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Ideas for a "Green" Wedding

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Many couples are looking for way to have a more "green" wedding. There are many ways to make a wedding more environmentally friendly, from invitations and decorations, to the food that you buy. This page contains ideas for a "green" wedding.
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By 0 found this helpful
November 13, 2013

Planning a green wedding is much like planning a traditional one: exciting, hectic, exhausting, and totally worth it. The real difference comes down to making decisions based on what will cause the least amount of impact on the environment.

Get Organized Early

The earlier you start the planning process the better. It is not uncommon to devote as much as a year to planning your big event, especially given that the most popular wedding venues and service providers are often booked many months in advance. How can you keep track of all the things you have to do and be green at the same time? The key is to stay organized and remain flexible. I recommend getting a large three-ring binder with dividers and filling it with loose leaf paper and several pockets or clear plastic sleeves to keep all of your lists, ideas, and receipts together. That way, as details change and you update your ideas, the pages will be easy to remove and recycle.

Keeping it Green


  1. Leave no trace: This really comes into play when considering an outdoor location for your wedding or reception. Public parks and gardens are good choices for outdoor weddings because they are designed to preserve nature, while remaining accessible to people. If you decide to hold your wedding or reception outdoors, choose a place that is designed for it. Consider the fact that you may do more harm than good if you decide to have your wedding in a natural setting that isnt equipped to host a large human party.

  2. Use eco-friendly materials. Say NO to unfriendly materials like balloons, crepe paper, Styrofoam, plastic utensils, and disposable cameras. Instead, choose items that can be reused, recycled, or items that can be given away as party favors to your guestslike small potted plants or seed packets. These days, nearly everyone has a phone on their camera. Ask guests to take pictures and email them to you, put them on a disk, or share them instantly on websites like shutterfly.com or snapfish.com.

  3. Reduce, reuse, rent and recycle: A wedding is meant to be once-in-a-lifetime event, which is why its important think carefully about every purchase. Throughout the planning process, keep asking yourselves, Do we really need this? Buy quality things you plan to use again (shoes, décor, wedding party attire) or better yet, look for items that have already been used. (http://www.wedding-recycle.org/). Rent (or borrow) things whenever possible. This reduces the need for new items to be made, which lowers your environmental impact and greatly reduces your expenses. Items that can be rented or borrowed include large items like alters, trellises, tables and chairs, as well as smaller items like formal wear, jewelry, table linens, dinnerware and table settings, and even centerpieces.

  4. Clean-up and dispose of waste responsibly: This includes everything from the dry cleaning service that cleans your wedding dress and table linens, to what type of curbside recycling and food composting services are available at your reception site. Different municipalities have different rules and offer different services when it comes to waste disposal, so do your research in advance. Be prepared to provide containers and direct guests with signage if necessary. Just remember that the ultimate goal is to clean-up and dispose of waste responsibly, and to keep as much out of the landfill as possible.

  5. Consider alternatives to the traditional: Consider alternatives to gift registries such as requesting a donation to your favorite charity, or asking guests for items that cannot be bought in any store (Grandmas secret cookie recipe, advice for a happy marriage, or dinner and movie with your best friends). The same is true for your honeymoon. A volunteer vacation is a great way to give back to people and the planet, and a good way to discover a new passion as a couple. These types of vacations can vary greatly in content and cost and include everything from cataloging art in a museum, renovating and restoring historic buildings, working in an orphanage, to assisting on an archaeological dig, building a school, or rescuing sea turtles.

    Where to Get Great Green Ideas

    Green has gone mainstream, which means that if you have access to the Internet, you have access to tons of green resources for planning your wedding. If youre a visual person like me, try visiting Pinterest.com (search eco-friendly weddings) to get the ideas flowing. Two other green wedding sites to check out are http://www.greenwedding.com/ and http://www.greenbrideguide.com/.

    Locating Eco-Friendly Vendors

    When possible shop local. Check your area for caterers that offer organic, vegetarian, or vegan menu options. Research what types of produce and flowers are grown locally and organically in your area and search for retailers and vendors that offer green products and services. If you cannot find anything in your local yellow pages, check Co-op Americas National Green Pages, which is the largest directory of green businesses online (http://www.coopamerica.org/). All of the companies in the directory have been screened to ensure they operate in ways that solve, rather than cause, both environmental and social problems.

    Examples of eco-friendly vendors you might work with when planning your wedding:

    • Musicians/deejays
    • Photographers/videographers
    • Printing/invitation services
    • Seamstresses/tailors/dry cleaners
    • Bakers/food and beverage providers
    • Formal wear rentals
    • Florists
    • Party supply/rentals
    • Transportation

    Remember, don't worry too much or take all the stress of planning your wedding to heart. Have fun, enjoy the planning process, and remember that all of your hard work will culminate in a beautiful day filled with love and hope for a sustainable future!

    Other useful links:

    Alternative Gift Registries

    Volunteer Vacation Information

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