Eco-friendly and green are hot concepts in weddings these days. Even couples who consider themselves fairly conventional can still make a few simple changes to make their wedding more earth friendly. Check out these five easy ways to make your wedding more eco-friendly and protect the planet while planning your celebration.
One: Use Less Paper. Think about how much paper is used in a traditional wedding: save the date cards, invitations, response cards, double envelopes, bridal shower and rehearsal dinner invitations, programs, menus, escort cards, table numbers, gift wrap…the list goes on and on! It is actually pretty easy to reduce the amount of paper you use for your wedding. Skip the response cards, save the dates, and double envelopes. Write the reception menu on a chalkboard, bistro style. Wrap the bridesmaid jewelry gifts in pretty scarves instead of wrapping paper (plus the scarves will be nice bonus gifts in addition to the bridesmaid jewelry!). And for the essentials like the wedding invitations, opt for recycled paper or an alternative fiber paper like hemp or bamboo.
Two: Think Beyond Cut Flowers. Every wedding needs beautiful decorations. That does not mean that you necessarily need to buy hundreds or even thousands of cut flowers that will be thrown away at the end of the reception. For the centerpieces, consider potted flowering seasonal plants that can be planted in the ground after your wedding. Little pots of herbs displayed in groups in the middle of the table could be not only eco-friendly centerpieces, but can also be taken home as the wedding favors. Grow them yourself from organic seeds to save money. If you do opt for cut flowers, choose organic locally grown blossoms whenever possible.
Three: Serve Organic or Local Food. Wouldn’t your guests enjoy a wonderful meal made from wholesome fresh ingredients grown without the use of pesticides? And wouldn’t they prefer a flavorful piece of free-range chicken that is not full of hormones or antibiotics? Food that is raised or grown with care is both better for the environment and tastier. Local produce and meat are also good options, even if they are not organic. At least you will be supporting local farmers and reducing the amount of fuel used to transport the food from the farm to your reception table. Consider working with local farmers to produce something special like farmhouse cheddar or goat’s milk soap for the wedding favors.
Four: “Green” Up Your Gown. No, this doesn’t mean walking down the aisle looking like a leprechaun! The idea is to avoid purchasing a bridal gown that is created from man-made fabrics and made in a sweatshop. The most eco-friendly option is to wear a vintage wedding dress, whether it is a family heirloom or one found in a second-hand shop. Not only will you be saving resources by re-using an existing item, you will have a unique gown that shows your personal style. For brides who definitely want a new wedding gown, opt for one made from more earth friendly fabrics like organic silk, cotton, or hemp.
Five: Plan a Green Honeymoon. One terrific way to give back to the earth is to go on a volunteer honeymoon. Newlyweds can do all sorts of things, from organic farming to rebuilding nature trails to helping with animal conservation projects. It is a fantastic opportunity to see a part of the world you might otherwise never have experienced, while doing something good. Just be aware that you will probably be responsible for your own airfare and lodging costs, just like you would with a conventional honeymoon. For couples who want a relaxing honeymoon with a reduced impact on the planet, a trip to an eco-lodge is just the thing. They are located in naturally beautiful spots around the globe, and are retreats which focus on conservation and appreciation for the local culture. At the same time, the amenities at many eco-lodges are top-notch, so don’t feel like you will be roughing it as you lounge in solar powered splendor. Isn’t it wonderful when you can green up your wedding without sacrificing a thing?