How to Plan a Green Wedding – Real Tips Beyond the Fad

Sure, green weddings are all the rage, but the key is to make yours more than a trendy buzzword. It’s easy enough to find recycled wedding invitations and serve organic cuisine, but you’ll need to go the extra mile to make your wedding stand apart from the rest of the band wagon green weddings. Here are some tips to get you started:

Getting Started – Things To Consider:

Simplify – the overarching theme should be simplification. There are eco-friendly versions of most wedding products, but the best option is to forego the items altogether. Reuse wherever possible – and save not only resources, but cash too.

Weigh the expenses – that said, some items you just can’t live without, and usually the natural, organic, or green version is more expensive than the original. You’ll need to factor this into your wedding budget.

Patronize – many new companies have entered the growing green weddings market. Before booking your vendors, check out businesses that claim to provide green services and see if they really do.

Inform – one green turn deserves another. Let your guests know the steps you’ve taken to plan your green wedding, and show them that an elegant event doesn’t have to be harmful to the environment.

All In The Details – Ideas:

Stationery & Invitations

Recycle – use recycled paper or paper made from alternative fiber – such as hemp or bamboo. Check out these resources for an array of custom, recycled papers: Custompaper.com or JamPaper.com

Splurge on calligraphy – calligraphy may cost more, but it saves inks, toners, solvents and chemicals involved in printing.

Condense – save trees by minimizing inserts and other paper products. Always print on front and back and try to fit it all on one sheet.

Go completely green – send all correspondence via email. The etiquette gods may swoon – but electronic mailings are the most earth friendly way to go.

The Location

Rent for a cause – find a venue that will benefit from your site rental fee – such as a museum, gallery or other cultural organization.

Go outside – a beach, the woods, gardens – they all make an ideal setting for a green wedding (just be sure to leave it as you found it).

Find a green venue – some venues are demonstrating a commitment to saving water and energy, reducing waste, and serving locally grown/organic menus. Check out these resources for green minded venues: Green Hotels Association or Green Seal

Decor Elements

Use candlelight – not only are candles energy efficient, they also create a soft romantic glow for an elegant reception.

Use bamboo – one of the most sustainable materials on earth, bamboo is an earth friendly décor option with an organic, modern feel. Use bamboo stalks for centerpieces or other décor elements.

Flowers

Think double duty – invite your ceremony arrangements to the reception! You can use them to decorate your cake or gift table – you’ll waste less and save money doing it.

Buy organic, locally grown blooms – organic flowers are grown in an environmentally friendly way, without pesticides. Getting locally grown ones will save the fuel burned from transporting the flowers. If you can’t find a local florist who can provide organic blooms, visit OrganicBouquet.com

Conserve cut flowers – using cut flowers just once is a waste. See if you can share yours with another wedding party taking place on the same day.

Skip cut flowers altogether – top your tables with potted arrangements for guests to take and plant in their yards after the wedding.

Attire

Go secondhand – a used gown reduces fuels used in creating a new one.

Get green fibers – natural fibers like silk and organic cotton are better for the environment than synthetic

Go couture – if your wallet can afford it, couture gowns are usually made from natural fabrics.

Donate – provide a green gown decision for another bride when you give or sell yours after the wedding.

The Menu

Think organic – ensure that you, your guests and the workers won’t be exposed to pesticides. Many caterers specialize in organic foods; however, almost any caterer can provide an organic menu if you ask them.

Think local – if you’re concerned about the cost involved in a completely organic menu, go local instead. Serving locally grown food eliminates fuel reliance and supports local farmers. Check out Localharvest.org or Localfoodworks.org to find farmers markets, farms and other sources of local food.

Reuse utensils – find a caterer who recycles materials and or uses linen and china instead of disposables.

Donate the leftovers – work with your caterer to send leftovers to a food shelter or other organization.

You can find even more tips on planning a green wedding in this theme weddings guide.