When most people set out to plan their weddings, their thoughts gravitate toward budget, themes, dresses, and bridal parties. However, as the very planet on which we live, breathe, and love continues to come under increasing environmental pressures, it’s high time we all start thinking “green” when it comes to wedding planning as well.
Whether you’re an old hat at eco-friendly efforts or the thought of “greening” your wedding is completely brand-new, here are a handful of ways you can shrink your wedding’s carbon footprint without ruining your special day.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
One of the most oft-repeated sentiments of the environmental movement has been “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” and there’s no reason you can’t also apply those practices to your wedding. Reduce your energy needs by getting married during a temperate time of year. Reuse your mother or grandmother’s wedding dress instead of buying a brand-new one. Supply the catering crew and bartender with recycling bins, and assign sometime to take their contents to the recycling center the next day.
Whether your nuptials are taking place at one of the wedding venues in Los Angeles, Chicago, or Green Bay, apply these three principles to every aspect of your wedding planning.
Source the Reception Food Locally
One of the easiest ways to make a positive environmental impact is to source the food and drinks for your reception locally. Ask your caterer to use farms within a 150-mile radius for everything from meat and cheese to grain and vegetables. Not only will it ensure that less fuel has been used in transporting the food to you, but buying local food usually ensures it’s fresher and more nutritious, too.
Likewise, aim near instead of far for all your drink needs. From Chattanooga to Boise you can find local soft drinks, local wine, great selections of local craft beers, and a surprisingly large offering of local spirits as well.
Rethink the Registry
Registering for gifts is a time-honored tradition that satisfies both a young couple’s need to get set-up with what they may still be lacking for their home and their guests’ desires to contribute to the couple’s material well-being and happiness by giving them a practical gift. However, people are marrying much later in life than they were when this tradition began, which means most couples already have fully functioning households and no longer need a wedding guest’s thoughtfully chosen crock pot.
Because of this reality, and in the interest of consuming less, ask guests to donate money to ecologically minded groups in lieu of presents. From the World Wildlife Federation to Greenpeace, there are hundreds of organizations where the money that might have otherwise gone toward flatware can be used to protect animal habitat, reduce pesticide use, save the rainforest, or lobby Congress to enact more stringent emissions measures.
Choose an Eco-Friendly Location
Transportation is a primary way in which humans pollute the skies, soil, and waterways of our planet, which is why choosing an eco-friendly destination is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. There are a number of ways to go about choosing an eco-friendly location; here are a few of them:
- Calculate where the majority of your guests will be traveling from and have the wedding in that location so fewer of them have to travel.
- Eco-Options. If you’re set on having a destination wedding, choose a destination that has a wealth of ecologically friendly options in categories like lodging, food, and transportation.
- Natural Beauty. Get married in a place that’s so beautiful you won’t need to adorn it with any extras, which will help reduce your wedding-related consumption.
Buy Carbon Offsets
No matter what you do, you probably won’t be able to reduce your carbon footprint to zero, but you can buy carbon offsets to make up the difference. When you purchase carbon offsets based on your energy consumption, your funds go toward renewable energy projects, reforestation efforts, and the development of global energy efficiency across the world’s cultures and countries. After you’ve done everything in your power to reduce your energy consumption, find out the true environmental cost of your wedding by calculating its carbon footprint here. Then, purchase carbon offsets for that amount.
Planning a “green” wedding will require a bit more forethought and effort than a more traditional one, but it’s a great practice that more people need to align themselves with so that a lifetime of love can be shared on a healthy and sustainable planet.
Article Submitted By Community Writer.