In addition to the invitations, food and flowers, you can treat your guests with eco-friendly wedding favors. Giving guests bird seed wrapped in recycled cloth or tree bulbs that can be planted are good ways of thanking your loved ones for sharing your special day while giving back to the environment. You can also consider setting up "recycling bins" at your reception, so that guests can place any recyclable items there, instead of in the trash.
Ah, weddings. The flowers and gifts, the cake and the dress—there is so much to do and so many decisions to make. While you once only had to choose between vanilla or chocolate, roses or orchids, today there are so many more decisions for brides- and grooms-to-be. The environment is on everyone's minds lately, and while you want the memories of your special day to last forever, you might balk if it will cause lasting damage to our planet. Here are some ideas on making your big day better for the Earth without hurting your wallet.
Cut the Paper, Not the Cake
Traditionally a lot of stationery is involved in getting hitched. From wedding announcements to shower invitations to thank-you notes and finally, of course, the actual wedding invitation, you can feel like you are opening your own print shop. Consider using tree-free or recycled paper for the essentials. In some cases, like for shower invitations, you can even go paper-free by inviting friends and family online. It may not be something Emily Post would have done, but we live in a different time.
Maybe you buy organic at the grocery store or regularly hit your local farmers' market. Why not incorporate that same philosophy into the cake, dinner or hors d'oeuvres you serve your wedding guests? Ask your caterer what they can suggest for your reception that is organic, local or sustainable. Not only will you be doing your own small part to go green, but you just might lure one of your guests over to the green side.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Another way to go green is to opt for a vintage dress— or make your own with natural fabrics such as silk or hemp. If you opt to use a vintage dress, or even honor your mom or grandmother by wearing her gown, you will most likely be saving money as well as helping the environment. If your mother's dress is a bit dated, or the wrong size, you can incorporate it into a new design with natural fabric that is right for you. A designer dress— without the designer price tag—what a beautiful idea.
'Tis Better to Give
And then there are the gifts. Family and friends will want to give you a present to mark the special occasion and even here you have green options. You can select gift items through an online organic registry. Everything from sheets to towels to shower curtains is now available in organic and sustainable materials. If you and your spouse really want to give something back, request that your guests make a donation in your name to an environmental cause in your area.
With This Ring
Last but not least, even your wedding band can have an effect on the environment. Some jewelers now offer wedding rings made from recycled gold. And here's another opportunity for you to get creative: If you both have old jewelry or family heirlooms that you would like to reuse, seek out a jeweler that will use the metal to create something new to honor the lifelong commitment you are making to each other.