According to Green Bride Guide, “Each one of the 2.5 million weddings this year in the United States will produce an average of 62 tons of carbon dioxide and 400-600 lbs
of garbage.” Wow! Having a green wedding is a wonderful way to add some personality to your celebration, while respecting the Earth. But planning an eco-friendly wedding can be challenging.
The good news is that you don’t need to spend a lot of green to have a green wedding. Plus, there are lots of easy ways to cut-back on your wedding’s carbon footprint, while bringing out your unique style.
Pro-Tips for Pulling Off Your Green Wedding
You may already know that using natural venues, local vendors, and shopping around for green products are not only better for the environment, but also provide plenty of options for adding your personal touch to what will be one of the most important days of your life.
Going beyond these basics, let’s get into some specifics about how to pull off your green wedding without sacrificing elegance or going over budget:
1. Choose a natural space for your venue.
Outdoor venues like a friend’s backyard, a barn, the beach, or the mountains provide lots of natural beauty as decoration for your event. Adding candlelight, instead of expensive traditional lighting, is a good way to save money and spare the electricity, which can be very difficult to provide for some outdoor venues. Besides what could be more romantic than the soft light of hundreds of candles reflecting off of water or reusable glass decor?
Additionally, plan to host your green wedding and reception at the same location. When you keep the wedding and reception at the same place, you save on transportation costs between two venues, burn fewer fossil fuels, and have more time to spend with your guests.
Of course, with any naturally beautiful space, one big challenge is providing restroom facilities for guests. Nothing kills the mood faster during an elegant wedding reception than watching guests tromp off into the woods to use the “natural” restroom. (Talk about taking your green wedding to the extreme!) Fortunately, Blue Ribbon can make sure that whatever natural outdoor space you choose is equipped with luxury restroom trailers. Choose from green options like fresh flowers or rolled cotton towels for drying hands. And all of our trailers come with automatic shut-off faucets to save water.
2. Source locally and in season food and flowers.
From food to flowers, check out what is in season for your menu and arrangements. Since food is one of the biggest ticket items for any wedding, consider serving heavy hors d’oeuvres instead of a big meal.
Using locally sourced food, like local fruit and vegetables, supports the area’s economy and adds regional flair to your wedding. When choosing a caterer, look for one who specializes in sustainable, organic, and free-range offerings. Farm-to-table offers fresh, healthy options that will make your menu unique and amazingly delicious too.
When choosing flowers, you don’t need to go fake to keep your wedding green. Instead, invest in your community and save on shipping costs and energy, by purchasing chemical-free, organic flowers from your farmer’s market. While your choice of flower variety will be limited by what’s seasonally available, mismatched flowers provide just the right rustic touch for an outdoor wedding. You could also ask a friend to grow flowers in their garden or plant your own special garden for your event.
Alternatively, online florists, such as Organic Bouquet, allow you to have more varietal options and are a good choice, especially if shopping locally isn’t realistic. Be sure to have guests take flowers home to maximize the eco-friendliness.
3. Don’t toss the plates.
Consider the non-perishable items that you use for your wedding too. If possible, ask your caterer to use cloth napkins, cloth tablecloths, real dishes, silverware, and glassware. Not only are these items more eco-friendly, they are also more elegant than non-reusable table settings. However, depending on the size of your wedding, using green dishes can be a budget-buster. If you must use disposable items, make sure to get biodegradable products.
4. Something borrowed.
Another major expense that can also feel extremely wasteful is wedding attire. Today there are many convenient options for borrowing or renting your wedding dress. Who really wants a dress taking up space and getting dusty in your closet for the rest of your life, anyway?
Remember the tradition: something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue! Making your dress the something borrowed is often a great way to get a more glamorous dress than what you could otherwise afford if you bought it outright. And with the average cost of a wedding dress around $1300, renting one for $100 saves you a lot!
One rental option to consider is Rent the Runway. Bridesmaids and the mothers of the bride and groom can get into the act by finding something here too. Also, it’s quite possible that one of your friends or family members have a dress you could borrow. Consider altering your mom’s dress or find another type of formal dress that could be reused and enhanced for this special occasion. Local consignment or vintage stores are often a great resource too. So many great green options here!
5. Give something meaningful and green.
Green centerpieces or tree planting kits can double as lovely favors for your guests to take home. Check out the great ideas at Plant a Memory. Or offer guests local gifts such as jam, beer, or wine as a favor. If you’d rather not give guests more stuff to take home and clutter their homes, why not donate to your favorite cause in honor of your guests. Your wedding tradition will continue long after you say “I do.”
6. Skip the paper invites.
Save the cost of mailing invitations and avoid adding paper to the recycle bin by using electronic invites. Evite, Punch Bowl, and Green Envelope offer cute, digital invitations that will save you lots of green! If you want to mail an invitation, send earth-friendly, plantable invites that include seeds. As your guests watch your their flower or plant grow, they will remember your special day.
Finally, at the end of the event, don’t forget to recycle! Make it simple for your green wedding guests and add cleverly camouflaged recycling and composting bins around the event venue. For additional tips, review our earlier blog post on the Top Ways to Recycle Wedding Items.
With these 7 tips, you’ll be ready to have a green, elegant, and cost-efficient wedding. There is no need to sacrifice the Earth or your values at your wedding. Your eco-friendly wedding will be even more meaningful for you and your guests.
At Blue Ribbon we are here to make your event, whether it’s green, blue, or purple, the best it can be. Contact us today! Your custom quote is waiting.