I’ve written many articles in the past about the different ways you can “green” your lifestyle. From greening your personal care routine and green cleaning your home, to greening your wardrobe and your sleep routine, to greening your holidays. With summer just around the corner it will soon be high season for weddings of all sorts, so to help you green this all-important life-changing event I consulted the experts at the Green Bride Guide and they obligingly sent me their top 13 recommendations for ways to green your wedding.
1. Invitations. Recycled and post-consumer waste paper, tree-free paper, soy inks, and digital correspondence options all offer elegant ways to reduce resource-consumption, waste, and the use of harsh chemicals.
2. Jewelry. Eco-conscious jewelers use recycled stones and metals, and ethically sourced gemstones. Family heirlooms, vintage or antiques, and handmade items are sustainable, often less expensive options.
3. Flowers. Using local, seasonal and organic flowers that are not doused with pesticides, lowers fuel consumption and is often less costly than ordering exotic species. Also consider simpler arrangements, faux flowers, or reusing ceremony flowers at your reception.
4. Attire. No matter what your style or taste, there are many ways to green your wedding attire, from buying organic, vintage, or re-wearing a family dress, to donating items afterwards.
5. Gifts. By registering with eco-friendly companies you can support sustainable business and educate your guests about eco-friendly products. Some registry organizations will donate a portion of the sales from your items.
6. Favors. There are tons of fun and non-wasteful favor ideas like CFL bulbs, small potted plants or soy candles. Or, instead of a tangible favor, consider making a small donation for each guest to a cause you support.
7. Venue. Choosing an eco-friendly venue will drastically reduce the environmental impact of your wedding. However you can add green touches no matter where you have your reception.
8. Travel. Ecotourism options, green hotels, and carbon offsets all conserve resources and ensure your money makes its way into the local economy. To further lessen the impact of your honeymoon, explore local or volunteer vacation options.
9. Photography. Green photographers reduce waste, paper and chemical consumption by using rechargeable batteries, non-toxic inks, 100% post-consumer waste paper, online proofs, LED and CFL bulbs, and recycling.
10. Décor. Using your location and the season for inspiration will provide natural, cost-saving décor ideas, such as collecting sea glass or shells from a nearby beach for a summer celebration. Vintage items or pieces from friends and family add unique flare.
11. Food and Beverage. Working with your caterer to create a menu of local, in-season organic foods and beverages will decrease the carbon footprint of your meal and support the local economy.
12. Transportation. To minimize emissions, hold your ceremony and reception in one centralized location close to your friends and family. Encourage carpools and public transit, or rent an alternative energy bus or trolley for guests.
13. Beauty and Make-Up. Because many cosmetics contain toxic chemicals, use all-natural beauty and hair products or seek out a “green” salon for your wedding day. It is much healthier, safer and green!