Being environmentally friendly is not only applicable to everyday life but it’s also important to reflect this awareness on what is one of the most important days of your life. Incorporating green elements to weddings have been increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. You’ve heard it before – weddings are 60 billion dollar industry every year in the U.S., which leaves a lot of room for waste.
There’s no need to have a bigger budget or sacrifice what you want in order to have an eco-friendly wedding. There are countless resources at our disposal nowadays to plan a beautiful eco-friendly wedding. Whether simply you’re changing one thing or planning a fully green wedding, every little bit counts. As with planning any type of wedding, it’s important to flexible and creative. You’ll be glad that your celebrations have actually benefited your community and beyond.
Instead of opting for a lavish hotel wedding, why not go for an outdoor venue in a public garden, vineyard, beach, farm, or your own backyard? Rustic, outdoor weddings are not only very trendy, but they also cut down on utilities costs and waste. If you’re afraid that weather issues will be a problem or have you heart set on an indoor wedding, then check and see if your venue is environmentally responsible. You can also consider having your ceremony and reception at the same venue to cut down on travel, which many guests will also appreciate.
Like we said, the dyes and materials that goes into your wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses, and suits present an environmental cost. Buying off-the-rack means that the material was mass-produced in toxic quantities in developing countries and that the unsold inventory was likely wasted. Instead, try going custom or wear that beautiful vintage gown passed down from another bride in your family. Not only do these heirlooms hold sentimental value, they can also be altered to suit your own unique taste as well. Donating bridesmaids dresses to your local Salvation Army after the ceremony is another way for women and girls who don’t have the money to spend on a special occasion dress to enjoy it for their wedding or prom.
Photo Credit: Kinsley Taylor Photography
Flowers are integral elements to every wedding but commercial flowers have very negative impacts on the environment. They’re often sprayed with chemicals and pesticides, which may cause illness for the workers, and transported across the country or even from another country. You can ask your local florist what flowers are in season and grown regionally to try to incorporate those into your wedding instead. Or better yet, cut down on the floral décor or DIY your own bouquets from flowers found at your local farmer’s market. Use potted plants for your centerpieces so that you can plant them in your garden after your wedding.
The amount of paper used for invitations in the U.S. yearly can cover the entire island of Manhattan! Invitations made of recycled paper is not only an obvious way to reduce environmental costs for your wedding, but they’re extremely beautiful too – and perfectly fitting for a rustic themed wedding. If you want to go a step further, you can reduce printing costs by hand-writing part of your invitations or even go all digital. Many invitations now can also be planted so your guests can expect a beautiful bloom after their RSVP!
Food & Drinks
Talk to your caterer beforehand to come up with a menu with organic ingredients that are sourced locally. Try going for a vegetarian starter or even go for vegetarian for your entire menu, as animal agriculture is a significant contributor to environmental degradation. Also, ask your caterer to donate extra food to local shelters or organizations. For the drinks, choose wine with real corks because screw-top bottles are more environmentally harmful to manufacture and a wedding for 100 people is about 36 bottles of wine.
Gifts and Favors
If you feel like you don’t need a registry, why not ask your guests to donate a small sum of money to your favorite charity? On the flip-side, show your guests that instead of giving wedding favors, you’ve made a donation to an environmental organization, hospital, youth development center, or any other cause that you believe in. Alternatively, you can register on charity registries, or websites that specialize in gifts made in developing countries.