Green weddings are getting easier than ever. Whether you plan to say 'I do' at a church alter or from the overlook of a gorgeous mountain vista, choosing a few green wedding tips will help you ensure that the lasting impression of your wedding is on the hearts of those attending, not on the wildlands you cherish.
Planning a wedding yourself? Here are 9 green wedding tips to make your day beautiful in all ways:
1. Order tree-friendly invitations: Save trees by printing your invitations--and thank you notes--on recycled paper. These days a host of companies specialize in beautiful hand-crafted invitations on 100 percent recycled paper.
2. Register for gifts that don't end up in the landfill: Ask for donations to charities you care about rather than gifts that will eventually end-up in the landfill. TisBest offers offers charity gift cards so you can pick your favorite organization to support (like The Wilderness Society!) Or, if you don't like that idea, you can always register for eco-friendly gifts, such as trees for your yard. The trees will be cherished for years to come while they perform double duty soaking up carbon.
3. Consider organic or local flowers: Select seasonal flowers that don't have to be shipped from afar or organic flowers, which are grown using fewer chemicals. Organic Bouquet is one option.
4. Save money on your dress: Save money and resources by revamping vintage wedding dresses, or purchasing a dress made out of sustainable materials, such as organic cotton, silk or hemp. Recycled Bride connects buyers with sellers. Also, consider letting your bridesmaids wear their own previously purchased dresses within a color theme you pick, or select dresses that they can easily wear again.
5. Buy conscientious wedding rings: To avoid conflict diamonds and the environmental impacts of gold mining you might consider exchanging rings made of recycled materials, or vintage family heirlooms, which can make the meaning even more special. Greener Diamond offers resources on alternatives to conflict-free, green diamonds and questions you can ask to ensure you're buying a clean ring.
6. Find a caterer who offers locally sourced, organic or vegetarian options: Supporting locally produced food helps reduce greenhouse gases created in the transportation of food--not to mention it's generally fresher, healtier and better tasting. Organic fare uses fewer chemicals and agricultural practices that harm ecoysystems, and eating vegetarian helps decrease greenhouse gases and water pollution associated with meat production. (According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN, the livestock sector is responsible of 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, even outdoing transportation.) Greenyour.com is a great resource for choosing organic and locally-sourced caterers and restaurants.
7. Get creative with wedding favors: Eco-friendly wedding favors include simple items that your guests will appreciate, such as organic chocolate, wildflower seeds, plants or hand-made items.
8. Don't make your guests travel once in town: Choose hotels near to your ceremony and reception to eliminate the need for rental cars.
9. Reduce, reuse, recycle: Weddings can be huge affairs. If you can't bare to go with a smaller wedding that uses less resources, see what you can do to recycle and reuse after the big event. For example, ask your facility about their recycing policy, and after the big day is over, donate your flower bouquets and table adornments to a nursing home, where they will be fully appreciated.
Still not sure how easy a green wedding might be to arrange? Take if from our Wildlands Communication Manager Emily Diamond-Falk, who says planning a green wedding is easy, and much better for the budget.
For her eco-friendly wedding, Emily and her fiancée Alex have arranged to have local, seasonal flowers, locally sourced food and recycled materials for their reception and ceremony. With the exception of hard liquor, all of their beer, wine and food (which will be vegetarian) will come from within a 150 mile range. Invitations will be printed on recycled material. And Emily’s wedding dress is also recycled in a way – it was originally her mother’s. “Even the yarmulkes we are giving out are made from recycled cardboard,” Emily said. Emily and Alex also picked hotels that are walking distance from the wedding and other weekend events, so out-of-town guests won’t need to drive.