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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.
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.
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/.
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:
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