It's a Nice Day for a Green Wedding
It's a Nice Day for a Green Wedding
In honor of the impending
wedding season, The Nature Conservancy offers tips to make your special
day one Mother Nature will celebrate
ARLINGTON, VA â€" June 16,
2008 â€"Something old, something new, something borrowed,
somethingâ€¦green? Itâ€'s really not as out of the ordinary as it
soundsâ€"last year, Brides.com estimated that approximately 33% of future
brides and grooms in the U.S. are planning an eco-friendly wedding.
The Nature Conservancy is issuing tips for planning a greener wedding
or commitment ceremony, with ideas from invitations through the
honeymoon to help reduce your celebrationâ€'s impact on the planetâ€"and
maybe even reduce the impact on your wallet as well.
need to sacrifice your dream wedding for a green wedding,â€ said
Sanjayan, lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy. â€œJust imagine the
power of one simple changeâ€"be it as small as reducing wedding travel or
serving organic food at the receptionâ€"multiplied by the thousands of
couples who plan to marry this year. The littlest changes really add
up, and can leave a positive impact on the Earth for generations to
Invitations: Sending invitations electronically or on
recycled paper stock will save money and trees. Bonus for going the
electronic route: Youâ€'ll save on the fuel used to deliver the cards.
registry: Register for gifts that you actually need and will definitely
use, and if possible, are healthy for the planet. Many of your favorite
stores probably carry organic and environmentally sound products
already, and with a little research, you can ensure that your new ice
cream maker has a minimal carbon footprint.
can have more of an impact than simply buying recycled/recyclable
products. If you donâ€'t need anything, ask your guests to donate to your
Flowers: Organic flowers are one option, but
tastefully arranged dried or silk flowers can make as big a statement
as fresh floral arrangements.
If youâ€'re set on fresh flowers,
try decorating with potted plants native to your area. Whatâ€'s fresher
than still-living flora? You can even plant them when the ceremony is
overâ€"wedding dÃ©cor and landscaping in one fell swoop!
The CondÃ© Nast Bridal Group estimates that most brides spend about $900
on just their gownsâ€"and thatâ€'s not including the many accessories most
brides need to polish their look. An environmentally and cost-friendly
solution is to wear a vintage or hand-me-down dress. A female relative
or friendâ€'s gown has likely (hopefully!) only been worn once, and you
do need something borrowed, right?
If youâ€'d prefer a new dress,
look for one thatâ€'s made of certified organic cotton, since polyester
is petroleum-based, and most other cotton is grown with harsh
pesticides. Grooms and ushers can get on the all-natural natural-fiber
bandwagon as well by wearing a dress shirt made of hemp or organic
Do your bridesmaids a favor and forgo the puffy sleeves
and universally unflattering fits, and select a gown that your girls
would gladly wear again. If youâ€'re stuck with a frock reminiscent of an
â€˜80s-era prom nightmare, forgo dumping that hideous gown in the
garbage, and check out HGTVâ€'s suggestions for turning sequins and
taffeta into stylish home accents.
The Rings: The production of
one tiny band of gold results in 20 tons of mine waste, according to
Earthworks, an organization that works to protect the environment from
the impact of mineral development. Show your commitment to your brand
new spouse with a recycled or heirloom ring, or start a new trend by
sporting silver bands, since the mining of silver is a bit gentler on
The Location: Holding your festivities in a
central location will cut down on travel for your guests, which will
make both them and Mother Nature even happier to be a part of your
joyous day. Another thing to consider when choosing a wedding locale:
â€œBelieve it or not,â€ said Sanjayan, â€œbig cities might be better than
country locations because cities, for the most part, have less energy
use in terms of per capita carbon.â€
Itâ€'s possible to keep the
travel to a minimum once your guests have arrived, too.Â When Evan
Parker, The Nature Conservancyâ€'s manager of digital membership, got
married last October, he and his bride-to-be chose a church and
reception site within walking distance. Post-ceremony, the bride traded
in her formal shoes for sneakers, and the couple and their guests
walked to the reception, held at a restaurant just blocks from the
Food: Feeding your guests unpronounceable pesticides is
no way to show your appreciation for their attendance, so consider
serving organic food and wine at the reception. Local produce is also a
great, low-impact option, and your menu will be fresher for guests and
easier on nature.
Favors: The Bridal Association of America
estimates that the average couple spends over $400 on favors for their
guests, which seems like a lot for a couple pounds of after-dinner
mints. A greener option? Donate the amount set aside in your budget to
a favorite charity.
The Nature Conservancy offers a number of
favor options with a minimal carbon footprint. Help reforest Brazilâ€'s
Atlantic Forest by contributing to the Plant a Billion Trees campaign,
or adopt a few acres of Costa Rican rainforest in honor of your guests.
you absolutely must give your guests a sweet treat, try organic, local
goodies like chocolate or wine. Really, does anyone need yet another
tiny lace pouch of Jordan almonds?
The Honeymoon: The party
might be over, but the honeymoon funâ€'s just begunâ€"and itâ€'s easy to
maintain a green theme throughout your romantic getaway. One way to
lessen your tripâ€'s environmental impact is to forgo a far-flung
destination. (And as the cost of fuel continues to rise, keeping it
local will also save you a bundle in travel costs.) If youâ€'d prefer to
spend your first few days as husband and wife in a more exotic locale,
remember that many travel companies offer eco-trips or environmentally
friendly excursions. You could even go on a Nature Conservancy
No matter how you decide to spend your
honeymoon, you can buy energy offset credits to offset the toll your
travel has on the environment.
â€¦And Baby Makes Three?: If
thereâ€'s a baby on the way, or youâ€'re planning to start a family soon,
have eight trees planted on your childâ€'s behalf, said Sanjayan. â€œEight
trees will offset the amount of carbon a person releases by simply
breathing during an average lifetime.â€ While youâ€'re at it, why not
plant a few for yourself as well?
For more information on going green, visit www.nature.org.