A wedding is a special celebration, but can be very expensive – not just in terms of dollars spent, but also in the impact all facets have on the environment. Luckily, there are many ways to lessen the impact of wedding festivities; here are ten ideas to consider.
1. Consider recycled metal for the rings and buying a diamond from a manufacturer that subscribes to fair labor practices. Gold mining in particular is very environmentally destructive; utilizing gold from existing jewelry is a naturally renewable resource with no compromise in quality.
2. For the Save-the-Date cards and invitations, choose recycled and recyclable paper and select colors other than bright white, which contains chemical bleach.
3. When registering for gifts, look into green gift registries; choose stores that donate a portion of sales to a charity, and register for recycled house wares and those made from sustainable materials.
4. For the wedding gown, consider wearing vintage; if a new dress is important, select materials such as organic hemp or organic silk, which are less resource-intensive than cotton.
5. Cut flowers are usually quite toxic, both to the workers who grow them and to the environment. Transportation and emissions costs also come into play for flowers which are not grown locally. Select locally-grown and organically-farmed flowers.
6. For place cards, choose eco-friendly bamboo card holders, which can be reused for photos after the wedding. Another alternative is to use recycled-paper plantable place cards with embedded wildflower seeds; guests can enjoy planting flowers after the wedding festivities.
7. Centerpieces can be beautiful as well as green; live perennials or baby bushes can be taken home by guests and planted in their yards. Recycled glass bowls are another eco-friendly centerpiece idea.
8. For the menu, try to stay with local, seasonal, and organic foods as much as possible. Since one pound of beef requires 826 gallons of water to produce, consider a beef-free entree.
9. Ideas for eco-friendly wedding favors include plants, bulbs, or seeds. Plantable seed favors can be personalized with the couple’s names and to match the wedding decor.
10. Don’t forget to stay with the green theme when planning the honeymoon! Research eco-friendly travel ideas at websites from the likes of the International Ecotourism Society, the Greener Lodging Directory, and Travel Organic. When you check in, request that the housekeeping staff not change your towels and sheets daily.