Green-Themed Wedding Ideas
Celebrate your marriage and the environment with an eco-friendly event
By Cynthia Myers
If you're the type of person who buys local and organic, reuses and recycles, and tries to lighten your impact on the planet, you don't have to abandon your ecological principles for your wedding. Thanks to an ever-increasing number of environmentally friendly options, you can have a celebration that honors the earth and fulfills your dreams.
Engagement and Wedding Rings
Instead of buying a new ring, use one that's been handed down in the family. Or search for a vintage ring and save all the energy that goes into mining new metals and stones. Buy conflict-free diamonds, or choose an alternate gemstone, such as a natural pearl or an American-mined stone such as turquoise, which don't have to be extracted using destructive mining techniques.
Use recycled paper and soy-based ink. Or forgo paper invitations altogether in favor of e-mail or Internet-based invitations, such as those you can create on Evite.com. Set up a wedding website or Facebook page to keep your guests informed of your plans and to store information such as date, location, registries and more.
Make your decor do double duty by using flower arrangements and other items at both the wedding and the reception. Use soy or beeswax candles, which burn longer and with a cleaner flame than petroleum-based candles. Use bamboo in your decorations -- it's one of the fastest-renewing resources around.
Buy organic. There are florists who supply organic or sustainably produced flowers these days. Otherwise head to your local farmer's market. Buy locally grown flowers and plants. Use potted plants and trees as much as possible and transplant them to your new home or the home of a friend or relative after the wedding. After the reception, donate cut flowers and other plants to a nursing home whose patients would enjoy them, or send them home for your guests to enjoy. Consider a bride's bouquet of silk flowers, which will last forever.
Opt for a natural, outdoor setting. Choose a location such as a park, botanical garden, historic home or other venue run by a nonprofit that will benefit from the fee for your reception. Save money and resources by having the wedding ceremony and the reception in the same location. Choose a location accessible by public transportation. Avoid disposable glasses, plates and utensils. Instead, rent the real thing. Make it easy for guests to dispose of recyclable waste.
Serve a menu of locally grown and produced food. Choose organic when possible. Caterers offer many organic and environmentally conscious choices. You can even order a vegan cake: Chances are your guests will never know there are no eggs or butter in their dessert. Look for local wines and liqueurs to accompany your meal. Offer your guests fair-trade coffee.
Think carefully before wasting money and resources on items your guests might discard. Choose edible favors such as jars of local jams or honey or bottles of local wine you've customized with a special label. Or give organic, free-trade chocolates. Give small pots of herbs or lucky bamboo. Or skip the favors altogether and donate to a charity in your guests' honor.
About the Author
Cynthia James is a regular contributor to DexKnows.
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Nice day for a green wedding
See if your venue offers recycling, and if they don't, ask if it's possible for the venue to supply it. If not, you can contact a waste management service to assist you. Or you set up your own stations and bring the contents to a recycling station once the wedding is over.
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Items that are grown near the location they will be used; an encouraged element for eco-friendly weddings.View the Full Weddings Glossary