25 Easy Ways to Have a Green Wedding
Let’s face it. Between the hundreds of save-the-date cards, invitations and reply cards, the fuel spent traveling from reception to ceremony to hotel and the materials needed for centerpieces and décor, weddings aren’t exactly the most earth-friendly celebration. On the other hand, it’s your one and only wedding day, so you shouldn’t feel like you have to skimp by wearing a hemp wedding gown, serving vegan rice paper wraps and spending your honeymoon driving around in a rented Prius in an attempt to save the Earth. Here are some easy ways to make your wedding greener without having to sacrifice style and sentiment.
1. Have your invitations printed on recycled paper.
2. Consider soy or plant-based inks.
3. Email the majority of your save-the-dates; only print cards for guests who don’t have access to a computer.
4. Use perforated stamps rather than the ones that are peeled from a sheet. This way, there’s nothing to be discarded. Bonus if they’re vintage!
5. Opt for soy or beeswax candles rather than traditional petroleum-based candles, and make sure the candles have cotton wicks instead of lead, which aren’t legal to manufacture in the U.S.
6. Forgo paper decorations or balloons, which will end up in a landfill, and instead go with something reusable like vintage fabric, jars and vases found at thrift stores and painted signs made from reclaimed wood that can be repainted or hung in your home.
7. If you’re getting married outdoors, skip all the decorations, and let Mother Nature serve as the ultimate view.
8. If you’re using flowers in your centerpieces (as well as in your bouquets and boutonnieres), choose blooms that are in season and grown locally to reduce having them shipped from faraway places. You may save some money in the process!
9. Of course it’s best to wear a second-hand wedding gown or perhaps a dress that was passed down from your mother or grandmother and has been altered. But since there’s a good chance you’ll want to show off your own style, consider a gown created with organic cotton.
10. Choose wedding rings that aren’t made from “conflict diamonds,” which are mined and traded violently in Africa. Plus, diamond mining creates toxic runoff and strips the land. If you’re unsure about where your diamonds are coming from, it’s best to opt for a different gemstone. If you’re set on a diamond, go vintage.
11. Unless it’s a suit your husband plans to wear again, consider having him rent instead of buying.
12. Pick bridesmaid dresses that your gals will actually want to wear again; this way it’s not just wasted fabric that will live forever in a dark closet after your wedding day.
Food and Drinks
13. Serve Virginia wine, beer and even vodka!
14. Recycle all wine/beer/vodka bottles used.
15. Use cloth napkins, glass plates and silverware rather than disposable items.
16. Have your caterer use local, in-season ingredients for the reception food.
17. Provide group transportation for your guests from the ceremony to the reception and back to the hotel to decrease carbon dioxide emissions. Plus, you don’t have to worry about guests imbibing and driving!
18. If group transportation isn’t an option, try to hold the ceremony and reception at the same venue or within close proximity to cut down on driving.
19. Make and preserve your own jam or jelly.
20. Buy locally-made goat milk soap and wrap it in adorable fabric or a piece of burlap.
21. Help guests to pursue a greener lifestyle by giving them cute reusable shopping bags.
22. Plant seeds in glass containers found from a thrift store (or use biodegradable ones), and give them as favors once they’ve sprouted. Guests can take them home to plant.
23. Choose a destination closer to home so you don’t have to fly. Plus, you’ll cut down on travel costs.
24. Pick a hotel that has green amenities.
25. If you want to go somewhere exotic, honeymoon at a green location, such as the Jean-Michael Cousteau Resort in Fiji, a luxury eco resort boasting an organic garden, reef reservation commitments, timber sourced from certified local forests and a water reclamation plant.