Depending on their size and scope, weddings can be labor- and money-consuming. From preparation to clean-up, the wedding venue sees a lot of foot traffic, beverage spillage, wasted food, and parking congestion.
With so much conspicuous consumption, it is little surprise that these events take an environmental toll. That’s why it’s important to reign in the waste that comes with special events.
In an age of greater ecological consciousness, brides, grooms, and their families look to reduce the environmental impact of ceremonies and receptions.
Below, we discuss ways to minimize the ecological footprint.
Reaching Out, Sustainably
Before guests attend a wedding, they should have an invitation. A wedding element that is subject to greater sustainability is invitations.
Invitations are often keepsakes and printed on paper material straight from the tree. However, stationers using recycled paper produce similar and elegant invites. Better still, these require less harvesting of timber. The bride and groom may even save a few bucks upon ordering them. Along the same lines is the use of seed paper, i.e., where a potted plant provides the paper material as opposed to a felled tree doing so.
To really save the environment, consider not sending invitations at all. An email invitation saves on paper and prevents ecological footprints. You can also use other social media sites to invite loved ones. Facebook is an example of setting up an event with an invite option.
Location, Location, Location
Traditionally, the ceremony is held at one site, such as a house of worship. The reception occurs at a reception hall, hotel ballroom, or country club. During these events, the use of electricity is heavy. And, the transportation between locations is a producer of fuel emissions.
Consolidating your wedding to one place is a step in the right environmental direction. How do you go about doing this?
Some couples opt for outdoor weddings, illuminated only by abundant sunlight. National, state, and county parks are popular choices for couples getting married. Alternatively, many venues boast Energy Star ratings and certifications as green buildings.
If you want to save on electricity, remember when the sun rises and sets in your wedding location. Plan your wedding accordingly to use natural lighting instead of using electricity.
Soft-Petal the Flowers
Is it even a wedding without the colors and fragrances of flowers everywhere?
Yet having many flowers amounts to many freshly cut plants, which is not optimal for the environment. If newly cut flora is the choice, use local growers and select in-season blooms. That way, you won’t be taking away from nature and causing harm.
Other strategies include using plants and trees that can be re-planted later at home or elsewhere. If you desire traditional floral options, find a florist who will accept the flowers back after your wedding for composting. Composting the flowers puts needed nutrients back into the soil.
Food is central to the success of any wedding reception. Of course, you want your guests to enjoy their meal! That is acknowledged, certain aspects of selecting food are greener than others.
Ask yourself questions to decide the best course of action for your wedding. For example, how much of the food is grown locally? Where do the seafood, poultry, and beef originate?
The shorter the trip, the lower the emissions. Another question for the caterer is whether the fruits and vegetables used are in season. Otherwise, these too must come through long-distance transport.
You shouldn’t have to get your reception food from a faraway city. People appreciate fresh food grown nearby and in season. Consider all these factors as you decide which food your guests will eat during the wedding.
Addressing the Dresses
Every bride knows the frustration of picking bridesmaid dresses that please everyone. Trying to keep things environmentally friendly only adds to the stress. Still, it does not have to be that way.
For one thing, these gowns are often available for rent. This way, the dress gets used again, which is better than a bridesmaid keeping a one-off dress that may never see daylight again. If men can rent their formal wear, why not the ladies?
If you decide to buy bridesmaid dresses (check out a beautiful collection here!), ensure they can double as special event wear. Your bridesmaids should be able to wear their dresses again instead of letting them sit in their closets for the foreseeable future.
Another option is selling the dresses to a consignment shop after the event.
Going Green on the Big Day
The above are just a few ideas regarding improved environmental impact for wedding events. None of them require radical departures from tradition. With a bit of reflection, brides, grooms, and their loved ones can discover many ways to make the wedding eco-friendly.