So, the knee has been bent, the question has been asked, the positive answer given. Now comes the (un)fun part: organizing the wedding. Along with choosing the band, the cake, the colour of your linens, some couples are beginning to ask how they can make their special day more sustainable? After the break, sustainablog will present some of our favourite ways of making a wedding into a green wedding.
Tip #1: Invite less Guests
While probably not a very popular idea, the smaller the number of guests, the smaller the number of invitations that have to be sent out, the smaller the number of guests who will drive themselves to and from the venue, and the easier it will be to organize something small and intimate. The best part? It costs less!
Tip #2: Buy Green Power
Services such as Bullfrog Power can help supply your venue with green power. That way, you can rock until the wee hours on the power of the wind and the sun.
Tip #3: Flowers
Rather than flowers that are imported, use flowers that are locally grown, and if you’re lucky, pesticide-free. Best of all, they’ll probably last longer too.
Tip #4: Wedding Rings: Reuse and Recycle
Thanks to the recent price surges in gold, buying those wedding bands can be quite the pricey venture. Also, you’re concerned about the environmental implication of gold extraction, and you’d like to avoid that if possible. One way is to see if you can get your hands on some old, beat-up gold. If you’re lucky, there may even be some in your family (your great-great-grandfather had some jewelry that was fashionable at the time, but has since fallen out of favour, and is probably going to remain that way). However you track it down, take the scrap gold to a jeweler who specializes in gold. There, they can smelt the gold for you, and help you create one of a kind pieces that nobody else will have (and, if you’re really lucky, you may have extra gold which can be used to pay for the rings themselves).
Tip #5: Invitations, do They Really Need ALL that Paper?
Instead of printing out invitations and mailing them, what about a designing a handy website? This way, you can keep your guests up-to-date (bonus: guests respond electronically, and you don’t have to worry about illegible handwriting, lost reply cards, or even inputting the answers into your computer!).
If you feel you have no choice but to send out some invitations, think about how to reduce the amount of paper that you’re actually using. Many people follow the quaint custom of slipping the invitation into an envelope, which is then slipped into a larger envelope (someone told me that it has to do with when invitations were hand-delivered, and the double envelope prevented inclement weather from ruining the invitation). For one, drop the double envelope, and think about using environmentally-friendly printers (see tip # 7).
Tip #6: Instead of Shwag: Donate
How often have you gotten a wedding favours that you’ve either thrown out, or stored in a closet to gather dust? Instead of doing the same thing to your guests, take the money that you would have spent on the giveaway, and donate it to your favourite charity (or charities).
Tip #7: Print Using Environmental Printers
When printing up your wedding invitation (if you’re not going electronic) and wedding guides, choose to use a printer who is ecologo certified.
Tip #8: Buy Vintage
While this tip may not be for everyone, since you’re not the first people to get married, there’s a good chance that someone is trying to sell their old dress/tuxedo/tie-dye shirt on Craigslist or Ebay. That’s assuming that you strike out at some of your local used clothing stores.
Tip #9: Location, location, location
Rather than saying your vows in one place and then partying in another, think about combining both in the same, transit-accessible locale. That way, your guests can arrive and not have to commute from one location to another.
Tip #10: Green Catering
OK, so you’ve got the perfect caterer. This is the person that is going to make or break dinner, and you don’t want to compromise and go with some outfit that you’ve never heard of. That’s fair enough. But, you can always ask your caterer if they source their foodstuffs locally, and if not, if they could. Who knows, this may be just the opportunity that they were looking for to explore new local suppliers that can provide good quality, fresh ingredients!
Let’s hear from you: do you have any great green wedding ideas?
For More Tips:
Photo Credit: Allyrose18 via Flickr
You could also have a donation made for each item purchased off a registry.
And, if the there is a need for yarmulkes, try using Zara-Mart, an Israeli company that makes “eco-suede” kippot which are made of recycled cardboard. You not only support Israel’s economy but also reduce the usage of leather consumption.
Tip #4: Wedding Rings: Reuse and Recycle
There is also a website called http://www.exboyfriendjewelry.com. It sells unwanted rings along with other things. But it is a way for us to recycle!!
Some great ideas here, although I must admit I’m not convinced by second hand rings unless they’re handed down throw the families. As this is something that you’ll hopefully keep and wear for the rest of your life I think it is worth making the investment – bit like a decent tattoo 🙂
Inviting less guests could more than pay for new rings in the savings. When I got married we only invited close friends to the meal except for bestman and bridesmaids of course. Then friends came for the disco in the evening.
Another idea that could save a lot of money is to hire a cake and then use a cheap cake for eating, check out http://www.cakerental.com. When you think some couples spend more on a wedding cake then their photographer you know things have just got out of perspective.
Fresh local flowers is a great idea and help boost the local economy – very important right now!
As well as having the ceremony and reception at the location, one could also consider cheaper location. In England we have some very old pubs/hotels that make wonderful wedding locations and are very photogenic. If this is too much there are other possibilities like local sports grounds that will have the added bonus of cheap drinks. You can then hire a marque to host your guest and bring in your own catering and entertainment. This doesn’t mean you can’t also have some great wedding photos to remember the day by as there are bound to be public beauty spots close by where you can go and escape from all the hustle and bustle of the wedding day for a while.