The decision to go green for many is a calling. While there are occasional hiccups in your effort to live a greener lifestyle, your wedding doesn’t have to be among them. Especially not when there are great tips like these to help you make your dream wedding a green wedding too!
Make Green Clothing Decisions
Bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses are notoriously one-time-use dresses. That doesn’t have to be the case, especially when there are options available to you that take nothing away from your special day.
- Choose dresses that are wearable after the wedding.
- Reuse vintage dresses and gowns. This is especially easy to do and can lend a bohemian flair to your wedding.
- Use organic fabrics that can be recycled into other clothing items once the wedding is over.
- Don’t forget to consider heirloom wedding dresses. They’ve already been used at least once and, unless there are strong objections, you can make changes to make the dress your own.
After the wedding, don’t forget to pay it forward. If you don’t have a dress you’d consider wearing again, Green Living Online recommends donating it to an organization that can give it new life or sell the dress so someone else can enjoy it.
Choose Stationery Wisely
There’s a lot of paper involved in weddings today. From the invitations, to the announcements, place cards, wedding programs, and thank you cards, the paper never seems to end. That’s why it’s so important to take small steps to eliminate the impact of all that paper on the planet.
- Use one envelope instead of two when mailing out invitations.
- Consider offering electronic options to RSVP.
- Pay attention to the ink. Huff Post reminds you that it’s best to use soy or plant-based inks.
- Use recycled paper products.
- Consider using special paper that can be planted after the wedding rather than going into landfills or ask guests to recycle.
From invitations to Thank You cards and all points in between, your stationery sets the tone for guests to follow. If the earth is important to you, let that show in your stationery, and you’re more likely to receive gifts and have guest behave in a manner that supports the values you hold so dear.
Greener Flowers for Your Special Day
Weddings are often filled with flowers. Many of these flowers are driven halfway across the country in order to be in season and are also filled with pesticides. There are greener alternatives. Choose local, seasonal organic flowers and greenery for your wedding. You offset the carbon footprint of transportation by sourcing locally and you sacrifice no beauty at all.
The Knot recommends skipping the bridal bouquet and table decoration if at all possible, but if you have your heart set on flowers, those that aren’t local or seasonal in particular, they suggest looking for flowers that are VeriFlora-certified, or use potted plants you can use on your home after the ceremony.
Another idea is to reuse floral arrangements from the ceremony in the reception. It cuts costs and reduces waste. It’s a win for all parties involved.
Rings are the symbol of your love for one another. They will be with you for your entire married life. While your rings may not be the first thought that comes to mind when looking for ways to “green” your wedding, it doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to go greener with your ring decision.
- Go out of your way to ensure that you’re purchasing conflict-free diamonds. CT Now suggests working with retailers that certify the origination of their diamonds and how they are mined so you know that they are mined fairly as well.
- Consider repurposing settings from antique wedding bands or heirloom jewelry that have special meaning in your family.
- Consider precious metals other than gold.
- Your rings are an expression of love to your spouse. If you both are as committed to the planet, then it’s important to select rings that represent that commitment by going green – even with your rings.
One big impact on the planet rests in the location of your wedding. Destination weddings may have a great deal of charm, but if you keep your wedding in the area where the largest concentration of guests live, you’ll cut out a lot of greenhouse emissions just getting there.
- Choose a venue that offers everything you need. Rather than having a wedding in one location, dinner at another, and the reception at yet another, find one venue where everything can be taken care of onsite.
- Look for locations that offer acceptable recycling services for paper products and other items used in the wedding and reception.
- Select locations for your wedding by choosing facilities that share your commitment to the planet in all areas of operation. It will make the decision easier and help to offset some of the carbon footprint the average wedding leaves behind.
Location is important, but as you can see, you do not need to head to the beach or the forest in order to have a beautiful fairy tale green wedding celebration.
Food is yet another important component of a wedding. Maybe you celebrate the beginning of your life together by breaking bread with the people who matter most to both of you. Most likely, you merge your families over a nice feast. However, choosing the right food is also important for the planet. Keep these tips in mind to pick a menu that’s better for the ecosystem.
- Included locally sourced organic fruits and vegetables as focal points in your wedding meal.
- Plan your wedding for seasons when favorite fruits and vegetables are freshest and in abundant supply.
- Source your food locally or work with caterers who source food locally. This reduces the carbon footprint of supplying the food for your guests.
- Huffington Post suggests working with venues that use actual china and silverware rather than disposable items.
- Donate leftover food and beverages. Almost every community has churches or charitable organizations that will be happy to accept donations of fresh food.
Food is such a central part of any celebration. Making greener food choices allows you to enjoy your wedding feast – guilt free!
Ecotourism is all the rage these days. If your heart is set on an exotic far-off location for your honeymoon, there are plenty of ways to make it a green choice and then to offset the carbon footprint of transportation elsewhere.
Look for hotels or resorts that are certified as Green. Green Travel Guides has a list of certifications hotels and resorts may qualify for, indicating their commitment to the planet, so you can enjoy a delightful honeymoon without feeling like you’re betraying your commitment to planetary stewardship.
Visit locations where connecting with nature is possible while also enjoying eco-friendly touches like:
- Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort and Thalasso Spa consisting of 80 spacious villas built on stilts over the water that operate an air conditioning system cooled by waters drawn in from the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
- Jungle Bay Resort and Spa in Dominica, which offers a volcanic stone swimming pool along with yoga studios and an ocean-view spa. This resort offers special honeymoon packages as well as daily excursions to waterfalls, ocean pools, and natural hot springs.
- Sunset at the Palms in Negril, Jamaica offers treehouse-style accommodations in the middle of a lush ten-acre garden where guests can commune with nature.
Or, you can go full-tilt for your green honeymoon by camping in nearby national or state parks. A new bicycle-towable camper is perfect for two, and you can bicycle together to your honeymoon destination for an even greener honeymoon option.
While on your honeymoon, choose activities that do not leave a carbon footprint behind, such as any of the following:
What you do on your honeymoon can have as big of an impact on the planet as where you go, so keep this in mind and choose destinations (along with corresponding carbon offsets) and activities accordingly.
The Marriage Bed
What could be better than starting fresh with a new mattress for your life together? If you’re going to invest in a new bed, the best way to go is green with a 100 percent natural latex mattress.
Why are latex mattresses the green choice, though?
Latex mattresses are built to last up to 25 years and provide outstanding support throughout the entire lifespan of the mattress. More importantly, though, they are biodegradable. This means they won’t end their lives taking up precious space in your local landfill.
They also contain no VOCs (volatile organic compounds), produce no unpleasant and unhealthy off-gassing, and allow you to sleep with complete peace of mind that you’re making a responsible mattress choice for the sake of your body and the planet.
Look for latex mattresses that are made with responsible manufacturing practices. If quality organic products are important to you, look for latex mattresses that have earned the GOLS certification for organic mattresses. This certification ensures that the entire process, from the gathering of sap from the rubber trees to the delivering of the mattress to your home, is done in accordance with the Global Organic Latex Standards.
With great ideas like these to draw from, you can have your dream wedding, and make it a greener wedding too. Put these practices into place to create a wedding you can feel great about.
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