Weddings are big business – and leave a big footprint on the environment. If you’re just starting your wedding planning and are interested in eco-friendly options for wedding invitations, favors, gowns, gifts and more, check out these ways to make your wedding a celebration not only for you and your family – but also for planet Earth.
It may seem like stationary choices are limited to specially printed designer invitations or to do it yourself printed packages, but there are invitations choices out there that are more environmentally conscious.
Whether you’re going to print invitations yourself at home, or have a professional print them for you, look for invites that use at least partly recycled fibers – and, if you’d like, add a note to the invite telling your guests about this choice to support the environment. Big family weddings can save two to three trees by using recycled paper invitations instead of new paper.
Green Wedding Favors
One of the most popular trends in environmentally-conscious weddings is for “plantable” wedding favors. Conventional wedding favors are usually cute but useless, and most of them end up in landfills overnight.
Plantable wedding favors are normally made of thick cardstock and can be any shape or size, but they have one thing in common: they contain seeds that will sprout once the entire favor is buried in the earth and watered. It’s not uncommon to do the same thing with invitations by printing them on handmade paper impregnated with wildflower seeds.
Earth-Friendly Wedding Gowns and Jewelry
It’s difficult to find wedding gowns in eco-friendly fabrics. Polyester, like plastic, is made from processed petroleum, and conventional cotton is grown using almost six pounds of pesticides per acre. Some wedding boutiques and brands specialize in fabrics like hemp, flax, organic cotton, and silk that are more Earth-friendly and sustainable.
By the same token, you’ll want to avoid purchasing jewelry such as blood diamonds associated with poor labor practices. Alternatively, you can go for lab created diamonds which have absolutely identical properties to those traditionally mined. It’s possible to educate yourself online and by asking knowledgeable jewelers; or, avoid the issue entirely by wearing antiques or jewelry that has been passed down through the family.
Local and Organic Wedding Food
The food served at the wedding reception may be the best opportunity to express environmentally friendly principles. Some serve casual fare at their wedding, while others go with a glamorous many-course meal. Make a statement at your wedding by finding a caterer willing to serve only local or organic food. It’s an eco-friendly choice that your guests will take note of not only for your principles, but for how amazing everything tastes!
The same applies to the flowers on the reception tables and in the bride’s bouquet, which can be found from local and sustainable growers.
Green Wedding Gifts
Instead of registering at one or more stores, consider asking your guests to make a donation to a charity of your choice in honor of your wedding. Or, if you’re concerned about the energy used and waste produced by the wedding reception, donate money yourself to an organization that will plant trees to offset the carbon footprint of the event.
Remember to think ahead and plan environmentally friendly options for cleanup (reduce, reuse, recycle!) and for out-of-town guests’ transportation to the event – like bussing friends and family from the Church to the reception in a group rather than taking several cars.
There are plenty of eco-friendly options when it comes to wedding arrangements. With a little care and attention to detail, it’s easy to make any event’s invitations, food and other plans a little bit greener.