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Green Your Wedding – Ideas & Tips

Posted by Jeffra on Apr 22, 2010

Tips from the Green Bride Guide

Green Your Travel

The impact of wedding-related travel is significant. Consider a small-ish wedding of about a hundred guests; even if four guests pile into a car (which is unlikely; most cars probably only carry two guests), that’s still twenty-five vehicles driving from one location to the next and contributing to global warming. One of the easiest ways to cut down on your wedding’s travel footprint is to have your ceremony and reception in the same place.

If a single location for both parts of your wedding celebration is not a good option for you, consider hiring a bus or van to move everyone en masse. If you provide snacks and drinks on board, a wedding bus can be a real highlight for you and your guests.

eco friendly transportation, weddings ideas and trends green weddings favors gifts Photo Credit: Studio Mathewes

According to The Wedding Report, about 75% of couples travel to and from their wedding in a limousine, at an average cost of $674. What about a more eco- and potentially budget-friendly option? Imagine the attention and excitement you and your intended would receive if you traveled to your wedding on some form of public transportation. Even better, consider the unique, arty photographs that could result from a ride on the trolley, bus, or subway. More romantic and personalized options could include a tandem bicycle for the athletic couple, an elegant horse and carriage ride, or a rowboat or sailboat for the wedding at water’s edge.

eco friendly transportation 2, weddings ideas and trends green weddings favors gifts Photo Credit: Jeff Downie

Choose to Reuse

Much of the wastefulness of weddings comes from the multitude of single use items that are associated with them. Clothing, décor pieces, and even leftover food can find a use beyond the trashcan if you plan ahead.

When you consider bridal party attire, think with future use in mind. The men can purchase new suits that they’ll wear again and again, or coordinate their looks with formalwear they already own. If tuxedos are a must, rentals are the best option since most men do not have a need for a tuxedo in their personal wardrobe. Women’s attire can be a little trickier, but matching gowns in one color are the hardest type to reuse. Instead, bridesmaids and children in the wedding party can be given a color palette from which to choose something they already own, or to purchase something they will wear again.

The bride herself can consider refashioning a family or vintage gown, or buying a once-worn gown on a site like SmartBride Boutique. If her heart is set on a new gown, she can consider reselling or donating it afterward. Bridal shoes are also typically a one-time wear. Like gowns, these can be bought once-worn and then resold after, or the bride can choose shoes in a color besides white that she is more likely to wear again.

eco friendly transportation 3, weddings ideas and trends green weddings favors gifts Photo Credit: Jonathan Canlas

Leftover food and flowers can also find another use after the wedding, but these details require advance arrangements. Contact local hospitals or nursing homes ahead of time to see if your flowers can brighten up their patients’ days after your wedding. Arrange to donate your leftover food to a shelter or soup kitchen so none of it goes to waste.

Even décor pieces can be repurposed or reused. Sites like Recycled Bride and Brideshare allow couples to share or resell décor pieces to save money and cut down on waste. Think creatively when it comes to décor pieces that have the potential to be one-time use items, and get tossed in the trash after your wedding. For example, many couples choose a disposable aisle runner for their ceremony. Instead, why not use a sprinkling of organic flower petals to demarcate your aisle?

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Photo Credit: Michele Waite

Other options include using a runner carpet from a special family member’s home, or framing your aisle with soy candle-filled mason jars for an elegant touch to an evening ceremony.


Meaningful Favors

How will your guests remember your day? It can be hard to come up with a small gift to give to over a hundred guests that will be a meaningful token of your appreciation, and a fitting reminder of your day. More often than not, guests leave a wedding with a tiny trinket that eventually gets thrown in the trash.

Consider instead something that your guests will be happy to see every day as they remember your special day. Plantable items, like seeds and tree saplings, are growing in popularity as wedding favors, especially because of the wonderful symbolism they provide: they grow and blossom, just like your love.

Colorado Blue Spruce sapling favors

meaningful wedding favors, weddings ideas and trends green weddings favors gifts Photo Credit: Frederick Ng

Edibles make perfect eco-friendly favors too. Chocolates are a popular option, but if you’re looking for something a bit different, you still have choices. You could create a candy station and allow your guests to fill a kraft bag with their favorites. Perhaps there is a local specialty in your area that would be a delicious reminder of your wedding day, like a tiny bottle of maple syrup for a Vermont wedding, or a miniature bottle of wine for a vineyard celebration. You might even gift your guests with a sweet and creative take-home treat: cookies cut and decorated to coordinate with the theme and colors of your wedding.

Apple-shaped cookie favors

meaningful wedding favors 2, weddings ideas and trends green weddings favors gifts Photo Credit: Ellie Grover

In our final article next week, we’ll be sharing tips about incorporating eco-friendly DIY projects, greening your décor (no matter what your wedding colors are!), and offsetting the aspects of your wedding that can’t be reduced, reused, or recycled.

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