Congratulations! You’ve just gotten engaged to the love of your life, and bliss, joy, and excitement have ensued. Life is good. Then, before you know it, reality sets in. No, no, not the reality that you’re about to commit to spending the rest of your life with the same person, but the reality that a wedding is perhaps the most stressful, overwhelming, and crazy event you will ever have to plan in your LIFE!
With all of these wedding details looming, it can be easy to forget about your commitment to the environment (I mean, seriously, who is thinking about the environment when they have a to-do list longer than a college textbook and only 6 months until the big day?!) But, we all know how important it is to keep our environment in mind no matter how busy our lives may seem, so I’ve compiled a list of great and easy ways to keep your wedding eco-friendly while remaining the beautiful day of your dreams.
Use Tree Free or Recycled Invitations. Both the invitation and the envelope can be made from Tree Free or recycled paper, which eliminates the use of virgin wood fiber. Also, be sure to use papers that aren’t metallic or plastic-coated, as this makes them hard to recycle.
Heart Not Set on Paper Invites? Send them out electronically! This option allows you to include more than what is traditionally on a paper invitation, like links to local hotels and restaurants, interactive maps of the location, and photos of the bride and groom.
Forego the Wrapping Paper. Many gift registries give your guests the option to forego the wrapping paper. I chose to not give my guests the option at all, and to have all gifts sent unwrapped in order to save the paper.
Choose Something Borrowed. Reuse and repurpose a family gown and/or suit instead of purchasing it new. This is also a great way to incorporate family memorabilia into your wedding (and no matter what she says, your Mom would be THRILLED if you wore her gown).
Use Locally Grown Floral Arrangements. Using local, seasonal, and organic flowers supports your local community and avoids the use of flowers sprayed with pesticides and fungicides. You can also work with your florist to design simple arrangements that use less flowers all together.
Speaking of Floral Arrangements… Reuse them! Have someone take the flowers from the wedding venue to the reception venue. You can also work with companies like Bloomerent, that actually allow you to share floral arrangements with another bride getting married the same weekend. Even better, decorate with potted plants and flowers that can continue to grow. My personal favorite idea is to donate the flowers to a hospital or rest home at the end of the day.
Do not Over-cater. This is a tough one because most hosts would prefer to have an over-abundance of food than not enough. This causes a lot of food to be wasted at large events, so calculate your food needs carefully. If there are leftovers, ask the caterers to package, freeze, and compost wherever possible. To take your caterer a step further, ask them to shop at farmers markets and order as much of the food as possible directly from local farms.
Found on stylemepretty.com
Smart Disposables. If you plan to use disposables (cutlery, napkins, plates, etc.), opt for Tree Free and petro-free options instead of virgin wood fiber and plastic. If you use compostable products, ask your venue to have the trash composted so the full life-cycle is complete.
Transport Wisely. Have the ceremony and the reception at the same place, or provide eco-friendly transportation between them. Carpooling, renting an alternative energy bus or trolley, or taking public transit if available will not only make things easier for your guests, but it will also get them to and from your celebration while minimizing emissions.
Trash to Treasure. A natural, organic-looking wedding is not only eco-friendly, it can look beautiful! Consider asking your power company to give you an old wire spool that they plan to throw away and use it as your cake table. Reuse old vases that are sitting around the house to hold your floral arrangements or water for the tables. Not everything needs to be new to look gorgeous!
Found on weddingchicks.com
A Bridesmaid’s Dream. Buy something you and your bridesmaids will wear again. There is no need for your Bridesmaids to buy a gown that they will wear for 5 hours and then throw in the back of their closet, never to be seen again. Choose a practical dress for the girls that they can’t wait to wear over and over again! Try to do the same for the groomsmen.
Recycled Jewelry. Most brides and grooms purchase gifts for their bridal party, and many times they choose a piece of jewelry to show their appreciation for their closest friends and family. Many designers make beautiful pieces by recycling old, unwanted jewelry and reshaping it into a whole new piece.
Light the Way. Lighting candles is a great way to set the mood for an evening event. Choosing beeswax or soy-based candles eliminates the use of paraffin, which is a petroleum byproduct.
Giveaway Green. Giveaways for your guests often end up being a wasted trinket. Great giveaway alternatives include place cards made of seeded paper so your guests have something they can plant at home, organic honey in a mini, reusable honey jar, or let your guests take home the flowers from your arrangements!
Found on blog.planetshoes.com
Lasting Memories. Digital photography offers a paperless and chemical-free way to capture your event, including being able to view online proofs before deciding which ones to print. Green photographers may also use rechargeable batteries, non-toxic inks, 100% post-consumer waste paper, and LED and CFL bulbs. Ask potential photographers about their green practices to see if they are the right fit for your values.
As you can see, you need not sacrifice the elegance of your wedding to keep it eco-friendly. There are many ways for couples to host the green wedding of their dreams!
Have more green wedding ideas of your own? Add them to the comments section below!