Looking to put a green spin on your wedding? It’s not as hard as it seems. There are loads of resources out there to help point you to the many different ways you can create a beautiful, fun and environmentally-conscious wedding. Lucky for you, I’ve already done most of the leg work and researched the following tips for staying green on your wedding day!
Gifts for your Guests
Picking out wedding favours can be a daunting task, however, there are quite a few cute ideas out there that aren’t wasteful or excessive. Choosing reusable or consumable products with a minimal (or even a positive) impact on the environment are best. Small potted plants or herbs, fresh apples or other edible products are great. Consider making a homemade preserve with your fiancé and bottling in a reusable glass mason jar for an adorable, personable touch. These reusable stainless steel water bottles from Think Outside the Bottle can be personalized for your wedding and will help your guests to act environmentally friendly even after the wedding is over. Or, to completely eliminate any waste, skip the wedding favours and make a donation to your favourite charity instead.
There are so many stylish looking wedding invitations to chose from, and quite a few of them are already made from recyclable materials by awesome, eco-conscious designers. Check out this example from the website Something Green Weddings, showcasing fabulous looking handmade, sustainable invitations. Another trend for green weddings is to go completely paperless! There are several websites and programs specializing in e-invitations for your big day. Check out Wedding Tracker, Wedding Window and EWedding.
Flowers are still the centrepiece of choice for many brides, and you can go this way while remaining eco-friendly. Choose your flowers from a local, sustainable grower, and be sure to ask a lot of questions about their growing practices. Another great way to eliminate waste is to have take-home centrepieces that are either useful or edible for your guests. Live plants that will continue to grow, or a small tower of cupcakes that one lucky guest at the table will win during the night, can be fun, while staying green.
If you’re willing to get over the desire to buy a brand-new, super expensive wedding gown that you’ll probably never wear again – there are a couple stellar options for staying green while deciding on your dress. Creating a re-designed gown is fun and unique, and you can work with a seamstress to re-vamp a previously owned or vintage gown to change it into something beautiful for your special day. Be sure to sell or donate your dress after the wedding, if you can’t alter it into something you might wear again, to repeat the cycle of reusing.
Gowns made from sustainable material such as hemp and silk, and suits from bamboo, are also available if you have the resources to purchase from a designer working with these materials. Toronto designer Margaret MacLeod has an entire Eco Collection – and they are absolutely beautiful.
When designing your wedding rings look for fair trade metals and Canadian diamonds.
Look for salons and spas that feature eco-friendly, organic cosmetics and have made a commitment to promoting these products to their customers. All-natural beauty products are not only easier on the environment, but easier on your skin and body. If possible in your area, book the entire wedding party at an eco-spa, like the Eco Chic Spa in Whistler, BC.
We all know that most couples have been living together long before their wedding – so let’s be honest – how many major household items do you really need? If you can admit that you already have most of the important items for your home covered, opt for giving your guests the option of donating to a charity in lieu of purchasing you a gift. If there are actually items that you need, keep it to a minimum and don’t just register gifts for the sake of registering. According to website savourycity.com one green wedding trend is to register gifts in kind. Create a list of specialized jobs, duties or skills that you may need in the near future from your guests and have those as your wedding gifts! (Example, your interior designer friend may lend her services for your new living room in lieu of a physical gift).
This one is easy. Work with a venue or caterer who can source locally and (if you have the resources) mainly organic. By featuring local items your menu will not only be seasonal and delicious, but will have a smaller carbon footprint. Feature local and/or organic wines and beer, if you can.
Stay in the Dark
Be sure to work with a venue where candles are permitted, and dimmers are available in the ceremony and reception rooms. This will not only save energy but create a romantic and dreamy atmosphere for your special day.
When choosing your cake topper, there are actually quite a few eco friendly options to consider. Locally sourced flowers can come in handy once again for a colourful and natural look, figurines made of sugar paste, which is both edible and biodegradable, or, find artisan-made toppers that double as adorable keepsakes like designer Heather at Star House is doing, using recycled wood. I found these on an awesome online sustainable wedding directory and blog called The Natural Wedding Company.
Simply by doing some extra research about your hotel or resort, you can ensure that you are being a responsible honeymooner! Also, consider offsetting your carbon emissions from the trip. Or for the more adventurous, head out on a low-impact camping trip or eco-adventure as newly weds.
Happily Ever After
Even if you choose to implement a only couple of these tips on your wedding day, it will have a positive impact on the environment and your memory of the big day. Hopefully your efforts will be shared with the wedding guests and they will also take away new information and tips for their own practices. Showing your guests your commitment to the environment on the most special of days adds a personable and passionate touch to your wedding. Good luck and congratulations!