10 Eco-Friendly Ideas for a Green Wedding
Thank you mother earth
A love letter and tips for green wedding planning
Happy Earth Day! We have the good fortune to live on the Chesapeake Bay in Southern Maryland. And we get to witness and photograph some of the most beautiful weddings found anywhere in the world. We do destination weddings and engagements, but this is the place that we consider to be home. It is also one of the most beautiful places on earth. Speaking of the earth I would like to say thank you directly. Today we feel lucky, blessed, grateful. Thank you mother earth, for all you give us, and the joy you bring us.
You mother nature continue to amaze me every day with what you give to us so unselfishly. The diversity of life you share with us is a pure expression of love. I can see your love shared in the little details from the smallest microbe to majestic creatures like the blue heron and the ocelot. I see all you give us in the painted lady butterfly, the succulent plants with spirals, thousand year old forests with orangutans, the majestic whales and even in blades of grass.
I can feel your love each time I breathe. The energy you give standing near the tallest pines and the simple weeds that give us air and life sustains me. You give us our air and so much more. It is so easy to get busy with our phones, computers, the business of daily life. It is easy to disconnect with you, with all we fill our lives with every day and forget.
So today I pause and say mother earth you amaze me. Dear mother earth you infuse so much beauty into our everyday lives. We appreciate you so very much. It’s nice to have a day to celebrate, to thank you for all of your gifts. One day is not nearly enough to say thank you for all you do, give and share, so we dedicate at least a week to you and the joy in every day life. Happy earth day, happy earth week, happy every day earth. Thank you.
Just like Mother Earth, weddings also bring us together over joy, beauty, and love. There is so much we can enjoy, appreciate, feel and see in them if we slow down and really take the time to enjoy the true and real beauty that they give us. We thought that tying the two together in a way that many brides could incorporate into their own special days and wedding planning experience would be our way of spreading that love to others.
In honor of this much-celebrated day, we decided to pool together ten tips for an eco-friendly wedding. Happy earth day. Happy wedding. Use one idea or all of them – or come up with unique variations all your own!
Of course, you may be well beyond this step of the journey. For those of you who are reading who haven’t yet said “yes!”, ethical rings are worth looking into. Just as brilliant and unique as traditional rings, ethical rings aren’t sourced from materials found in areas of conflict or that come from forced labor. Jewelers achieve beautiful results without sacrificing quality. Plus, you’ll get major karma points for opting into ethical alternatives!
Nearly every wedding printer or designer these days offers recycled paper options for invitations, RSVPs, and reception cards. It’s a small, simple step that will instantly reduce your wedding-planning carbon footprint. Ask your photographers and other print artists about fsc certified papers. Guests won’t be able to notice as there’s virtually no difference in quality. To encourage others to use more recycled materials, you could think about stamping a small, monogrammed recycling logo to the back of your invites for extra effect.
When shopping for venues, it’s easy to focus on the grand ballrooms, sweeping dance floors, and amazing chandeliers. For a greener wedding though, it’s also important to research which venues are making a conscious effort to reduce their environmental impact. Are they using solar panels? Do they dim lights after hours to cut electricity? Do they offer an option to be completely unplugged? Do they opt for pretty beds of rock in lieu of a heavily-watered grass lawn? Are they trying to grow organically or are they using chemicals on their lawns and flowers and hurting our pollinators? Consider venues that are making important cutbacks that won’t impede your wedding vision. As brides and consumers we can lovingly share ideas with them as consumers and help them to go green by setting an example by inspiring them and showing them things they can easily do.
We know the dress is the most exciting part of wedding planning, but it can also be more eco-friendly, too! More and more brides are renting gorgeous white gowns through dress rental services than ever before. Vintage wedding dresses that have been worn a handful of times make for a unique piece no one else will have at the time. If you’re set on a brand new dress made for your occasion, consider donating it after a year. This pays the love forward and gives you time to reminisce and try in on a few more times before parting ways!
Now the dress is the most important part of a bride’s wedding, but the food is often most exciting for the guests. Making a few menu changes to incorporate sustainable meats and seafood (think local, cage-free, organic, etc.) make a big impact. Take it a step further and offer creative, delicious meat alternatives that use only the freshest local produce and veggies. Your guests will get to try something new and might be inspired to take some ideas home to their own kitchens.
We all have our favorite flowers, and a bride’s bouquet is the centerpiece of many wedding pictures. It should surely be beautiful, radiant, and one-of-a-kind. Work with your local florist to come up with a catalog of seasonal options that match your wedding color palette. She’ll be able to find the most colorful flowers while they’re naturally in bloom. Flowers grown out of season often take more resources than anything found naturally.
As we’ve mentioned, working with local artisans and vendors adds a ton of green points to your celebration. Support local whenever and wherever possible. This cuts down on transportation, shipping, electricity, fuel, extended labor and more. Plus, it boosts the reputations of those service providers in your own area with will help them gain even more local business so they don’t have to outsource as much either. It’s a beautiful cycle! When you bring vendors with you to your destination wedding budget a little extra for carbon offsets and consider doing things like planting trees as your favors or in lieu of gifts. Be sure they are non GMO, organically grown and locally sourced. If you plan far enough ahead you can get local growers to grow them custom for you and even be involved in starting them as seeds and watching them grow just as your love will grow.
When it comes to lighting, there is nothing more romantic than candles. Your wedding planner will find a million and one ways to use candles to set the vibe you’re looking for, whether cozy, whimsical, edgy, or sophisticated. Think flickering light radiating off mounted sconces, tea light candles floating in small vases or ponds, or floor candles placed at the end of each aisle or along walls. Or solar lights could light your reception and be your favors. Pass your love of the earth on by sharing a little note with your guests of why you chose solar for your wedding.
Depending on your guest list size, an intimate reception might be your ticket to a greener wedding. Choose DJ with a portable solar trailer for his power supply, do away with the light show, and think about hiring local musicians to play acoustic guitar, sing soft jazz vocals, or pluck harp strings softly in the background. Hire a professional storyteller to organically captivate guests microphone-free as they mill around. Think interpretive dancers who dance and play traditional native instruments to entertain, relax, and inspire your guests. Save on the projector and set up a few iPads loaded with photos of you and the groom for guests to view. Bonus – you can ask them to take selfies as they sign the guestbook!
Gifts that Give Back
If you really want to inspire others to join you on your mission for a better environment, you can gift them a uniquely green experience. Find a quiet (and city-approved!) place for an outdoor ceremony where all your guests can join you in planting a few trees or sprinkling seeds for the coming season. You can also gift eco-friendly wedding favors made by local, sustainable businesses: fresh jams and jellies, organic teas, artisan soaps, and more!
Planning a wedding is surely a frenzy of details, options, and commitments. Making the extra commitment to incorporate green(er) ideas into your wedding ceremony is a beautiful way to add karma to your day! We’ve worked with many brides who are eager to try a little something different without straying too far from tradition. If you want more tips based on our experience please contact us for a free consultation!