From Wedding Ring to Honeymoon: How to Organize A “Green” Wedding
By Emily Jacobson
By Emily Jacobson
A green wedding is not difficult to organize. It can also cost less, depending on how green you go, and there are many green service providers to work with. You can go all-out green or just a little green. Here are some ways to create an eco-friendly wedding.
Invitations and Gifts
Use recycled paper and calligraphy for your invitations or, even greener, send invitations by e-mail. Create a wedding blog for information and updates. Substitute digital proofs for wedding photos and post them on your wedding blog.
Ask guests to donate to an environmental cause instead of bringing gifts you don't need. Or register with an eco-conscious retailer so gifts will be environmentally friendly products you do need.
Rings & Clothing
Substitute family heirlooms, recycled rings or antiques for "blood diamonds" that endanger miners, disturb ecosystems and contribute to war. Or buy alternative gemstones or rings set with minerals like turquoise instead of diamond wedding rings.
Consider a vintage or second-hand wedding dress and tuxedo, and have them refitted. After the wedding, pass them along or sell them on consignment. You can also choose a wedding dress you will still be able to wear after the wedding. Let your bridal party select their own outfits (in your color scheme) in styles they can also wear for other occasions.
Food, Flowers & Reception
Hire a catering service that provides china, crystal, silver and cloth instead of paper and plastic. Cater locally produced, organically grown and organically prepared foods, beverages and cake. Donate any leftovers to a shelter.
Buy local and organically grown flowers and use the same flowers at the ceremony and reception. After the wedding, pass them along to guests or to a hospital. Use potted flowers instead of cut, and let guests take plants home afterward.
Hold the reception in a scenic outdoor spot to reduce the use of air conditioning, lighting, heating and to minimize the need for decorations. Schedule the wedding and reception during the day to save electricity. Use candlelight rather than electricity. Have the reception at a non-profit organization so the rental fee will benefit others.
Schedule the wedding and reception at the same location, convenient for the greatest number of guests, to reduce travel costs. Ask guests who live in proximity to carpool to and from the wedding. Make your reception getaway on skates, bicycles, or skateboards.
Plan a honeymoon close to home in a setting you've never visited. Activities like camping, hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing are all ecologically friendly, especially if you include camping.
Consider a service honeymoon by "wwoofing." World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) connects volunteers with farms where visitors learn "sustainable ways of living." The farms are located world wide and provide food and board in exchange for volunteering. To have time off too, choose a farm near a vacation spot and do both.
Travel agencies offer ecotourism vacations at many hotels and resorts with earth-friendly accommodations, while eco-vacations feature adventure honeymoons like Himalayan mountaineering or hang-gliding.