- Use recycled paper for your invitations
- By using recycled paper, you can save a lot of paper and a lot of trees, especially considering how many pieces of paper get mailed out (directions, return envelopes, etc… )
- Use electronic communication for invitations, updates, and replies
- Save money and trees by announcing, inviting, and updating people online or via email. You can also ask people to reply online or via email.
- Consider treeless paper
- You can also get invitations made from bamboo, hemp or kenaf.
- Don’t use toxic ink
- When printing your invitations, make sure the ink you use, is not toxic. Many inks are, so this is something you can easily ask about (or purchase if you’re printing your own).
- Get a simple ring
- A simple ring will take fewer resources – natural resources and energy - than a more complicated one.
- Consider a pre-owned, re-fashioned ring
- A pre-owned or re-fashioned ring takes fewer natural resources.
- Try a wooden wedding ring
- A wooden wedding ring, while not traditional, does not require the natural resources or energy that traditional rings require.
- Make sure it’s not a blood diamond
- A simple web search can tell you all of the negative things associated with blood diamonds; make sure your ring is conflict free. A jeweler should be able to tell you the origin of your ring. If they’re not willing to help you figure it out, go elsewhere.
Early Planning Tips
- Cut the guest list
- Fewer people means less consumption of food, drinks, decorations,. . .pretty much everything.
- Reuse & Recycle
- If you know someone who recently got married, then perhaps they have some decorations, silk flowers, ideas, or suggestions that you can reuse or recycle. If nothing else, it will save you time researching these things!
- Pick a venue that is outdoors (and free!)
- Selecting a venue like an area of a forest or part of a beach is beautiful and free! It takes advantage of the nature that is easily accessible.
- Think about where your guests are from
- When picking a venue, consider where your guests are traveling from. Try to find a place in the middle. After all, the less your guests will have to travel, the cheaper for them and the less oil consumed.
- If you pick indoors, pick with windows
- Try to select a venue that has natural light so you don’t have to use electricity as much.
- Think about asking your guests to purchase carbon offsets
- Encourage guests to purchase carbon offsets or donate to an earth-friendly organization to compensate for their travel. Explain to them what an offset is and how they can purchase them.
- Car or van pool from hotel to reception
- Rather than have everyone drive from their hotel to the wedding reception, organize a car pool or hire a van or bus to transport everyone to & from the venue. You save fuel and ensure your inebriated friends get home safely.
- Require a color, not a dress
- Ask your bridesmaids to buy a dress that they will wear again – in whatever color you choose, if you want. If they can re-wear, it’s that much better.
- Limit the wedding party
- A smaller wedding party means fewer expenses for tuxes and dresses, as well as gifts for the wedding party.
Favors & Centerpieces
- Donate as the favor
- Instead of buying things that might get tossed into a drawer, consider donating money to a charity as the favor. You can have the DJ announce this donation. Tip: Don’t say that you donated “on behalf of” your guests! You don’t want people to get upset that you donated on their behalf to an organization that they may not support.
- Plant a tree as a Favor
- Plant a tree (or many trees) as the favor to your guests.
- Give seeds
- Give seeds as the favor so that people can plant on their own.
- Give a basket of green products
- Come up with a list of some green products and items and give those as the favor.
- Make the favors the centerpieces
- By using the favors as the decorative centerpiece, you don’t have to use more flowers or purchase other decorative items. And hopefully the favors will be useful and re-useable.
- Consider a pre-owned dress
- Try a wedding dress that is from your family or even a second hand shop. There are also tons of websites that carry wedding dresses that have only been worn once (or even not-at-all)! It will save on environmental materials AND save you money.
- Buy natural
- If you purchase a new dress, get one that is made from natural, organic materials such as organic silk or help.
- Donate when you’re done
- When you’re done, donate your dress to a charity that can sell it; it will create funds for them and save someone else from having to purchase a new dress.
- Choose a simple dress that you can wear again
- Everything is better if you can wear it again! You don’t need to get an ornate one-time wearing dress. (But if you do, please consider the above advice and donate it when you’re done.)
- Don’t use disposable cameras
- Disposable cameras require you to print all the photos AND dispose of the camera. It’s much more cost effective AND green friendly to use digital cameras (like the ones that your guests are already bringing).
- Share your photos digitally
- By storing digital images on your wedding blog/website/The Wedding Lens for family and friends to download as they please, you save money on postage and processing. You also don’t use toxic chemicals to print too many pictures.
- Print only the necessary photos
- Print only the photos that are absolutely necessary.
Catering, Food, and Drinks
- Go organic
- Use organic foods wherever possible.
- Go local
- Hire a catering company that uses only local ingredients.
- Minimize the meat, maximize seasonal fruits & veggies
- The less meat, the better for the environment. Using less meat and more local veggies means less consumption, fewer resources, and interesting food.
- Donate the leftovers
- Donate any leftover food rather than throwing it out. There are lots of shelters that would love to receive such a great donation.
Plates & Utensils
- Use non-disposable plates and utensils
- If at all possible, use non-disposables so that you don’t create a huge amount of waste, especially if you’re having a large wedding reception.
- Use recycled materials
- If you can’t avoid using disposable plates & utensils, opt for the recycled version or treeless options.
Flowers & Decorations
- Use flowers that are in season
- When you use flowers that are out of season, they have to be imported. Transportation and care of the flowers requires extra resources that in-season flowers don’t require.
- Go local
- Flowers that are local don’t need to be transported or cared for in the same way as flowers that are transported and moved around.
- Grow Your Own
- Grow your own flowers instead of buying them.
- Use silk or dried flowers
- Get silk or dried flowers as an eco-friendly alternative.
- Use potted flowers and plants
- Potted flowers and plants look great and they can be used after the event for your home or garden. Or you can give it to guests to use in their home or garden.
- Use minimal amounts of flowers
- Consider using very few flowers. Perhaps have each bridesmaid carry two flowers and have the bride collect one from each bridesmaid and groomsman at the front – as a symbol of how the wedding party have provided support to the couple.
- Make your own decorations
- One option is to decorate with white lights on trees or potted plants - assuming you get lights you will reuse!
Music & Entertainment
- Go with singers, not DJs
- Vocalists won’t require the amount of amplification that DJs requires.
- Register for earth friendly products
- A registry can prevent people from buying gifts that you don’t really want (however well-intentioned they were!). It can also allow you to register for earth friendly products and things that you would want.
- Ask for donations instead of gifts
- Ask people not to give any gifts but to donate to a charity of your choice – preferably an environmental organization.
- Consider registering for non-consumptive gifts
- Register for non-consumptive gifts that you would like, such as massages, wine, soap, or free trade coffee.
- Don’t print programs
- People don’t necessarily need a program, especially if you can have a DJ announce who the wedding party is. It will save you money on printing costs and save paper.
- Explain being green on your program
- If you do print programs, you can tell people what it means to be green and why you made certain decisions in your wedding planning. Perhaps it will open peoples’ eyes so they can do green things in the future.
Miscellaneous Planning Tips
- Use flower petals as confetti
- Use flower petals instead of paper confetti, rice, or seeds. It’s biodegradable!
- When you clean up or hire the clean-up crew, make sure they recycle instead of throwing everything away and filling landfills.
- Go cheap
- Being cost-conscious is also green! Visit our Cheap Wedding Tips.
Green Wedding Tips Topics
About The Wedding Lens
The Wedding Lens allows you to create a customized online wedding album filled with photos from you and your guests. Everyone uploads their photos into one online album that is only accessible by you and your friends. From there, you can download and print whichever photos you like – regardless of who uploaded them to the album.
It's a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to have the equivalent of disposable cameras on each table. But it’s even better because you don’t have to print blurry photos and everyone (not just the bride and groom) get to see all of the fabulous photos from the event.
Wedding Planning Tips
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