegetarian and vegan options! You can also designate specific bins for compost and recycling for guests or caterers to discard food and trash.
REGISTRY AND HONEYMOON:
- Gifts that keep on giving. When creating your bridal registry, try to pay attention to the materials that are used to make each item and when possible, choose those that are made with recycled or renewable resources. If you’re looking for a unique registry option, check out SoKind—a registry service that encourages the giving of homemade gifts, charitable donations, secondhand goods, experiences and more.
- Practice safe ecotourism. Before jetting off on your honeymoon, do a little research to ensure that your trip is as eco-friendly as possible. “Green” Hotels Association is a great resource that brings together hotels interested in environmental issues. The International Ecotourism Society is another great organization that is committed to promoting responsible tourism practices and will assist you in your effort to make your travels more sustainable.
For additional tips and ideas to help you with your planning, be sure to check out our Eco-Friendly Wedding Pinterest Board!