Did you know that today more than 60% of brides want to include at least some eco-friendly elements in their wedding planning? It makes sense, because taking care of the earth means thinking about the future – and that is what weddings are all about. The great news is that the number of eco-friendly options has exploded over the last few years, and you can now make your wedding green no matter your style or budget. The trick is to keep the environment in mind as you walk through the planning process. Here are some easy ways to get started:
1. Set Up A Free Wedding Website
As soon as you get engaged begin working on your wedding website. You can find free wedding websites with optional matching eco-friendly invitations at mywedding.com. A website is a great place to store important information about your big day and eliminate the need to print hotel suggestions, directions, RSVP cards and gift registry information.
2. Select Ethical Wedding Rings
The average American couple spends over $7,000 on their engagement and wedding rings. Eco-conscious jewelers use recycled stones and metals, as well as ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones to craft beautiful, affordable and eco-friendly wedding rings. You can also have a vintage or family heirloom recast in a modern recycled gold setting.
3. Send An Eco-Friendly Wedding Invitation
The number of digital wedding invitation options is growing every day, but there is still something nice about getting a wedding invitation in the mail. That said, paper processing can be quite detrimental to the environment. Great eco-friendly wedding invitation options include tree-free paper, post-consumer waste recycled paper and FSC certified wood wedding invitations. You can also find plantable wedding invitations that include native wildflower seeds and all-in-one invitation designs that act as their own envelopes.
4. Wear An Eco-Friendly Wedding Dress
Most of the 2 million+ wedding gowns and countless bridesmaid’s dresses sold in the United States every year are made from non-renewable petroleum-based synthetic fabrics and are manufactured in sweatshops oversees. Many designers now offer eco-couture wedding gowns made from sustainable materials. An eco-chic bride can also buy vintage, have a family gown altered to fit your taste, or even rent a wedding gown.
5. Wear Non-Toxic Makeup
Sadly, most of the beauty products on the market today contain known carcinogens and neurotoxins. Your wedding is a great excuse to buy new non-toxic beauty products. Check the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database to find everything you need to look fabulous.
6. Buy Seasonal Flowers
Over half of the florists in the U.S. use imported flowers that are sprayed with pesticides and fungicides. These chemicals can be harmful to your health and contaminate waterways and drinking supplies. Using local, seasonal and organic flowers decreases fuel consumption and is often less costly than ordering exotic species and out-of-season blooms, which must be shipped in from overseas.
7. DIY Green Wedding Decor
No matter what your budget or theme, putting a little extra thought into both ceremony and reception decor will reduce one-time-use items. Something as simple as reusing ceremony floral arrangements at your reception will eliminate the need to purchase as many flowers. Use your location and the season for inspiration. For example, for a fall wedding use apples, pinecones or pumpkins to decorate your reception tables. Finally, favors are an easy thing to green and there are many beautiful eco-friendly wedding favor ideas to choose from.
8. Serve Local Food and Drinks
The average American meal travels 1,500 miles. No matter how you choose to design your menu, using in-season local and/or organic foods will decrease the carbon footprint of your meal while supporting the local economy. Organic caterers and green restaurants create menus bursting with fresh, seasonal foods. When available, provide guests with local wine, beer, and other beverages as well.
9. Register For Green Gifts
By creating a green wedding gift registry you can support sustainable businesses while educating your guests about eco-friendly products.
Ready to plan a green wedding? Visit the Green Bride Guide blog for tips, tricks and inspiration. Also check out the Green Bride Guide shop to find hundreds of eco-friendly wedding artisans for your big day.
Contributed by Kate L. Harrison. Kate is the author of The Green Bride Guide: How To Create An Earth-Friendly Wedding on Any Budget, the founder of www.greenbrideguide.com – the leading green wedding resource – and the Eco-Friendly Marketing Director at mywedding.com.