Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Green…
Beautiful, economical weddings can be sustainable and stylish, claim the books, websites and magazines flooding the wedding industry. Green Weddings align ethically conscious partnerships from the get-go.
I recently read two noteworthy books: The Everything Green Wedding Book by Wenona Napolitano is a great starter book with straightforward information. The Green Wedding Guide, Creating a Celebration That’s Elegant and Ethical by Valerie Edmunds is a concise and informative guide that includes easy and economical DIY projects.
The Everything Green Wedding Book states, “Excessive spending has overflowed into the wedding industry. In 2006, the average American wedding cost $27,825.00. Every year, more that $125 billion is spent on weddings in the US alone, and the costs keep going up.” Wow, I’ve got two kids in their 20′s. These numbers would set me back…Well, I can’t even go there.
What is a green wedding? It means that for all aspects of the wedding plans – from the products to the services – the impact on the planet is lessened.
Why create a green wedding? Let me count the reasons (from The Everything Green Wedding Book)…
1. To save trees
2. Reduce pollution
3. Cut down on landfill waste
4. Cut down or offset carbon emissions
5. Promote the growth and consumption of organic crops
6. Support green businesses
7. Increase the demand for green products
8. Support your local economy and save money
9. Buy from companies that supports and practices fair trade
10. Say no to products made in sweatshops
11. Give to charitable organizations
12. Inspire others to have green weddings or live greener lifestyles
Here are some tips for creating green weddings, adapted from the Green Wedding Guide:
Buy second-hand or rent. Most bridal gowns lose 90 percent of their value after they are worn once. If you decided to buy from a second-hand or thrift shop, you may consider an environmentally safe way to dry cleaning.
For disinfecting shoes, try this DIY disinfectant:
2 teaspoons borax
3 cups hot water
4 tablespoons vinegar
¼ teaspoon eco-friendly liquid soap
Hold the ceremony and reception at the same location. This cuts down on the total cost of the celebration in dollars and environmental impact. Outdoor, daytime, open-air ceremonies save on energy costs from artificial lighting to air-conditioning and/or heating. Here are a few ideas to help with eco-friendly location inspiration.
Live acoustic music sets the mood by providing an elegant touch. The natural sounds of live instrument fits well within the atmosphere of a green wedding.
Use pesticide-free garden blooms or locally grown organic flowers. Better yet, ask a friend with a flower garden to provide the flowers as their gift for the couple.
Make and decorate with eco-packaging. Popular choices are: organic chocolate, coffee beans, tea bags, candles, organic soaps, cookies, seed packets or bulbs and seedlings. Here is some DIY inspiration from Etsy.
Food and Drink
Reflect your choice to go green by buying local foods in season that are organically grown or raised. If you work with a caterer, find one who specializes in organic ingredients or is willing to seek out sustainable foods at your request. Ask the caterer what they do with leftover food. Suggest arranging for a local homeless shelter or agency committed to feeding less-fortunate to pick up remaining food.
Ditch the one-time use disposable cameras. Ask guests to bring digital cameras and email the pics to the couple. A digital videographer can also provide a lasting document.
The International Ecotourism Society provides some options here. Green Hotel Association encourages, promotes and supports the greening of the lodging industry. Brides magazine gives some suggestions for eco-friendly honeymoons too.
Gifts for the Couple
Cash is always a nice gift. Also, consider some of these choices:
• Home delivery of organic produce
• A gift basket of sustainable household items
• Gardening supplies
• Gifts of your friends’ talent
• Subscriptions or donations to green living publications
• Support fair Trade vendors
• Set up a green wedding registry of merchants you know sell eco-friendly products
• Give the gift of humor. My friends Liza Donnelly and Michael Maslin collaborated to write Cartoon Marriage, Adventures in Love and Matrimony. The book features more than 200 hilarious cartoons about love and marriage. Wedding planning and marriage can be stressful. Give a gift that helps the couple lighten up the situation.
• Remember to shop local and green, and support artists when possible.
Whether you are getting married, giving a wedding or reminiscing about your own wedding, kindly share your thoughts about making this memorable day green.
Ronnie Citron-Fink lives in New York with her husband, two children (when they come home to the nest), two dogs and a cat. Ronnie is a teacher and a writer. She has been a contributing writer for Family Fun magazine. She currently writes articles about education and home design. Her writings are in four books including Family Fun Home and Some Delights of the Hudson Valley.