Nothing says you're an earth-loving couple more than an environmentally friendly wedding. Here are 10 tips for making your day beautiful and green.
1. While paper invitations are still the way to go for the wedding (sorry, not sorry), it's totally acceptable to send save-the-date announcements and invitations for a shower, rehearsal dinner or post-wedding brunch via email. Economize on your wedding invites with recycled paper; one-color, two-sided printing; and a request to RSVP by email.
2. Shop for a pre-owned dress. Countless gowns are waiting to be re-purposed or re-worn. Make it a sentimental occasion by restyling your mother’s vintage dress. Some brides are trying to recoup the cost of their weddings by selling their décor, too. Check out websites such as wedding-recycle.com, tradesy.com/wedding-decorations/, bridalgaragesales.com and thebudgetsavvybride.com/used-wedding-decor-online/.
3. Reduce the need for electricity and host a truly natural ceremony outdoors. You'll help your budget and the environment because you won't need as much lighting, especially if it's during the day. Stash your out-of-town guests at a hotel with LEED certification. You also can find venues with the same Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certification if you are planning a winter event.
4. Hire a farm-to-table caterer and offer a menu that reflects the season and includes organic, plant-based options. That will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The local food movement is growing quickly, so don't worry that it will limit your options.
5. Avoid single-use plastics and straws. Reach for reusable or biodegradable utensils. Swap plastic foam cups for paper versions or even better, glassware or china.
6. Incorporate lots of greenery; it makes everything feel organic and fresh. For bouquets and centerpieces, check out amaranthus. It comes in several lush colors and has a wild look. Its cascading "tails" of green floral clusters work especially well with roses, peonies and tulips. Amaranthus also dries well — in case you want to pull out some stems or dry your full bouquet.
7. Support local makers by shopping for favors at your favorite farmers market. Honey, maple syrup, fresh-picked apples, handmade soaps and organic extra virgin olive oil are examples of gifts your guests will actually use! Have a lot of gardeners on your guest list? Give them seed packets or bulbs.
8. Provide flower petals or leaves for tossing. Or go to ecofetti.com or etsy.com/market/biodegradable_confetti if you must have the real deal. Just make sure to check at your venue; many don't want to handle the cleanup. Rice can be harmful to birds and slippery to walk on. And bubbles often are prohibited indoors.
9. Have your guests donate to a charity that means a lot to the two of you, or to a local disaster relief fund in honor of your marriage. Find environmentally friendly wedding gifts at sierraclub.org or greenlivingaz.com/eco-friendly-wedding-gifts/.
10. Dismiss any thoughts of a destination wedding. Travel is fun, but wait on that for the honeymoon. Reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint by keeping things local for your guests. This eliminates emissions from all forms of transportation. Want to go farther? Companies such as Responsible Travel, AndBeyond and Kynder will set up you up with an eco-friendly adventure that will help the local community and culture.