Saying “I Do” to a Green Wedding

Planning a wedding takes a lot of work. Take it from someone who is in the midst of planning what should be the most special days of my life. My fiancé and I are planning on “taking the plunge” this coming October, and we couldn’t be more excited. Now, only 10 months to the day away, I have been really starting to dive in and make the millions of little decisions that need to be made.

We are not a “super-green” couple. We live in a very old house which burns oil and isn’t insulated. I drive a long distance to work every day, and he drives a Jeep, albeit only 5 miles round trip to work. That being said, we do try to be as environmentally conscious as we can. Most of our shopping takes place at small, local businesses, we recycle everything we possibly can, we have a digital thermostat so we don’t heat our home when no one is there, and so on and so forth. So now we are trying to do the same with our wedding. It isn’t by any means going to be a green wedding, but we are trying to make smart choices as we go, and it is a lot harder than we ever imagined. One area where we really want to go green is with our invitations. Most guests (minus the parents) aren’t going to save wedding invitations once the event has occurred, and they end up in the garbage. We decided that we really wanted to do invites that have been manufactured on recycled paper. A lot easier said than done. Wedding invitations on recycled paper cost upwards of 4x what regular ones do. We found virtually the same invitation, one was not recycled and it cost about $1 an invite, the other one was made from recycled materials and it was going to cost us $5+ per. Unfortunately we can’t afford it. (If you know a good place to get recycled invitations for a good price, please let me know.) But we are looking into what other green choices we can make for our special day.

There is a great book by Mireya Navarro, called Green Wedding: Planning Your Eco-Friendly Celebration. It was recently featured on the Today Show. Navarro brings up a point that I had never really thought of…weddings have an enormous carbon footprint. While many people would say that the best way to have a green wedding is to elope, Navarro realizes that isn’t everyone’s top choice. I know it wouldn’t work for me. She gives some great ideas as to how to reduce the carbon footprint of your joyous occasion for just about any budget.

Some things to consider are:

  • Location – try to hold the wedding where only few have to travel
  • Venue – if possible, choose a vendor that serves locally grown food. Also ask them what they do with the food that doesn’t get used.
  • Wedding Dress – look for a second hand dress, or have a plan to reuse your dress. For instance, planning on having children? If so, you can have your wedding dress made into a bassinet liner or a christening dress.
  • Nix the Favors – Instead of supplying favors for all your guests that will most likely be discarded, think about giving a donation to your favorite charity or cause in the name of your guests instead.
  • Vendors – Use vendors local to the area, and ask them about their environmental practices
  • Gift Registry – many people are choosing to get married later in life. Because of this, they typically have what they need in terms of household items. So, instead of registering for more things, many couples have guests donate to their honeymoon or to a down payment on a house. This is not a violation of etiquette if you give guests gift options.

So if you are planning your nuptials, consider taking a look at Navarro’s book. Your marriage is supposed to last a lifetime, but the footprint of your wedding shouldn’t.

And if you have any suggestions for me on making my wedding “greener” by all means, please share. I will take anything I can get!

Posted by: Lauren


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