What could make your big day even more special, beautiful and memorable? Showing that you’re stylish, eco-friendly and hip with these five tips for a fabulous green wedding.
1. Create inspired arrangements of cacti and succulents instead of using cut flowers.
Does the world really need another bridal bouquet of roses and peonies? We think not! Especially since eighty percent of cut flowers are imported all the way from South America, where they’re grown with harmful pesticides. Cacti and succulent arrangements are a unique, stylish, and eco-friendly alternative. If you’re DIY-inclined, you can create your own succulent centerpieces weeks before the wedding – they require minimal care and watering. And afterwards, you can replant them in your garden, where they’ll take root and grow alongside the marriage. Awwwww!
2. Serve delicious local, organic, sustainable foods.
Organic/sustainable food isn’t just good for the Earth – it actually tastes better too! Treat your guests to real foods that are healthy, pesticide-free and locally grown. Search online for a caterer who offers organic menu options. If you don’t find one in your area, get creative: We know one Massachusetts bride who convinced four different vendors from her local farmer’s market to cater her wedding with fresh salads and veggie dishes, locally raised roasted chicken, farm-fresh fruits and home-baked pies! Even if you don’t go totally organic, limit the number of meat items on your menu, and choose sustainably farmed, low-mercury fish and seafood.
3. Have a super-sweet hometown wedding.
The number one cause of gargantuan carbon footprints for weddings? Travel! Whether your guests arrive by car or by plane, the miles they rack up en route to your big day can add up quickly. A typical destination wedding causes 50 tons of carbon dioxide (eek!) to be emitted into the atmosphere. Choosing an event location near where most of your guests live will help cut down on their travel. And you can reduce your impact even further by buying carbon offsets to create a zero carbon wedding. Who says you need an exotic locale to make your dream day special? Create a stylish hometown wedding that incorporates unique elements from you or your fiancee’s childhood.
4. Choose a vintage engagement ring and post-consumer gold wedding bands.
There is already enough gold in the world to satisfy the demands of the jewelry industry for the next 50 years. Meanwhile, both gold and diamond mining (even of “conflict-free” diamonds) continue to poison the environment and global water supply with waste and toxins like cyanide and mercury. You can be part of the “elegant solution” by choosing a vintage engagement ring. Vintage and used engagement rings are often priced more reasonably than the new rings sold in retail stores, and come in a dazzling array of styles. And when it comes time to choose wedding bands, look for rings made from post-consumer white, yellow and rose gold.
5. Buy a gently used wedding dress, recycled bridesmaids dresses, or preowned bridal shoes.
The secondary market for wedding items is booming! Smart brides who don’t want to sacrifice style and luxury are finding gently used wedding dresses online for half their retail price. And wedding recycling doesn’t just save you money – it also reduces your wedding’s environmental impact. By buying gently used wedding items, you’ll avoid the consumption of natural resources and carbon emissions associated with the manufacture and transport of new items. And you can even sell your used wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses and accessories again after the wedding!