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Planning a Green Wedding: How to Create an Eco-Friendly Celebration

Updated on March 6, 2015

Green Weddings Save the Environment and Money

Are you getting married? Forget white! These days many engaged couples are choosing a green celebration to start their lives together.

Green weddings are very popular, and not any more difficult to plan than a "regular" wedding. From engagement through honeymoon, reducing waste and making environmentally-sensitive choices are as easy as saying, "I do!"

Go as green as you want, too. Select some or all of the tips in this article as they fit your lifestyle and the type of celebration you envision. Just like weddings themselves, there is no one-size-fits-all.

Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials and decision to plan a green wedding. Let's get started!

Planning a green wedding
Planning a green wedding | Source

Going Green During the Wedding Planning Stage

Its easy to reduce energy costs when you are planning a wedding. In fact, there are so many short-cuts you can take, you'll probably end up saving time and money as well.

Once you get engaged, pull out your computer - not a pad of paper - and make a list of the following considerations:

  • Date of the ceremony and reception
  • Location of the ceremony
  • Location of reception
  • Announcements and/or invitations
  • Wedding showers, if any
  • Bachelor/bachelorette party, if any
  • Attendants (bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers, who else will be in the ceremony?)
  • Bridal gown or dress, shoes and anything else the bride may wear
  • Wedding party attire, include shoes and jewelry, tuxes, etc.
  • Wedding rings
  • Flowers or other décor
  • Photographs and/or video
  • Number of guests
  • Food - consider rehearsal and/or reception
  • Drinks
  • Wedding cake, if any
  • Serving items (glasses, plates, napkins, cutlery, tablecloths)
  • Transportation
  • Party favors, if any
  • Wedding gifts
  • Thank you notes
  • Honeymoon

Now, take a deep breath and save the list. You'll be happy its on your computer where it won't get lost in all the excitement. Send a copy to your cell phone and then its always with you!

You are well on your way toward planning a green wedding.

How to Plan a Green Wedding

Choosing a Location for your Green Wedding

Before you can get married, you need to have a location! This also means deciding whether you'll have a separate wedding ceremony and reception. A green wedding will be the choice that saves the most energy and results in the fewest carbon emissions.

Starting the celebration in a house of worship and then moving to a different location to party afterwards is usually a more energy-intensive option. Transportation between the two locales, heating/cooling costs, flowers and other decorations, and even the time and human factor are increased.

Certainly you can still have a green wedding, followed by a green reception. But combining the two will likely save both energy and money.

Once you decide whether or not to combine the ceremony and reception, you need to pick where to celebrate. Popular potentially green wedding options include:

  • Home or backyard of a friend or relative
  • Local park or beach
  • At a worship hall, with reception in an adjoining room or building
  • Town hall
  • Local museum, if it is permitted

Considerations include minimization of travel (a reason that destination weddings are not a very green choice), elements needed for setup, decorations and flowers (think backyard garden or park rather than floral shop), and consolidation of functions (again, the all-in-one approach to ceremony and reception)

Of course, you could just elope and have a small gathering to celebrate afterwards with a few close family members or friends!


Green weddings can be elegant and eco-friendly
Green weddings can be elegant and eco-friendly | Source

Announcing Your Green Wedding & Invitations

Let's face it - paper is expensive and not too green.

If you want to send out "save the date" announcements for your wedding, then why not send a mass email? Sure, it may not be quite as cute as a photo mailing, but you can still include a cute image of the two of you! The same advice goes for any wedding showers you may be attending.

Wedding invitations themselves are usually traditional. That means mailing a number of envelopes to the people you'll be inviting. If you are part of an especially "green" crowd, you may be able to get away with email invites (think Evite or similar services). Or maybe you could even divide up your guest list into those that need paper invitations and those that would be happy to receive a digital version instead.... One way you CAN save trees, even if you are sending out paper invitations is to include an email address to which people can send their RSVPs. Forgo those little SASE response cards! Also, look for paper-free invitations and eco-friendly dye for the ink!

Finally, we come to the thank-you notes. Once again, etiquette dictates that you should hand-write appreciative letters to the people that bring gifts. If you have a circle of friends that are environmentally-conscious, you may ask if they would be receptive of an email thank you note. Otherwise, be safe rather than sorry and send a written letter.

Let's get a Green Wedding Dress

Even your wedding cake can be "green"
Even your wedding cake can be "green" | Source

Green Wedding Attire

The clothes you and your future spouse choose to wear may have an environmental impact, as well. For those planning a green wedding, the bride can choose eco-friendly fabrics, shoes, stockings and jewelry. The groom may wish to save money and green by renting a tux that someone else can use again.

Of course, the fewer attendants you have, you can cut down on the need to purchase new dresses or rent (or buy) tuxes. While you may dream of 4-6 bridesmaids and groomsmen.. and perhaps a flower girl and ring bearer as well... the more people you involve in the ceremony, the greater the economic and environmental cost.

Particular focus is required for the biggest potential impact on the environment when it comes to wedding attire: the bridal gown. There are green wedding dresses available in a range of styles, colors and more... including beautiful and white! If you select a dress that is made with organic cotton, hemp and/or wild peace silk, you can both look beautiful and glow with the pleasure of minimizing the environmental impact of your celebration.


Eco-Friendly Wedding Favors

The Green Bottom Line

Any green wedding usually demands a minimization of cost as well as resources. If you can cut corners, you'll usually end up with a more eco-friendly celebration. Reduce the number of guests, flowers and attendants to start - if possible. Look to friends and family to help with photographs, video, décor and transportation.

Food and drink need not be elaborate, just tasty! If you know someone who is a really great baker, why not ask him or her to create a one-of-a-kind wedding cake? Your neighbor with the beautiful garden may be willing to work on the wedding flowers. You'll never know unless you ask!

When it comes to attire, its best to borrow! Rented tuxes, gowns and/or shoes are a great bet. If you are interested in owning your wedding dress to pass down as an heirloom, then consider organic cotton or other eco-friendly textiles instead. Be sure to consider whether beads and sequins are sewn by properly paid employees - not child labor or non-fair trade organizations.

Above all else, relax and enjoy your special day! At the end, you and your betrothed will be married. Minimize upset, money spent and impact on the environment by cutting down on details.

That is truly the green - and sane - way to go!

How to Plan a Green Wedding Ceremony

Once you have your date, you can minimize the carbon footprint of your wedding ceremony in a number of ways. Some are very easy and others require a bit more planning.

Here's a summary overview to help plan a green wedding:

  • Rehearsal dinner - don't have one, or plan an informal affair with a backyard potluck
  • Guests - limit the number to those people that you really know and love
  • Transportation - forgo a gas-hogging limo and hitch a ride with others in the wedding party. Even more romantic.... why not go for a bicycle built for two?
  • Rings - there are a number of eco-friendly options out there for your wedding jewelry!
  • Photography/videos - have a trusted friend take photos and/or video. Upload all the images to a photo sharing site
  • Music - pick a friend to sing or play a musical instrument. You'll cut down on the number of people attending the celebration
  • Food - choose an organic caterer or go potluck once again!
  • Drink - believe it or not, but boxed wine is much greener and significantly more inexpensive than bottles. Get some champagne for the toast, as well, and call it good!

© 2010 Stephanie Hicks

Comments

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    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 

      5 years ago from New Hampshire

      Really enjoyed your hub - I personally chose the get married away and come back to a small gathering with friends idea. I'd recommend it. It's more intimate, more fun and a lot less hassle, as well as being green!

    • partyfun profile image

      partyfun 

      6 years ago

      This is a very comprehensive piece with useful tips to have a great wedding while helping to save the earth.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks emilybee - hope the green wedding tips help

    • emilybee profile image

      emilybee 

      7 years ago

      Bookmarking this site for future reference ;) Thanks a lot - great hub.

    • profile image

      Ollie 

      8 years ago

      Green weddings are the way forward, nice page thanks for sharing.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      That does sound very romantic, Ladybythelake! I'm with you on tradition and elegance.

    • Ladybythelake55 profile image

      Ladybythelake55 

      8 years ago from I was Born in Bethesda, Maryland and I live in Chicago,IL

      I prefer outdoor weddings in a garden and with flowing Victorian wedding apparel for the women and gentleman. They have some of the best wedding apparel. It takes you back to a gone by generation. I am just a romantic at heart.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you Pro1Review - will go and check out your green advice too!

    • Pro1Review profile image

      Pro1Review 

      8 years ago

      Awesome hub! Linking to it from one of my "Green" hubs! Thanks!

    • couponalbum profile image

      couponalbum 

      8 years ago from Sunnyvale, CA

      Another great hub. Very green ideas.

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 

      8 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      Great hub. Good ideas

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Dear thevoice, Nancy's Niche and theherbivorehippi, thanks for stopping by to read about green weddings. There is a great deal of interest in the topic, and since I have several green blogs, I thought it would be fun to pull together knowledge into a single hub. Veuve Clicquot is one of my fav champagnes too - I will have to try the Rosé!

      Best to you all, Steph

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 

      8 years ago from Holly, MI

      Fabulous hub with such usable information!! I love that you chose Veuve Clicquot as the champagne in the picture...lol. Most people would have not selected this brand, personally, I think it is the best. The Veuve Clicquot Rose is amazing! Here's a hub I can really use....now I just need to find the husband. :)

    • profile image

      Nancy's Niche 

      8 years ago

      This is a great idea and one that I hope will be taken seriously...

    • thevoice profile image

      thevoice 

      8 years ago from carthage ill

      beautiful wedding hub thanks

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Betsy, yes - planning a wedding is indeed a lot of work! Perhaps some of these ideas can help couples save a bit of time and money with a green wedding, however!

    • BetsyIckes profile image

      BetsyIckes 

      8 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Wow! A lot of work goes into these weddings! Thanks for sharing!

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you so much kowality! I love green and I love weddings. It was a natural fit. :)

    • kowality profile image

      kowality 

      8 years ago from Everywhere

      This is an awesome hub, rich with content, pics and vids. You deserve heaps of traffic from your efforts.

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