Friday, June 12, 2009

Goin to the chapel ...

It's June ... one of the most popular times in the U.S. to get married. If you aren't planning a wedding for yourself, chances are that you are planning one for a relative, participating in one or have been invited to one. And that means opportunities to "go green".

Here are some ideas for having an Eco-friendly wedding:
  • Elope or go to City Hall. Seriously! Weddings, even the most environmentally conscientious events, still have a larger carbon footprint than simply eloping. So consider a very small ceremony ... and save the planet.
If eloping or City Hall won't work, here are a few more ideas:
  • Instead of paper invitations and thank you notes, use electronic versions ... no paper, no stamps, no waste. If the electronic varieties don't work for you, opt for 100% recycled materials. And rather than include more paper and envelopes for RSVP purposes, ask your guests to email you or call.
  • Minimize the amount of driving your guests will need to do. Plan for the ceremony and reception to be in the same place or close to each other. Take your guest list into consideration and choose a location close to the majority of guests.
  • When choosing wedding attire, consider buying vintage clothing. Check with family members or second hand stores for dresses, suits, etc. How about renting wedding attire? After all, how much use will one get out of a wedding dress or tuxedo? If new frocks and suits are decided upon, make sure that they are made of earth friendly materials such as cotton, hemp or other organic blends. Taffeta and Polyester, traditional wedding dress material, may be beautiful but ... they are oil based materials.
  • Exchanging rings? These days diamonds are not anyone's best friend. Choose Eco-friendly and conflict-free gems, made with fair labor practices. Better yet, consider second hand jewelry or have rings made from recycled pieces.
  • Most cut flowers are anything but Eco-friendly. So, when choosing flowers, opt for certified organic varieties. Consider using flowers from your garden or perhaps carry a special item and forgo the bouquet altogether. For decorating guest tables, consider potted plants or herbs which could be given away at the end of the night.
  • Forgo things like wedding rice, party favors and place cards. If you must have these things, consider giving your guests bird seed to toss at the happy couple, packets of flower seeds as favors and names written on rocks instead of paper place cards.
  • Instead of traditional gifts, ask guests to make donations to a favorite charity, buy carbon offsets or contribute to such things as a house purchase, the honeymoon, or a fun experience (like diving or horseback riding). If gifts are appreciated, register with a "green" company like VivaTerra.
  • Are you providing your guests with a meal? How about beer, wine or other beverages? Be sure to opt for local, organic food and beverages. If possible, serve a meatless meal. If meat is a must, be sure to include enough meatless options so vegetarian/vegan guests will be accommodated. For toasting the newlyweds, choose organic champagne or sparkling cider. And remember to donate leftover food, or give it to guests, rather than throw it out.
  • If candles will be used in the ceremony or to decorate the reception, choose soy candles.
  • When the event is over, recycle everything possible or donate it to a local charity.
If you are attending a wedding, here are some ideas for you:
  • If you know of other guests living in your area, see if you can share a ride to the event. Or, consider public transportation instead of driving.
  • When giving gifts, choose Eco-friendly items and forgo wrapping materials. If you feel you must wrap a gift, use "green" wrapping such as cotton towels.
  • If you're given the choice, choose a meatless meal over the usual chicken or beef.

These are just a few ideas for having, or attending, a green wedding. As with anything, environmental consideration, when making choices, is the key. With a little thought and a little planning, saying "I do" won't hurt the earth ... and that's a match made in heaven.

Before we close, I'd like to offer a little reminder ... Wednesday's "Change The World" challenge is still in play. So make a commitment today. Click HERE to get the details. By the way ... you don't have to have a blog to participate ... the challenge goes out to everyone. If you don't have a blog, email your friends and family with the challenge or talk to co-workers ... put the challenge on a bulletin board ... scream it from the mountain tops (okay ... that last one was a bit over the top). :)

As always ... I would love to hear from you!