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Green Weddings: Top Five Ways To Make Yours Beautiful & Kind To The Environment
Planning Your Wedding With The Environment In Mind
The "green" wedding...what does that mean exactly? Is it those hideous seafoam taffeta numbers you''re forcing your poor bridesmaids to wear with the promise of a bachelorette party in Bora Bora? Or is it the cutting edge salad buffet you're doing at your reception? Everyone keeps tossing around the words "going green" these days to the point it seems almost like a catch phrase. You worry that it's getting so familiar that it's starting to lose its meaning and value. However, going green is crucial to our survival and something really important to consider when you're planning a wedding on a budget and you're concerned about waste and the environmental impact of you and your sweetie saying "I do."
We all know the most environmentally friendly way to have a wedding is to skip the wedding altogether and just go down to the courthouse or to the local justice of the peace! You and your fiancée could even ride your bicycles there! Be sure to pay in cash, so no extra paper will be generated by processing your credit or debit card, or your check! Now that's green! But not too romantic or special, is it?
You can make your wedding romantic, special, and green with thought and effort. The first thing that any woman thinks when she thinks about her wedding is her wedding dress. Practically every woman alive has dreamed of the day she would float down the aisle, a vision of loveliness, in satin, lace, or chiffon. However, those gorgeous dresses can cost a pretty penny. The wedding dresses they advertise at a prominent nationwide chain of bridal stores for only $99 are few and far between. Most range on the low end in the 100's to the high end into the tens of thousands. Probably the only thing green there is the face of whoever wrote out the check for one of those dresses!
Green Wedding Dresses
A more environmentally friendly option is to shop e-bay, thrift stores, craigslist, online, or relative's closets for the dress of your dreams. Yes, believe it or not, many wedding dresses end up in those places...some of them NEVER worn and at a substantial cost savings. Although there are many websites that sell "green wedding dresses", that dress still has to be produced somehow, so you're talking about the fabric being made, a person being employed to cut and sew the fabric on a machine, the cost of the dress being shipped to you, and the exorbitant price they're going to tack on, because they've called it a green wedding dress. Not too green, in my opinion! Better to use something already in existence that you could add to, take away from, or alter if need be, than create another thing to take up space on an already shrinking planet.
Choosing A Wedding Venue That Doesn't Generate Waste
One of the things that can generate a huge amount of expense for the potential bride and groom, their attendants, and their guests is the choice of venue. If you grew up in California and are inviting all your old friends from there to be your attendants and you're getting married in New York where you now live, it's a problem! Not only are you asking people to go to a great deal of time and trouble at their expense, you're asking them to spend a big chunk of change. Not to mention the impact that flying to your wedding has on the environment! Let's not even talk about the waste that comes with having a destination wedding! Be considerate of your guests and attendants and try to pick the location closest to everyone.
Do You Really Need Wedding Favors?
Favors are just nice-to-haves at weddings and really serve no purpose. Your guests have already eaten and drunk at your expense and many really don't care whether they receive a favor or not and would probably never miss it. However, if you feel like you need to give a favor, choose wisely. The best no impact favor is to give a contribution to a charity near and dear to you and your new spouse's heart and one you've researched to see that they are receiving a high percentage of the profits. Then you can let your guests know with a very nice tent card on each table (made from recycled paper, of course!) that you are donating to a charity in their honor.
If you absolutely must give guests something tangible to walk away with, how about a tree from the Arbor Day Foundation or a lovely seed packet made from recyclable paper embedded with flower seeds? The goal is not to give anything which will generate any more trash than necessary...and none at all, if you can help it!.
Organic Wedding Centerpieces
Wedding flowers are big business...with big prices tags and big impact on the earth. Most commercially produced flowers are enhanced with chemicals of some sort and protected from bugs with insecticides. Organically grown flowers are expensive and hard to come by. Many brides are actually making paper flowers out of recycled paper that look amazing. Or perhaps you have a friend with a green thumb who has a gorgeous garden brimming with flowers for you to cut and use for bouquets. For beautiful and organic centerpieces, gather rocks to line the bottom of some very tall (rented or borrowed) vases and arrange fallen tree branches in them for a lovely centerpiece. Or fill those same tall vases with colorful fruit or vegetables and donate the fruit to a food bank or shelter after the wedding.
Since many couples have lived together before marriage or spent a great deal of time together to include vacationing together, many are opting to skip the traditional honeymoon. A suggestion...DON'T! You'll need that time to regroup from the whirlwind wedding planning and what just transpired! Consider a honeymoon to a beautiful, but not so far away location...where you can give back and make a positive contribution. Many places now offer eco-honeymoons to locales that are strong supporters of the environment and allow their visitors to participate in pursuits to help the environment, including helping build fire breaks in Colorado, participating in sea turtle protection projects, or water preservation and sanitation efforts in undeveloped countries.
More Green Wedding Ideas
There are lots of other ways to make your special day even more special by keeping it green. Things like e-vites instead of traditional invitations, allowing attendants to where their own dresses in your choice of wedding color, having all locally grown food at your reception...the list goes on and on. With a little creativity, and probably a lot less money, you can have the wedding of your dreams, and one you can be proud of for years to come.