A Nice Day for a Green Wedding
Take steps to make your celebration eco-friendly
by Erinn R. Johnson
Something old, something clean, something borrowed, something green.
It's a twist on the traditional wedding custom offered by BluePlanetWedding.comone of the growing number of Websites that offers guidance on planning an eco-friendly wedding. Going green is one of the hottest trends in the multi-billion-dollar wedding industry.
With so many moving parts to a wedding--the invitations, the photographer, the music, the bridesmaids' gifts, the wardrobe--there are any number of ways to give your big day an eco-friendly twist. With their rising popularity, finding green alternatives is much easier than in the past. Couples have a range of Websites to check out that specializes in green and socially-conscious weddings, among them: GreatGreenWedding.com, GreenEleganceWeddings.com, and TheGreenBrideGuide.com.
Here are several ways you can help green your nuptials.
1. The Invitations
Starting with the save-the-date notices, down through the invitations and programs, paper plays a huge role in any celebration. If you can't cut paper out completely, minimizing the amount of paper or using recycled paper is always a good alternative. A few Websites that offer recycled invitations include: GreenfieldPaper.com, NaturallyEverAfter.com, and TwistedLimbPaper.com.
If the idea of electronic invitations is too far from tradition for you, consider using paper with a high-recycled content such as hemp or bamboo. Also, do your best to consolidate invitation inserts such as menu and RSVP cards. Custom wedding Websites are a fun and interactive way for guests to view information on the big day and even RSVP, cutting out the necessity of those annoying pieces of paper.
2. The Venue
These days, just mention $4 and people know what you're talking about. With the average price of a gallon of gas hitting record levels, you'll want to pay close attention to the venue you pick. Consider something that's not too much of a trek for your guests--they'll be most appreciative. Also, consider hosting your reception and ceremony in one location to further cut down on guest travel.
3. The Flowers
The part of the wedding with the most direct tie to Mother Earth is the flowers. Eco-friendly brides shop for locally-grown organic flowers--meaning they are grown without the use of toxic chemicals and in a manner that's good for the environment. Check out OrganicBouquet.com for more information.
What's more, the bridesmaids' bouquets can serve double duty as centerpieces during the reception or cocktail hour. With flowers accounting for 8% to 10% of an average wedding's budget, finding a way to conserve money as well as the quantity of flowers used is a definite way to go green.
4. The Menu
An eco-friendly menu doesn't mean that you have to go vegetarian for the big day. A small step can be to find a dish that you enjoy and ask your caterer to use organic ingredients. Investigate organic meal ideas on Websites such as OrganicAuthority.com and SustainableTable.org.
5. Offset Your Impact
No matter how eco-friendly you try to make your special day, it is inevitable that your impact will be felt. NativeEnergy, an organization that helps build Native American, farmer-owned, renewable-energy projects, offers a green wedding calculator on its Website (www.nativeenergy.com) that allows you to determine the global warming impact of your event. Couples can then neutralize the impact of their wedding by buying carbon offsets on Websites such as MyClimate.org and TerraPass.com.
In the end, one of the most notorious examples of waste in American culture is the oft-derided, one-time-only bridesmaid's dress. Perhaps, on the smallest scale, a bride can start by making an appropriate wardrobe selection.