A green Royal Wedding for Prince William and Kate Middleton?

Just how green will the Royal Wedding be?  While, the carbon footprint produced by Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding this Friday will surely be giant — think of the resources used and the thousands of people traveling to be there — at least the royal couple are making some attempts to minimize their impact and give a nod to eco-friendly themes.

According to the British publication BusinessGreen, Prince William and his bride have chosen seasonal flowers and locally grown food, among other earth friendly wedding materials.  And facilities will be powered in part by renewable energy. According to the publication:

"These include printing all documents on recycled paper and using FSC-certified wood and scaffolding in the building of the media stands. The carbon emissions of the wedding will also be offset as part of the royal household's annual carbon footprinting exercise.

Specific details of the event, including whether Kate will be wearing a "green" dress remain a closely guarded secret, however BusinessGreen has learnt that the 1,500 guests will dine on sustainably sourced food and drink, while smelling sweet seasonal flowers.”

The BBC reports Kate Middleton has chosen azaleas and lilacs. among many other local, seasonal flowers, and during the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, the couple will walk down an avenue of trees, which will later be planted at the Prince of Wales Highgrove Estate.

All of this will surely not offset the carbon impacts of the entire affair. (BusinessGreen also points out that one British politician has suggested a royal wedding smog alert be issued). But  still it’s good to see the royals are setting an example at this highly watched event, though not so surprising given Prince Charles' environmental record.

Of course William and Kate are not the first to incorporate eco-friendly themes into their special day. Green weddings are a growing trend in which brides and grooms are either limiting the consumption typically tied to weddings, or greenifying those resources they do use. Green wedding consultants and products are also popping up, offering everything from garters made from organic materials to wedding rings made from recycled gold.

One of our own communications managers Emily Diamond-Falk is planning a green wedding herself.

For their 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. And ceremony and reception are also accessible by public transit, eliminating the need for rental cars. 

Planning a wedding yourself? Here are a few popular green wedding tips:

- Invitations on recycled paper.
- Locally sourced food. Organic or vegetarian options.
- Seasonal flowers that don't have to be shipped from afar or organic flowers.
- Asking for donations to charities rather than gifts. Or, registering for eco-friendly items, such as trees for the yard.
- Revamping vintage wedding dresses, or purchasing a dress made out of sustainable materials, such as organic cotton, silk or hemp. Recycled Bride is one site that connects buyers with sellers.
- Recycle family or vintage wedding rings, or commit to purchasing rings made of recycled materials to avoid conflict diamonds and the environmental impacts of gold mining.
- Eco-friendly wedding favors, such as organic chocolate or hand-made items.

Photo: Prince William and Kate Middleton. Photo by UK-repsome, Flickr.