10 Ways to go Green for Your Wedding
By: Beth Bystedt
In today’s world, each of us are trying to leave the planet with as little carbon footprint as possible. There are eco-friendly cars, clothing, kitchen accessories, heck, even eco-friendly homes and buildings! But have you ever thought of committing to a green wedding? Planning an eco-friendly wedding is a lot easier than one may think. Just taking 5 of the 10 “green” recommendations below will reduce your carbon footprint! Amazing right? So let’s start planning:
1. Invitations. Set the tone for your eco-friendly wedding by starting with your engagement announcement and invitations. There is a plethora of options in today’s world for “green” invites. 100% recycled, partially recycled, and even completely tree free papers. Choices are virtually unlimited if you are interested in making your own invitations. Consider all the items that typically require paper for your wedding planning:
· engagement announcements
· save the date cards
· shower invitations, and shower thank you notes
· wedding announcements
· wedding invitations, and wedding thank you notes
· ceremony programs
A friend of mine sent out her wedding invitations on recycled paper but then requested you RSVP on their personalized wedding website. That not only reduced the paper waste but reduced postage costs as well. Electronically speaking, there are oodles of styles and options to choose from and it is fully customizable and reasonably priced.
2. Jewelry. How romantic would it be to receive a vintage or heirloom ring as your engagement/wedding ring? You can also get a custom engagement and wedding ring from eco-friendly jewelry designers. You might not think that’s very important and although there has been a lot of work to end conflict diamonds, there is still major environmental impact associated with the mining of diamonds. Eco-friendly jewelers can use recycled metals and gems.
3. Dresses (wedding & bridesmaids). There are 2 options for eco-friendly dresses. First, consignment shops offer amazing selections for reducing, reusing, and recycling. You might also consider wearing a vintage dress or gown. Secondly, if you have to have a new dress, steer clear of synthetic materials, which are petroleum based. Choose a dress made of natural fibers. You’d be amazed at what they’re doing with hemp these days! Check out Blue Sky Bridal in Seattle http://www.blueskybridal.com/.
4. Registry. Yes, even your registry can be green. Some green retailers are providing registry services now, and though they might not have the fanciest of crystal, some beautiful goblets are from recycled glass. And a good way to support your own community is to register with local, green retailers. You can also give something back by registering for a non-gift gift, guests can make charitable contributions to a designated charity(ies) in the couple’s name.
5. Earth-Friendly Venues. An outdoor wedding will decrease the energy consumption required for climate control and lighting. Choosing a local, working farm venue will also support your community and ensure your dollars stay in your neighborhood. If you need that indoor wedding, think about getting married at a business or organization that supports noble causes: Retreat centers, parks, museums, foundations, etc. That way the money spent on the rental of the space can be reinvested in a good cause. http://www.williegreens.org/thefields.html
6. Reception. Create your celebration around a local theme. There are many local breweries or vineyards to use. If you can supply organic wine and beer, do. Decorate with flowers from your farmers market and create centerpieces that are edible or recyclable. Even your DJ can be green. Check out this Seattle DJ, who was just featured in the latest Seattle Bride Magazine and voted #1 in The Knot Best of Washington! www.bamboobeats.com/
7. Favors. Opt for something locally produced and practical, something consumable like a jar of local honey or a small box of local organic produce. There are a number of charitable favors as well, just like your registry (see below) you can take that $5.00 you’d spend on a silly trinket and donate to a charitable foundation. Or plant a tree in the name of each guest. I know I would rather leave a wedding knowing that there is a tree in my name somewhere rather than a tulle baggie filled with baubles destined for the trash!
8. Flowers. Local and seasonal bouquets of color and textures are easy to find and tend to be cheaper. You can get creative and/or work with an eco-minded florist. If you are planning a wedding during budding season, choose flowers from a local grower or your nearest farmers market and get friends to pitch in to help arrange. You can also work with a florist on contacts to organic farms that are adding flowers to their crops. There are also fair trade certified flowers!
9. Sustainable Food. The options for your eco-friendly feasting are immense. Many local caterers, like Herban Feast, specialize in local, eco-friendly cuisine with an emphasis in organic food and beverages. Ask your caterer about meals featuring seasonal produce and fruits that can be sourced from local farms or farmers markets. Keep in mind that vegetarian dishes tend to be less expensive and more eco-friendly than meat courses. Use eco plates, utensils, napkins, etc., to help reduce waste. If you are self-catering many farmers markets contain all the produce, meats, spices, etc. in one location. And don’t forget your cake, it too can be green (in a white sort of way). Choose organic, local, fair trade, and for the cupcake goers, paperless. Select a sustainable wedding cake topper, such as sugar toppers, organic flowers, sustainable wood, and much more. http://www.herbanfeast.com/
10. Transportation. We all know that the biggest carbon footprint can come from emissions, so help reduce it by renting a shuttle, taxi service, or party bus. Your beautiful outdoor farm wedding isn’t an obstacle to get to from Tacoma if you have a green transfer service. This will not only reduce your CO2 footprint, it will ensure everyone gets to and from in a safe manner. http://www.seattlegreenlimo.com/