You’re getting married! Congratulations! There’s so much to think about, plan, do, and organize, and so much to stay on top of. We get that, but here’s one more thing to think about: are you planning on having a green, eco-friendly wedding? Because if you’re not, there are plenty of reasons why you should.
Why You Should Have a Green, Eco-Friendly Wedding
The earth needs our help like never before. We need the earth, frankly, and a healthy hospitable earth to boot. So it might startle you to know that the average wedding in the United States produces a staggering 400 to 600 lbs of waste and an average of 62 tons of carbon dioxide! We all have a responsibility to do less damage. This is not as difficult — or as expensive — as you might think!
Tips for Planning an Eco-Friendly Wedding
If you’re not set on a new engagement ring, there are plenty of vintage pre-loved options available. These are beautiful and often really affordable. Maybe these vintage pieces can become your family’s heirlooms!p
If you’ve got your heart set on a new diamond ring, then please consider an ethically sourced diamond. Your diamond is a symbol of love and commitment, and it should be free from violence, exploitation, and environmental devastation. It is possible to buy diamonds that are free from all of those things, and it should be a choice that you actively make.
I know, I know. I love pretty invitations on nice paper as much as you do. Of course I understand all the arguments for going down the paperless route, but to be honest, e-vites (email invitations) don’t do it for me. So what’s an ecologically responsible bride and groom to do? Well, the solution is easy!
You can either use really nice recycled paper on which your print your own designs using our very own eco-friendly ink and toner, or you can choose plantable seed paper! What is seed paper, you ask? Well, it’s paper that you can plant (once you RSVP, of course) and it grows into a beautiful new plant! It doesn’t end up in a landfill, it doesn’t choke the earth, and it becomes a flower, herb, or plant. I don’t know about you, but that’s right up my alley.
Of course, the most obvious solution is for you to re-wear a gown, maybe even your mother’s. But that’s not something that suits us all. Of course, you could work with a seamstress to make her dress more in keeping with your style, but if you wanted to avoid her dress altogether, you have other options. Check out vintage stores, op shops, and consignment stores. There are websites that rent out or sell pre-owned gowns, so those are an option as well.
As for the bridal party, it might be a good idea to give them a color (if you have a color scheme in mind) and let them wear their own clothes. Not only will it allow them to show off their unique styles in flattering clothes that they already love and own, it also makes the most sense for a green wedding.
For most couples, the venue is the biggest decision they will make because they will want to pick one that reflects their personalities, loves, and interests. Getting married outdoors cuts down on energy requirements because the sun provides the lighting. There are many outdoor venues like parks, barns, and gardens that offer modern amenities (such as sinks and toilets). Of course, an outdoor venue doesn’t work for everyone. So in the event that you are choosing an indoor venue, you may want to take other things into consideration. For instance, it makes sense to hold your ceremony and reception in the same place to cut down on travel between venues. Look for venues that specify that they use energy savings and biodegradable products. Check out this site to get started.
Food (not just for the wedding, but in general) is one of the most eco-conscious decisions you will make because so much food accumulates so many air miles as it travels across the globe to get to our plates. In light of this, it makes so much sense to choose a caterer who will work with local producers and create a delicious menu based on local, seasonal ingredients. From your appetizers to your cake, it’s possible to serve food that doesn’t leave a huge carbon footprint.
Additionally, it makes sense to have a buffet and allow guests to serve themselves. When people are served portions that they haven’t picked or handed plates of cake that they didn’t ask for, a lot of that food is wasted. It makes sense to allow people to choose to eat what they want themselves.
More and more brides are choosing to go with alternative bouquets of brooches or jewelry. But if that isn’t your jam, you can either pick your own wild flowers and arrange them into a simple bouquet, or you can go with locally grown flowers. You’ll need to specify what you want with your florist, and choose seasonal flowers depending on what time of the year you’re getting married.
Wedding guests often use wedding favors once and then discard them. Not to mention that most wedding favors come with packaging that do nothing but add to the landfill. I love the idea of giving out thoughtful favors like potted herbs, plants, or succulents, as well as biodegradable seed packets for guests who are flying in to attend your wedding. If you’re choosing to go with an edible favor, you could pick locally manufactured items, such as organic and fair trade chocolate, tea, or coffee. You could even (if you have the time and the inclination) make your own favors, such as jams or sauces in recycled mismatched jars and bottles!
There are eco-friendly options for almost everything you may want to register for, so definitely go down that route for your registry. Keep an eye on where things are made and where they’re sourced from when you’re choosing. Ask questions if you’re unsure. Organic bedding, ethically made clothing, and natural kitchen, bath, and body products are all things you could ask for. Alternatively, you could ask guests to donate to your honeymoon instead.
I hope these ideas have been helpful, and I hope you have a wonderful, green, eco-friendly wedding!
Awanthi Vardaraj lives and writes in the port city of Chennai, in the south of India, where she runs her own small artisanal bakery and keeps a garden full of jasmine plants and herbs that she still cannot name. As a freelance writer, she mostly focuses on food, feminism, travel, mental health, and poverty. She also nurtures a deep love for the Oxford comma and the semicolon. Visit her website at www.awanthi.com and follow her on Twitter at AwanthiVardaraj.
Have you ever thought of having an eco-friendly wedding? Or have you been to one before? Let us know what you think below and on Facebook and Twitter.