A wedding is romance personified, and an understanding and appreciation for Mother Nature is suitably romantic. “Oh,” a traditionalist sneers, “Those kinds of weddings are for the granola types, who bike, hike and geo-cache.” Well, sure, an eco-friendly wedding is one such a couple would choose, but a green wedding is becoming increasingly popular amongst any bride for whom the environment is a concern.
In this case, too much of a good thing can be just that: a good thing. The positives are so overwhelming, more brides and grooms should opt for an eco-friendly wedding. In fact, when bandying about wedding reception ideas, think: green wedding. You contribute to the preservation of your environment, which will subsequently become your children’s.
If you are new to the world of green, then, by all means, start slowly and examine what is “out there.”Approve only what you truly want. If you’re a couple for whom sustainable living is a priority, then you probably have ideas you’d like to research and projects to pursue.
Here are some elements to consider:
- An antique or vintage ring – of course, a family heirloom – with the benefit of sentiment –is the best option, but you can visit any number of websites or vintage shops and you’re likely to find one from a favourite era. Many jewellers are doing recycled gold and fair-labour gemstones.
- An antique dress – if there’s not one available in your family (or, as often is the case, one that fits), then look online. Try EBay and Etsy, as well as established vintage clothing shops. For glass half-full types, there are many things of beauty in a vintage gown. A truly cost-conscious alternative is to visit local thrift stores, which often are given overruns or previous seasons of beautiful formal gowns and once-worn wedding dresses.
- In terms of bridesmaid dresses, the same theory can apply. Present them with a swatch of fabric, the colour you’d like, and choose a knee-length (or mini or midi or maxi) dress of their choice. Encourage them to go to thrift stores, recycle. Turn an afternoon in a girl’s event. Invite attendants to your home for tea with homemade cookies and finger sandwiches. Have magazine or catalogue clippings of dresses you like. Be general, but allow them creativity. One eco-friendly bride did just that: chose a colour, told her bridesmaid to choose a dress of any sleeve length with solid colouring. Each bridesmaid carried bouquets of the same four handpicked flowers, a petite version of the bride’s.
- Groomsmen for the same wedding were told to wear khaki pants (only specific that they be solid in colour and long); long-sleeved, button-down blue cotton shirts and a bowtie of their choosing. Eliminating the need for your wedding party to run out and purchase many new items is the recycler’s way to go.
- There is a wide range of alternatives, depending on the kind of people you are, and what kind of wedding you’d like to have. If readily available, consider locally sourced fruits and vegetables. Some brides have completely catered their own weddings (with the help of family and friends, of course). Instead of a cake, for example, you could make pies from fruit you’ve picked yourself.
- Location – there are so many ideas for wedding reception locations that leave less of a carbon footprint. First, the bride and groom should consider if they know anyone who might host their reception – do you know anyone with a large house, or farm? A local park is a great place to have an inexpensive and a literal and figurative green wedding.
- How about an all-digital photography wedding? This eradicates the unnecessary paper, chemicals and other elements that go into paper photo proofs.
Make your own invitations, and use recycled paper. There are many free or nearly free programs in which you can design and print the invites, or go totally tech and send both save-the-date notices and invitations through e-mail or in a Facebook event.