Great Ways to Make Your Wedding a Little Greener

By on May 15, 2014

Provide lasting memories on your wedding day in a meaningful event with a green twist. Hosting an environmentally friendly wedding can be easy with a little consideration given in the planning and buying for the event. 

A Greener Venue
When thinking about where to host, consider first where the majority of guests will be travelling from. Then, try to find a central location. The less travel for guests, the less fuel consumed. 

When choosing a venue, take into consideration any commitments to the environment they may have, such as green building design, environmentally-friendly practices or energy saving measures. Some resorts or venues offer natural, outdoor locations. Consider botanical gardens or other green outdoor locations like parks as potential venues. For indoor locations, get off the grid by having the event run on green energy, like wind power or solar panels.

Invitations
Web-based invitations are a natural for green weddings, but you don’t necessarily have to forego the traditional keepsake. Consider paper made from 100% post-consumer fibers manufactured using green energy sources. Fibers like bamboo and hemp also offer unique and lovely alternatives. Use a website or e-mail for RSVPs or use postcard RSVPs to eliminate envelope reply cards. 

Ordering invitations online? “Most companies are American; so, beware extra fees, particularly the brokerage fee charged by courier companies that adds up to a 30% surcharge on top of regular government taxes,” suggests Zerlene Mekdeci, PMP, WPIC, Director, Impressario Events www.impressarioevents.ca, “Find a Canadian dealer who knows about import charges and offers US Post shipping to avoid the brokerage.”
 
Transportation                

Carpooling or shuttle-bus pick up and drop-off from hotels to venue can help reduce emissions, and provides a designated driver for the festivities. Having the ceremony and reception at the same location or locations within waking distance, also eliminates the need for extra driving. 
 
Wedding Favours
Giving sweet almonds as a wedding favour symbolizing fertility, happiness, health, wealth and longevity is an Italian, Greek and Middle-Eastern tradition. Consider buying organic almonds in honey or make your own. Other eco-friendly wedding favours are fair-trade chocolate, local organic wine or honey, flower seeds, potted plants or tree seedlings. 

Decor and Flowers                                
Purchasing flowers from local farmers, reduces carbon emissions. Choosing organic growers reduces pesticide and preservative use. Some brides enjoy growing flowers for their wedding. Potted flowers can make a great take home keepsake that keep blooming in family and friends homes and gardens. When lighting the night, skip paraffin or petroleum based candles in place of  beeswax or soy candles, which are biodegradable and do not produce carcinogens or toxins as they burn. Rent instead of buy. Everything from archways, napkins, plates, tablecloths, tulle, vases and accessories can be rented instead of purchased to avoid extra cost and waste. 

Catering and Cake                                
Think local, fresh and organic. Choose your menu based on the time of year and the local selection of fruit, vegetables and meat available. This supports local farmers and reduces carbon emissions from transporting long distances. Seek an organic cake maker. Serve local organic wines and locally brewed organic beers. 

The Eco-Dress                                    
Choose a dress and bridal party attire made from natural materials, such as organic silk and have a dress made, or have a vintage dress modified to fit. A wedding dress doesn’t have to be new. “Buy a preowned wedding dress or sell your new gown after your wedding,“ suggests Josie Daga, the founder of PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com, “Either way, you’ll save 30-60% (or more!) on the cost of a dress – and help the planet at the same time!”                                          

Most grooms and groomsmen rent their entire outfit from the tuxedo to shoes which is a fantastic way to reduce and reuse. Have the bridesmaids pick their own dresses, they’ll be more likely to wear it again then, or ask them to wear a dress they already own.                                    

Rings                                            
Seek conflict-free, ethical diamonds. During the 1990s and the first decade of this century, hundreds of thousands of people were killed in wars fuelled by diamonds, across Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia and Sierra Leone. 

Some wedding ring manufacturers like Brilliance use 100% recycled gold, platinum, and silver, to decrease the global demand for newly-mined precious metals. Their recycled metals are gathered from post-consumer sources and are refined back to their original, pure state, so the quality of the pieces they create is uncompromised. Consider Brilliance, www.brilliance.com which strictly adheres to the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct and guarantees every diamond in their inventory is mined and processed in an environmentally and socially-conscious manner. Their diamonds are hand-picked by gemologists and each can be traced back to the region of their origin.

Consider vintage. “Beautiful vintage jewelry is a great choice for the big day. Choosing to go with an antique engagement ring or bands brings the craftsmanship, and uniqueness of an era full of elegance to your day,” suggests Todd Durnan, photographer, TJ Durnan Photography, www.tjdurnan.com, “Timeless, beautiful designs last forever.”                                                 

Photographer                                    
Ask for digital proofs to reduce paper and toxic chemical use prior to choosing the must have framable favourites. Create an on-line web album to share with friends and family.                                                                                

Gifts                                           
 If you are going to be buying gifts for the people in your wedding party, consider low impact options, such as specialty foods and wines. Consider local organic wine, fair trade chocolate or coffee or gifts from your favourite charity’s product line. Ask guests to give a donation to your favourite charity in lieu of a wedding gift. Or, ask for cash donations to your “honeymoon fund”. Most couples getting married nowadays, don’t need the traditional home start-up gifts.

About Charleen Wyman

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