What is an Earth-Friendly Wedding?
Earth-friendly wedding, eco-friendly wedding, eco-conscious wedding, green wedding... are all terms referring to the same ideal – a wedding that makes less of an impact on the environment. No longer does the term “earth-friendly wedding” recall images of the 70's, complete with hippies, headbands and flower power; rather, planning an earth-friendly wedding is the newest trend in wedding planning. Not only does it integrate social principles into your wedding, but it's a way to create your dream wedding while leaving a smaller footprint on the Earth.
Why an Earth-Friendly Wedding?
The average cost of a US wedding is estimated to cost $28,000, leaving an economical and ecological footprint on the earth. Saving the planet has become an important issue, and living greener lifestyles is easier than ever with earth-friendly products hitting the market. With so much emphasis on living green, it seems appropriate for wedding planning to go green. Planning a green wedding not only benefits the environment, but will also support socially-conscious businesses like green-wedding planners.
As you are faced with planning for your "big day," you may decide to alter your thinking. Why not honor your environmental lifestyle and “green-up” your wedding? You may even open a few eyes in the process!
|10 Tips for Planning a Green Wedding
- Tip #1 Green Wedding Party and Guest List
- Reduce the size of the wedding by limiting guests to close family and friends, along with a smaller bridal party. The impact to the environment will be lessened with less chance for waste through travel and food.
- Tip #2 Green Location
- Try to pick a location that is central to most of your guests to cut back on travel. Choose something local, possibly outside to represent your love of nature. If you live near the coast, beach weddings are growing in popularity. If not, consider a themed wedding to represent a location. Also, you could look for a location where you can have both the ceremony and the reception.
- Tip #3 Green Wedding Rings
- There are several ways to be socially conscious when choosing wedding rings. Rings and diamonds can be recycled by passing them down as family heirlooms, or design your own using recycled gold. Use an earth-friendly jeweler who offers socially responsible recycled gold jewelry in their wedding sets. Consider eco-friendly wooden rings that can be carved with special messages or designs. Get 'inked' and have your wedding rings tattooed on by an artist - using earth friendly materials, of course.
- Tip #4 Green Invitations
- Impress your guests with beautiful invitations and save the date cards that represent your love for the planet. Choose a printing service that creates invitations using recycled paper or "treeless" paper, as well as soy-based or vegetable-based inks. Check out Fine Stationary. They offer trendy wedding invitations and thank you notes from Grey's Greetings, a green company that uses 100% recycled paper and soy-based inks. Consider making your own invitations to express your unique style. If you want to go paper-less, send invitations by email or create a wedding blog where all your wedding events can be posted. Also, suggest green hotels and eco-friendly transportation, such as hybrid car rentals, to your out-of-town guests.
- Tip #5 Green Wedding Apparel
- If it is a tradition in your family to pass down the wedding gown, or if you find a beautiful vintage bridal gown, you are already being earth-friendly by recycling. You may consider borrowing a gown from a socially conscious friend, or hitting the local consignment and thrift stores to search for your wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses. Many bridal apparel suppliers offer earth-friendly fabrics such hemp, organic cotton, silk, and organic bamboo. Threadhead Creations offers beautiful bridal gowns, many custom made from these materials. Earth-friendly formal apparel for the groom and groomsman is also available. And, using a tuxedo rental is also recycling. Look for a tuxedo rental shop that uses a dry cleaner using environmentally friendly cleaners. Consider vintage or jewelry made from recycled materials for the bridal party.
- Tip #6 Green Wedding Favors
- The favors for your wedding guests can also show your passion for "living green." Consider a donation in your guest's name to an environmental organization in lieu of a wedding favor. Many wedding suppliers offer beautiful eco-friendly wedding favors, such as Wildflower Bags from American Bridal, or All-Natural and Vegan Chocolate Hearts in pretty sheer bags from Lake Champlain Chocolates. Use your do-it-yourself skills and make your own Wildflower wedding favors in adorable tiny terra cotta planters, or present them with any number of items, such as organic tea, homemade soap, wishing rock favors, caramel apples or a faux matchbook favor.
- Tip #7 Green Menu
- Choose a caterer that serves organically grown foods and buys locally grown produce. When considering the menu, make plans for some vegetarian choices. Make sure that the venue or caterer recycles any materials left over and composts. If the caterer allows, make arrangements for any left over food to be donated to a local homeless shelter. Waste not, want not!
- Tip #8 Green Photography
- Having beautiful pictures of your wedding is important, but you can create your lasting memories and save the planet. Choose a digital photographer that uses digital proofs - chances are, you will not purchase all of the pictures. So save the paper and only print the best shots. Urge guests to use digital cameras as well. Do not place single-use cameras on the tables to avoid wasted prints - you could end up with several pictures of someone's feet.
- Tip #9 Green Gift Registry
- Create a gift registry to include earth-friendly products that you have been wanting. Support the eco-friendly merchants that you love, like Greenfeet and Uncommon Goods. They offer many great products to keep you living the green life. You can also create a socially-conscious gift registry at I Do Foundation for a gift that will give back. This will also ensure your guests are aware of your preferences for wedding gifts even if they decide not to purchase from your gift registry.
- Tip #10 Green Honeymoon
- Plan a trip somewhere local to cut on travel. Stay at "green" hotels. Sometimes romantic cabins and B&B's are only a short car trip away. Consider a romantic train vacation, enjoy the sights and know that you are traveling eco-friendly by using mass transit.
Need a little more help? Check out the Green Wedding Book, offered by The Discovery Channel. This how-to guide put out by New York Times correspondent, Mireya Navarro, explains how couples can "green" their dream wedding.