5 Easy Ways to GREEN up Your Wedding
There is big push right now in society towards protecting our environment. Recycling, using natural materials, reusing materials, reducing our waste, rethinking our decisions, and even thinking out of the box when it comes to clothing, transportation and even the way we care for our children are all included in this.
The desire to take action towards preserving our environment started way back in the 1970s with peace, love and hippies. Unfortunately all of those that have followed speaking on environmental friendliness have been branded the same way.
But no fear, green weddings are on the rise! More and more couples are realizing just how easy and affordable it can be to host a stylish environmentally friendly wedding, and feel good about themselves, and the stigma it’s held for so long is slowly slipping away.
Green weddings are eco-chic, which means they are every bit as gorgeous as conventional weddings, but without the waste. And, amazingly enough, going green can save you money. Even if you are not whole-hog into this new environmental push, there’s no reason to think green when planning your wedding for a lighter, better-feeling event altogether.
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Using local, seasonal and organic flowers that are not doused in pesticides lowers fuel consumption and is often less costly than ordering exotic species from another country for your event. Also consider ordering and using simpler arrangements, faux flowers, and/or reusing ceremony flowers at your reception.
This could be as simple as picking up flowers at the grocery store or wholesale grocer like Costco and making your flowers yourself. I’ve had brides that make a party out of it with their bridal party to make all of the flowers and arrangements for the wedding and other parties.
You don’t necessarily need 10 or 12 different types of flowers in your wedding bouquet and centerpieces. Try thinking big flowers for nicer, more elegant-looking, less-expensive flowers (like hydrangeas), rather than smaller more-expensive ones (like roses).
Consider using branches, leaves, pine cones, and weeds for your floral arrangements. These can be fantastic centerpieces, flower bouquets, aisle decorations, and altar arrangements without having to worry about cost, waste, or damage to the environment.
Even reusing arrangements and pew decorations from your ceremony for reception arrangements and table or chair décor for your reception will reduce the number of arrangements you’ll need, be consistent with your theme and save you a lot of money. Consider donating your flower arrangements to nursing homes and hospitals after the celebration.
Invitations and Other Stationery
Recycled and post-consumer waste paper, tree-free paper, soy inks and hand-written correspondence options all offer elegant ways to reduce resource-consumption, waste, and the use of harsh chemicals. Save yourself some money and forget the RSVP card and extra self-addressed stamped envelope for guests.
Opt instead for including on the bottom of your invitation a request that guests call or email you to RSVP. Think about using the seed card paper for your stationery so that guests can simply plant their menus, programs, escort cards, or whatever after the wedding and have beautiful flowers in their garden to remember you by.
Consider sending your guests digital invitations, or at least conserve paper when you choose your stationery.
It’s not necessary or even bad taste to forget using stationery at all. Think creatively and put your menu on a chalkboard for everyone, write your seating chart on an older window or mirror, use rocks or fruit for place cards, or even fans for your programs.
I’ve even had a bride put water out for their guests as they walked in to the ceremony and had the programs printed on the water bottles. How creative! Want to save yourself some paper, and a lot of moola? Use your imagination and you’ll be reducing your waste as well!
There are tons of fun and non-wasteful favor ideas like plant bulbs, small potted plants or soy candles. Or, instead of a tangible favor, consider making a small donation for each guest to a cause your support. This has really become extremely popular for most couples!
Nobody really likes wedding favors anyway. What do you think, really what do you do, with the pea shaped candles, wedding cake shaped candles, Hershey bars with the bride and groom’s name printed on it, etc.? Give them something they really want if you are insisting on offering favors.
Candy bars and trail mix bars are super popular for wedding couples and guests alike! Everyone loves taking home a bag of candy or trail mix!
If anything it gives them something to munch on during their long trip home, or to take with them to school or to the office. Christmas ornaments are fun as well. Really think hard before purchasing cute favors that would perfectly match your theme, for your guests. What would they really use? What’s going to happen to it after your wedding? Don’t waste your money!
Capitalize on this incredible opportunity and either use a green catering company that will recycle their waste and donate the leftover food for you.
This is a really nice place to be green without a great deal of effort. You can easily find caterers or restaurants that consider themselves GREEN. Many of them even advertise this on their websites.
In this case GREEN means that they most likely use local produce, they recycle their waste, they think of creative ways to re-purpose any extras, etc. Ask each one and find out what exactly that means for them.
At your wedding, they will make an amount closer to your guest count than making a ton extra “just in case,” they will recycle on site but out of sight of your guests, they will make you a care package to take with you of extra food from the wedding, and if asked, they would probably donate all leftover food to nursing homes, fire departments and other charities in the area. You wouldn’t have to lift a finger and this one small decision would make a big difference!
Or have a potluck meal to save on serving platters and utensils, cost of a cater, and food. You could even make the food yourself!
Registering for eco-friendly products supports artisans and companies that are making a difference while educating guests about beautiful, affordable, eco-friendly alternatives. You could simply register for your wedding from GREEN companies to make it easy on you and everyone else involved. Registering for charitable donations is a popular option for older, more settled couples that don’t need anything for their households.
Consider registering for your honeymoon, your dress, your photographer, your cake, etc. A website called www.eregistry.com allows you to register for just about anything your heart desires, even your mortgage, your car payment, or a down payment on something new you and your new spouse have been trying to save up for.
Talk about making the best use of the gifts that will inevitably come in. Why get a blender and toaster, or another board game, when you could get help buying that new car or going on the honeymoon you really wanted but couldn’t afford?
A green wedding is simply any wedding where the couple tries to decrease the impact of their event on the planet, and there are many ways to do it without sacrificing style or elegance!
Being GREEN doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to work that much harder. If anything it just means thinking a little creatively and using your imagination to save yourselves some big money and do your part for the environment at the same time!
Every part of a wedding has eco-friendly options worth considering, and, there's a shade of green for everyone. Whether you incorporate just one or two earth-friendly elements, or go completely organic from the silk of your dress to the food you serve, remember that every green choice makes a difference.
Would you consider using some of these tips whether or not you are having an "eco-friendly" wedding?
© 2013 Victoria Van Ness