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Here Comes the (eco-savvy) Bride

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Here Comes the (eco-savvy) Bride

Tying the knot? There are many ways to make your wedding environmentally friendly. Here are 12 tips to make your special day sustainable as well as unforgettable.

Tying the knot? There are many ways to make your wedding environmentally friendly. Here are 12 tips to make your special day sustainable as well as unforgettable.

When purchasing products, look into using borrowed, rented, or second-hand items before purchasing new ones (tuxedos, gowns, centrepieces, party favours). Use your mother’s old veil. If new items are purchased, consider buying products from companies and countries that do not use child labour. Support companies that donate a percentage of their profits to environmental causes.

Borrow from nature for centrepieces and place-settings. Interesting sticks, stones, lichens, or mosses around a soy candle make a beautiful setting. Guests can take the soy candle home as a party favour.

Print invitations on recycled or recyclable paper. Do the same for response cards and thank-you notes. Most stores offer these options. An alternative to paper invitations is to email or telephone guests. Use an eco-conscious provider.

Select an organic flower source or consider growing your own bouquets. Recycle flowers when the ceremony is over by giving them to a local hospice or care home.

Avoid disposable items such as plastic cutlery, paper plates, disposable cameras, and tacky wedding favours that most guests will throw away anyway.

Serve organically grown food, which puts fewer fertilizers and pesticides into the environment and into your body and promotes sustainable agriculture. Consider a vegetarian menu. Plant proteins use fewer valuable resources, meaning less land and water per pound than livestock. Buy organic champagne.

Choose a conflict-free diamond. (Many diamonds come from Sierra Leone and Angola where rebel military groups terrorize the people and profit from mining operations). Consider buying a vintage diamond. If your heart is not set on the precious gem, nix the diamond altogether and opt for a simple band or other type of ring that has value to you.

Look for a wedding dress made of organic materials or buy a previously owned gown. Some simple alterations can make for a perfect fit.

Get your friends and family involved. Perhaps an aunt or other family member will make a homemade wedding cake. Have a photographer friend take the photos and a musician friend play the music. Have a potluck reception. You’ll be surprised how many people are happy to get involved; the wedding then becomes more intimate and interactive, and less of a spectacle.

When selecting a venue, choose one where you can have both the wedding and the reception to eliminate extra driving. You may be able to have a beautiful wedding on a friend’s property or family member’s home. Perhaps a small wedding in the comfort of your own home is possible. Have a hometown bachelor/bachelorette party–you’ll spend less money and more time having fun.

If you have the time and the resources for a honeymoon, be mindful of your destination. If your heart’s set on travelling by air to an exotic locale, consider purchasing carbon offsets. Look for a hotel that has adopted sustainable practices. (One place to start your search for a “green hotel” is at greenhotels.com, which lists hotels with water-and energy-conserving programs.) Another option is to travel locally.

When the ceremony has come to a close, give away as much as possible: donate flowers to a local hospital, send leftover food to a homeless shelter, and take your dress to a resale shop.

Simplify wherever you can without compromising your sacred day. Fewer details will translate into less stress, less overconsumption, and more fun for you and your loved ones. Create your own traditions. It’s worth it!

Green Wedding Resources

  • Eco-chic Weddings by Emily Anderson (Hatherleigh Press, 2007)
  • portovert.com–a web magazine for eco-savvy brides and grooms
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