How to Plan an Environmentally Friendly Wedding

Want to do your part to save the environment? There are plenty of ways to make your wedding more environmentally friendly.

Invitations, notes, and announcements
  • Consider using e-vites for the wedding and/or rehearsal dinner invitations
  • Use recycled paper for engagement announcements, save the dates, place cards, bridal and man shower invitations, programs, menu cards and thank you notes. If your paper goods are being printed professionally, ask about soy- or vegetable-based ink options.
  • Cut down on the use of paper. If you’re designing your own invitations, try to limit them to the size of a postcard rather than the standard full size.
  • Consider skipping some unnecessary paper such as place cards, menu cards and thank you cards…okay, just kidding about the thank you cards.
Rings
  • If buying a diamond ring, look into options that are conflict-free.
  • Use rings passed down from family members.
Flowers (guys, take 5)
  • Have flower petals thrown instead of birdseed or rice. Certain birdseeds can cause problems within the local ecosystem while rice is harmful to birds that may eat it. (Many churches now won’t allow rice to be thrown for this reason.)
  • Grow your own flowers.
  • Consider re-using flowers at the rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception and then donating them to a local hospital or nursing home.
  • Use locally grown flowers (eliminates the need for transportation).
Venues
  • Hold the rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception at the same place. If that isn’t an option, try to book a reception location that’s as close as possible to the ceremony location to cut down on travel.
  • If booking hotel rooms for out of town guests, choose ones that are close to all of your venues. You can also ask about the hotels’ green practices – do they have a recycling program, encourage water conservation, employ energy control systems, use green cleaning supplies, offer organic bath products, etc.?
  • Make sure your venues offer recycling. Also ask about any other green practices they currently implement, such as using pitchers of water instead of pre-filling glasses, which reduces water usage and waste. Or maybe the facility is LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council?
Food
  • Include some vegetarian, organic or locally grown options on the menu for the rehearsal dinner and reception.
  • Donate any leftover food to a local shelter or food bank.
  • Don’t use any disposable silverware, dishes or barware to prevent unnecessary waste.
  • A fun food idea: serve guacamole sauce to remind your guests of the importance of going green (had to squeeze that one in for all the guac-loving grooms out there!).
Attendant gifts and guest favors
  • Instead of buying gifts for your attendants and giving favors out to your guests – make a donation to a “green” foundation in their name.
  • Give flower seeds and/or tree saplings as gifts for your attendants and guests to plant at home.
  • Choose gifts that are made with environmentally friendly materials. To ensure these items are as eco-friendly as they claim to be, check out the guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission regarding environmentally friendly marketing claims at www.ftc.gov/bcp/grnrule/guides989427.htm. The site lists specific examples of deceptively worded claims and provides details to avoid consumer deception.
Honeymoon
  • Choose a destination closer to home.
  • Book a “green” hotel or resort.
  • During the trip, use public transportation, ride bikes or walk to your destinations. (Our guess is that you’ll find some activities to keep you busy in the room from time to time…)
TMR Recommendation: We know going green can get overwhelming. But even just by doing one of the things listed here, you’ll be helping to do your part for the environment and setting a great example for your guests.

Connect with post author Chris Easter on Google+, Pinterest and Facebook.