Hi there! I’m Liz, and I blog over at Life in Green, where my husband and I chronicle our attempts to lessen our footprint and live a more simple, green life. We just tied the knot last November, and I love to share our experience planning a green wedding. It can be a little overwhelming and stressful at times, but trust me, it’s all worth it.
There are countless ways to make your wedding a little greener – from sending paperless invites, to hiring a catering company that dishes up local food, to registering for household items made from recycled and renewable materials. The underlying goal is to minimize the amount of waste generated from the event – think about where each item comes from, and where it will end up once the wedding is over.
Plus, aside from the direct environmental benefits, planning a green wedding is a great way to share your environmental perspective with your friends and family. My husband and I decided early in wedding planning that if we were going to plan a big bash, we wanted it to reflect our personalities and what we believe in.
To get you started, here are some ideas for green wedding planning:
In this day and age, wedding magazines and paper planners are losing ground to blogs and online tools. I organized the details of our budget using an Excel spreadsheet (which I shared with our families on Google Drive), I browsed wedding blogs like 100 Layer Cake and Green Wedding Shoes, and I used the guest list tool on The Knot to keep track of addresses, gifts, and RSVPs. And let’s not even discuss how much time I spent browsing wedding ideas on Pinterest.
Endless wedding inspiration on Pinterest
Trade paper announcements for e-vites.
E-invitations may not work for every crowd – Great Aunt Bertha may not have an email account – but if your family and friends are techno-savvy, e-vites are a great way to get the word out, track RSVPs, and save heaps of money on invitation suites and postage. Even if the consensus is to stick with traditional paper save-the-dates and invitations, you can choose a cute e-vite design for pre-wedding festivities, like showers and engagement parties. Paperless Post offers a whole collection of elegant wedding-themed e-cards.
Look for eco-friendly product lines at big-name stores like Bed Bath & Beyond. Or register for gifts from a green living company, like VivaTerra and Are Naturals. Ask your guests to forgo the gift-wrap. Go even greener by registering for vintage gifts (read how Jane over at The Borrowed Above registered for vintage mid-century furniture!) or skipping the registry altogether and requesting donations to an environmental cause.
Hire a caterer that will serve local specialties. We served Texas BBQ and grilled fresh-grown vegetables at our Houston wedding, and the menu was a big hit with our guests. Beyond food, you can also hire a florist to prepare bouquets and floral arrangements with local flowers and greenery, instead of blooms imported long distances. Craft centerpieces from local objects (like vintage treasures from nearby thrift stores and estate sales).
Choose a green venue.
Make sure waste from the wedding can be recycled at the end of the event, and ask about the venue’s environmental policies. You can even go further by tying the knot outdoors – we chose the garden of an old bed and breakfast as our wedding location, and the natural beauty and greenery provided a romantic atmosphere and reflected our love for the outdoors.
Many brides are reselling dresses and décor on websites like 100 Layer Cake Marketplace, Ruffled, Weddingbee, and Preowned Wedding Dresses. You can buy expensive wedding items at a pretty steep discount, and you can make back a lot of money by reselling things from your own wedding. Reusing attire and décor saves raw materials, and it gives beautiful objects a second life.
Want more inspiration? I’ve created a series of posts about planning a green wedding, including photos from our own wedding, over on my blog. Come say hi!