By now, you’ve probably realized how much stuff goes into a wedding: the invitations, the flowers, the signs, the table décor, the makeup, the food, the wrapping paper, and the list goes on and on. The fact is, when your wedding is over and you are happily married, all that stuff probably goes straight into the trash. Indeed, the average American wedding produces about 600 pounds of garbage, which goes directly into the earth and oceans, causing untold harm on global environments.
Nearly 2.5 million couples tie the knot every year, and that knot is far from sustainable or eco-friendly. On your wedding day, while you wear white, you should also consider going green to save the Earth — and some pocket change. Here’s how.
Reuse and Recycle
You probably are particularly conscious of what you toss in the garbage can, reserving paper, glass, and metal trash for the recycling bin. Now is your chance to take advantage of all of the goods recycling companies create out of those reusable materials. Everything from your diamond and gemstone jewelry to your paper napkins can be made at least partially of salvaged resources, and opting for recycled items instead of new can substantially cut down on your wedding’s environmental impact.
Plenty of former brides and grooms are similarly conscious of their weddings’ waste potential, and thus, instead of tossing out their decorations, they are reselling their wedding stuff at outstanding discounts.
Because weddings are generally short, sophisticated affairs, most wedding décor doesn’t see much use, and “used” items are still in new condition. Some wedding venues even maintain their own stock of wedding decorations, which they can restyle and repurpose to suit your event. Not only will you save money by reusing others’ wedding items, but you can feel better about your sustainable choices.
Seasonal, Organic, Local
For the stuff that can’t come recycled or used, like food and flowers, you should be sure to find vendors who source only seasonal, organic, and local elements. Though it may be moderately more costly to find such clean, eco-friendly goods, the effort and expense will be worthwhile for the quality and value of your green wedding.
Nearly 78 percent of the flowers in the U.S. come from South America, which means that the carbon footprint of a single bloom in your exotic bouquet is immense. Worse, most flowers are saturated with pesticides and fungicides, which are incredibly toxic to the growing environment as well as the end user: you. Florists who use local, organic flowers to create simple arrangements are by far the best option for live flowers.
Locally sourced produce for your wedding eats will not only decrease your wedding’s carbon cost, it will also support your local economy by providing much-needed income to community farmers. Additionally, you may consider opting for local brewers and distillers for your bar, which can add some unique flavor to your event.
The modern trend for wedding invitation is bold and busy — which means a lot of needless paper and ink for what should be a simple message. Paper-making is an environmentally costly enterprise to begin with, which means that adding additional inserts and flair simply compounds the wasteful consumption.
Instead, you can send simple invites that direct guests to a website, where they can find pertinent information and RSVP as needed. Even better, you can compose your paper invitations on recycled or seed paper.
Natural Fiber Clothing
The gown is one of the most essential elements of the day — but it can also be one of the most environmentally hazardous, as many designers create their dresses from bleached artificial fabrics.
If you don’t have a family gown you can modify to suit your style, or if you can’t find a suitable vintage or pre-owned dress, you should only shop from designers who use sustainable materials in their designs. The same is true for bridesmaids’ dresses, your groom’s tuxedo, and any other wedding party attire.
Most modern couples have already lived together for some time before getting hitched, which means they usually own all the dishes, flatware, and toasters they need. Instead of collecting hundreds of dollars’ worth of gifts you don’t need, you can register with sustainable companies to collect items that will help you build a greener marital lifestyle. Alternatively, you can ask your guests to donate to a variety of charitable organizations with mission statements to help the environment.
*FTC: This post is sponsored