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Ten Ways to Green Your Wedding

 

You’ve probably already considered the impact of a traditional wedding on your pocket. But lavish weddings with all the bells and whistles also have a tremendous impact on the environment. Diamonds fuel conflict and bloodshed in third world countries. Flowers leave behind soils saturated with pesticides. And the transportation of anything and everything, including your guests, means fossil fuels and carbon emissions.

What’s an eco-conscious bride to do? Fortunately, there are greener alternatives to every aspect of a wedding. Here are ten ways to reduce the environmental impact of your big day. Green is the new white!

  1. Keep it small. A small conventional wedding is still greener than a big wedding with organic food, flowers, and recycled paper invitations. Fewer people mean fewer resources and less waste, period. So start by chiseling down your guest list to only the people you truly love and want to have with you at your wedding. Don’t be guilt tripped into inviting anyone else.

  2. Go vintage. Whether your own tastes run to dainty Edwardian tea dresses or to flamboyant 1950s ball gowns, vintage dresses make fantastic wedding and bridesmaid dresses. They cost less, require few new resources, and can be worn after the wedding.

  3. Reuse…diamonds. If you have a hideous diamond ring that was handed down to you by your great grandmother, you can have the diamond reset in a new ring. Many new diamonds are ‘blood’ or ‘conflict’ diamonds that are responsible for violence and slave labor. For a less ironic symbol of your everlasting love, go for a vintage diamond or a conflict-free one. As always, the fewer new resources you use, the lighter your environmental footprint.

  4. Think local, seasonal, and organic when it comes to flowers and food. Your food will taste better and pollute less. Donate your leftovers and compost the flowers after the big day.

  5. Skip the wedding favors. Most of them get tossed soon after the wedding. If you must have favors, go for something biodegradable, plantable, edible, and/or with minimal packaging.

  6. Use recycled paper for your invitations, skip the glossy finishes that make them unrecyclable, and cut your paper trail to a minimum. That’s what the internet is good for!

  7. Offset your carbon footprint by donating to a green non-profit organization such as Nature Conservancy, WWF, Environmental Defense Fund, etc.

  8. Instead of gifts, ask your guests to make a donation in your name to a green organization. Do you really need two toasters? Probably not.

  9. Hold your wedding outdoors to reduce the need for decorations and electricity. Gardens, beaches, vineyards, and parks are all potentially suitable locations.

  10. Elope. If you are a diehard treehugger, getting married at the local courthouse is as close to zero impact as you can get. Instead of living the romance, you’ll be saving the planet.
     

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