Your Big Fat Green Wedding

by Beth Hurtubise

Eco aspects are a growing trend in modern weddings. You may think that, in general, the big parties that surround weddings create unnecessary waste, but brides and bridegrooms alike are doing their best to keep the environment top of mind throughout every step of the wedding process.

Venue – Survey where most of your guests are coming from and check out nearby venues. This will cut down on fuel emissions spent driving and flying in for the big day. The obvious eco-choice is an outdoor wedding. This automatically requires less electricity and water than conventional venues like hotels. Some popular outdoor venues include parks, gardens, farms, hilltops and beaches. If you’re set on an indoor wedding, look for an energy-efficient hotel that recycles and provides biodegradable products. Check out the Green Hotels Association to get you started.

Stationery – In the past, engaged couples have sent out paper engagement announcements, save the dates, wedding shower invitations, bachelor/bachelorette party invitations, wedding invitations and thank you cards. Now, with internet in practically every home, some of these can be accomplished through evites, emails or a wedding website. It’s still important to have mail invitations for the big day, as well as thank you cards after the fact, but the eco-minded can keep these simple, yet formal, by including fewer pieces of paper and envelopes in the invite. In addition, there are many recycled paper options that are every bit as tasteful and fancy as ever. The Knot recommends 100-percent recycled paper from

Flowers – Did you know that many flower companies fly their florals in from across the country or even overseas? Make sure the flowers you order come from relatively nearby to avoid excess transportation. DIYers can forget the fresh flowers all together by creating paper flower bouquets out of recycled paper. Another option is using an alternative for centerpieces, such as individual cakes that serve as the table’s dessert, candles to take home afterwards or give as a gift to those involved in the wedding, or potted plants that the married couple can later plant in their garden or yard.

Food – Go as far as you’re comfortable with this. Some couples choose an organic, vegan menu, but this may not fit your palate or budget. If you don’t want to go that far, look for a caterer who uses only locally grown food. At the very least, work with your caterer to donate any extra food to a nearby shelter to cut down on waste.

Clothing – Start your search for the perfect wedding dress in your mother’s basement. Getting her dress altered to fit your body and style will save materials, not to mention bundles of money. If that’s a no-go, visit vintage dress shops for previously owned wedding and bridesmaid dresses. Check out to buy (or sell) everything from dresses to jewelry to shoes and even groomsmen accessories directly from their previous owner. You can also invite your bridesmaids to wear a dress they already own by choosing a common color or length and not insisting on matching styles.

The most important thing to keep in mind when planning an eco-wedding is not to get carried away with the promise of sparkly new things. Keep your eyes out for any and all previously owned and DIY opportunities. And don’t forget to add magazines like Eco-Beautiful Weddings to your wedding research stack.

We’d love to hear how you cut eco-corners at your wedding. Or at a wedding you attended as a guest. Leave your suggestions in the comments section below!

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