If you think a green wedding means hanging out at the local commune singing Kumbayah, think again.
What could be more perfect than enjoying your big day whilst being safe in the knowledge that you have kept your carbon footprint to a minimum?
You don’t have to sacrifice style or elegance to throw an eco friendly wedding, as there are plenty of eco chic alternatives out there.
Brides and Grooms everywhere are finally beginning to understand the importance of making ethical choices, conserving energy, and helping mother earth.
This is your opportunity to make a difference…
Environmentally Aware Venues
One of the best ways to honor the planet is by using the great outdoors as your backdrop for your wedding venue.
Whether your holding your wedding in luxurious open gardens, natural woodland, a glistening beach, or even your own backyard – nothing beats revelling in the grandeur of natural surroundings.
Try to host your event during the daytime and make use of the wonderful natural light that your given venue can provide, this way you will skip the need for electricity.
There are plenty of beautiful botanical gardens, hilltop ranches, and rustic barns just waiting to be snapped up.
We understand that an outdoor wedding doesn’t work for everyone, but never fear, as there are several ways you can greenify your indoor venue too!
Holding your ceremony and reception at the same venue is an environmentally wise decision, as you will cut back on fuel emissions and limit your impact to only one location.
Another way to bring green indoors is by actively seeking venues that understand the values that you are trying to uphold for your special day, and will help by making a commitment to use biodegradable products, recycle any waste, and if possible use energy efficient appliances.
Some of our favorites include:
An eco friendly modern tree house estate that is LEED gold certified.
Nestled in the rolling hills of Carmel Valley, with spectacular gardens and breathtaking views.
Once home to president James Monroe, Ash Lawn Highland is romantic and charming.
Perfect for a rustic or barn wedding with spacious gardens that can accommodate up to 1000 guests.
Two incredible pavilions and beautiful outdoor areas with a picturesque mountain backdrop.
Located in the magical paradise of Bali, with unobstructed views of the river, rice terraces and mountains.
It may sound tacky but Evites are actually becoming the new in thing, and with millions of trees being toppled every year causing severe ecological damage, this is one trend we are certainly proud to get behind!
Who needs a paper invite anyways?
Scrap them altogether and opt for an Evite that directs your guests to your wedding web page for all the finer details of the big day.
You may balk at the very idea but hey, surely your concern for the environment should be put above appearances sake?
Check out Paperless Post for elegant Evites you won’t be disapointed with.
For those guests that don’t actually have an email, are likely never going to check their email, or haven’t quite grasped the concept of email, luckily there are some great paper saving solutions available.
Opt for recycled handmade paper invites from a company like Twisted Limb Paperwork or better yet, why not send out plantable wedding invitations that will grow and flourish into beautiful wildflowers.
Botanical Paperworks offer a lovely array of designs, as well as do it yourself blank templates and custom templates.
Another great, yet unlikely, place to search for wedding invitations is thrift stores.
You can usually grab yourself a whole host of cards for as little as 10 cents a piece, many of them being super cute and retro!
If you can manage to rustle up postcards then double points as you can eliminate envelopes altogether.
You may be under the impression that flowers are already eco friendly, unfortunately you’d be wrong!
Most farmers, especially the ones that stock large florists, douse their blooms with chemical pesticides and fertilizers that kill organic matter in soil that is needed to keep it healthy, fertile, and balanced.
To make it worse, most flowers are shipped in from abroad to cater for the massive demand that special events and occasions bring – and they are artificially dyed to make them appear brighter and more colorful!
If flowers really are a must for you then don’t panic because all is not lost.
One option is to pick wildflowers from local meadows or woodland, just ensure that you are not picking endangered or protected species, or flowers from someone else’s property!
If you have a bit of a green thumb or you’re feeling rather adventurous and fancy a challenge, then growing your own flora for the event could make a nice change.
Just make sure you carry out thorough research on the variety of flowers you plan on growing, as well as seek advice and guidance from more experienced growers – this way you won’t end up with a bunch of flowers that are refusing to bloom when the wedding rolls round.
If you haven’t got the time to get your hands dirty then choose organically grown flowers that are if possible, VeriFlora-certified.
This means they won’t be laden with chemicals and you won’t have to worry about any of the little ones putting them in their mouths!
Catering with a Conscience
When it comes to the catering there are three things that will make your cuisine stand out as green: organic, local and vegan.
Pleasing everyone is not always possible, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice what you believe in.
Stella McCartney and Natalie Portman didn’t so why should you!
Food is more often than not the center of every celebration, but deforestation occurs on a massive scale to provide land for raising animals for meat and dairy, and non organic fruits and veggies are sprayed with harmful chemicals which both farmers and the earth have to pay the price for.
A lovely fresh, local, seasonal, organic three course meal and a delicious vegan cake is the way to go!
Sourcing local vendors and caters requires less travel time, less time kept in the fridge, and less packaging needed to stay fresh.
The outcome = less electricity used and definitely less trash.
Regarding the wedding cake and desserts, even if your local bakers don’t advertise themselves as eco friendly, you can always give them a quick call and ask if they would be willing to sub out regular ingredients for organic ones.
Who knows, you may even cause them to change their ways.
It’s not all about the food itself though; there is also the question of the dinnerware.
Although collecting oddments of china from the local thrift stores may seem like a good idea, in actual fact it can end up costing more in both monetary and environmental terms (with all the car trips, etc).
Renting china is your most ecological option, or there is always the alternative of using biodegradable serveware such as organic cotton napkins, recycled glass, bamboo cutlery and plates, or fully compostable everything!
Earth Friendly Favors
Give the planet a break for once and say thanks to your guests by ditching favors altogether and donating to a worthy charity instead.
You don’t even need to print a sign as you can announce the gesture during one of the speeches, or simply spread the news via word of mouth throughout the event.
Most favors, however well thought out, end up in the trash anyway!
Plus the plastics, metals, and fabrics used to package commercial favors are hard for the environment to produce and certainly don’t biodegrade.
If you are desperate to give your guests a takeaway wedding favor then nothing quite says earth friendly like living, breathing tree saplings or herbs that are packaged in pretty recyclable tubes.
Another great option is edible favors.
Everyone loves delicious treats to nibble on so head on over to your favorite farm or orchard and grab yourself some jars of jams, jellies, or chutneys, and what’s more, your guests can recycle or reuse the glass jars once they’re done with them.
Eco Chic Centerpieces
Repurpose, upcycle, and get thrify!
Green centerpieces can be show stopping if you work with the right materials.
If you want to keep the green theme running throughout the event, then avoid the mass produced plastic filler at all costs.
Recycled bottles and cans can make perfect centerpieces and they also work for taking the place of traditional decor too!
Fill them with flowers or edible options such as fruit – this way they can be taken home and enjoyed after the wedding.
If you’re crafty then you could even choose to decorate the bottle or cans to add a little extra pizzazz.
One of our absolute favorite centerpiece ideas has got to be potted plants!
You get bonus points if you use ones that you already own.
Potted plants are an amazing addition to any eco friendly wedding, just make sure you assign watering duty to one of the guests or you could end up with a wilted mess on your hands.
Of course, there is also the rest of the decor to consider such as table plans, placecards, and general accessorizing; well don’t fret as these can all be made green too.
How about writing your placecards on evergreen leaves, using natural tree slices or bark for your candle holders, or paper doilies for bunting?
It may sound a little offbeat, but why not ask your friends and family to donate some of their unwanted gold jewelry to an environmentally friendly jeweler such as Green Karat, and in return they will melt it all down and forge you your own extremely personalized and sentimental wedding rings.
Not only are you doing your bit for the planet, you will also have a piece of your loved ones that you can carry around with you at all times.
Be on the lookout for conflict free diamonds and gems, and where possible always purchase from a company that use recycled materials.
Greenify Your Gown
The fact that you are only ever going to wear your wedding dress once is pretty wasteful – your mom preserved her gown all these years for a reason you know…
If her dress is not quite your style, or it doesn’t quite fit right, then get together with a seamstress and make it work for you.
We understand how much of a big deal choosing a wedding dress is, but you can still be green in the process.
Your first stop should be vintage clothing stores on the hunt for beautiful pre-owned gowns – you may be surprised at what treasures you can find amidst the clutter.
If you really must have a new dress then try to look for sustainable and ethical designers that use fabrics created by nature like organic cotton or hemp, and not factory made.
If you manage to find the perfect outfit for yourself but are still concerned about what the bridal party will wear, consider letting them fashion something they already own (just give them a color and length guideline) as this way they can show off their true style and be low impact on the planet.
Do You Have Any Eco Friendly Wedding Ideas & Inspiration To Share?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…
About the Author
If you need to know about Weddings or Social Events, Abigail’s your gal, blogging away at Estate Weddings and Events! Sharing her passion for the environment, arts and crafts, and frugality, she enjoys adding a chic twist to anything DIY. Never seen without camera in hand, Abigail is completely and utterly in love with love! You can follow Abigail on Google+ here.