Getting Real with Shadra Bruce
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, wedding season isn’t far behind.
Are you planning an eco-friendly wedding? Eco-friendly weddings are becoming a bigger trend, allowing couples to maintain their commitment to the environment by having an ecologically responsible wedding. Eco-friendly – or “green” – weddings are planned in consideration of how each factor – invitations, beverages, food, location, and flowers – will impact the environment.
With the average wedding costing more than $35,000, going green for your wedding can save you plenty of green along the way. Here are some ways to make your wedding more eco-friendly:
The Wedding Invitations
Your wedding invitations provide an easy area to save money and be good to the environment. Printing your invitations at home on recycled paper allows you to minimize the impact, and if you skip the response cards and ask people to RSVP electronically, you eliminate not only the paper and ink cost and impact but also the environmental impact (more gas, more mail trucks, etc). You can also hand write invitations to make them more unique. Alternatively, you can create your invitation online and send out virtual invitations or even create a small website for your wedding.
The Wedding Dress
While we may have grown up thinking that we have to spend $5,000 or more on an heirloom dress that we then carefully store for 30 years in the hopes that our daughters will wear the dress, it just doesn’t happen. Rent a dress or buy a used one to save money, or choose a dress made of hemp, cotton or silk with no synthetic materials or dyes used. If your mom saved her dress for you, but you just don’t love it, see if she’ll let you use the material from it to create something new.
When choosing wedding flowers, you can save money and be environmentally friendly by choosing to work with a florist who uses recycled flowers and foliage for bouquets. You can also work with your florist to create inexpensive and memorable centerpieces with live plants that your guests can take home.
There are a number of different wedding favor options that are environmentally friendly while still creating a lasting memory for your guests. From organic jellies to handmade jewelry to beeswax candles, you can choose wonderful and memorable favors.
The Wedding Cake
If you have ideas about how to make a wedding cake that tastes good while still being good for the environment, you’ll have to let me know. But you can choose to support a local bakery or chef rather than a chain store, and you can opt for a smaller cake (a lot of it ends up going to waste anyway). You can opt for organic ingredients, too, and make sure any ingredient is fair-trade.
One of the best ways to be more environmentally conscious when planning your wedding is to choose locally grown, organic products to serve. From organic greens to range-fed chicken, you can offer food choices that make a difference. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that organic food tends to be pricier than non-organic, so shop CSAs and Farmer’s markets to save extra money, or limit your menu choices to make it more feasible.
The Wedding Transportation
There can be a huge environmental impact to destination weddings or even having a large number of out-of-town guests, so arranging to provide group transportation using hybrid vehicles can be helpful. Arrange to have your guests stay near the wedding location to reduce the impact, too. Instead of departing your wedding in a limo, consider a horse-drawn carriage instead.
Green weddings are often held in natural environments, such as botanical gardens or nature preserves, or even in your own back yard. This reduces how many decorations you need. Hosting the wedding and reception at the same location can also minimize transportation requirements for everyone and allow your guests to spend more time with you. Choose a venue that already embraces eco-friendly practices, such as solar energy and recycled water and trash, or even offer to connect you with other green-friendly vendors. Some eco-friendly venues even donate a portion of your fee to supporting environmental causes.
After the Wedding
Rather than throw rice, have your guests throw biodegradable options, such as freeze dried flower petals. Bird seed is also a great option.