Green Up Your Wedding!

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Planning the perfect wedding can be exciting and unique to your personal tastes. Friends and family look forward to sharing a little bit of your and your partner’s style while congratulating you on the start of the rest of your lives as a couple.

The path to a beautiful wedding can be earth friendly as well as fabulous. Why not put your best foot forward with a few green wedding ideas and begin your marriage journey with an eco-friendly footprint?

With This Ring
The engagement ring is the official launch of a wedding journey, but most large mining practices take a toll on the local environment. You could try to lessen your carbon handprint by investigating and purchasing an ethically mined gem, but often this information is too vague to decipher, even with careful examination. Why not go vintage and use a family heirloom to seal the deal, or buy a used engagement ring that you both adore? By combining antique gemstones with recycled metal, just about any preservation-minded couple can make beautiful bling for the beloved left hand.

One of the first major decisions a soon-to-be bride and groom must make together is the venue for those vows. Since hotel ballrooms and large resorts typically use lots of electricity and water, why not incorporate nature in your plans from the get-go? Small churches, parks, farms and meadows can provide an amazing backdrop for the most beautiful day of your life. The changing leaves of autumn can provide a variety of colors and textures, while a spring wedding may offer new blooms and a touch of greenery. Think beyond the standard setting for the base of your big day and congregate in one of nature’s lovely locations.

Although many couples choose to help the environment with evites and word-of-mouth invitations, nothing says “Please Join Us” more than a good old-fashioned letter from the U.S. Postal Service. Look for invitations made from 100 percent recycled paper, and forgo the excess envelopes and RSVP cards in favor of tallying responses via a wedding website. If Aunt Dorothy isn’t comfortable with the computer, give her a call to check her attendance status. On the flip side, stay away from using the “environmentally conscious” cause when it comes to sending a thank you acknowledgement. Appreciation of gifts is best said with a handwritten note, not an email.

The Gown
It’s tricky to find another reason to wear your wedding gown twice unless you save it for renewing your vows in the future. If, by chance, you and your mother have similar tastes, altering her preserved dress and making it your own might be a perfect fit. But if you’re looking forward to choosing your own gown, which is understandable, check out the wedding dresses at vintage stores and consignment shops. These days, wedding gowns don’t have to be long and white. Choose a style and color that touts your tastes as well as your thoughtfulness for the eco-future.

As for the wedding party, consider letting them wear something they already own. It’s doubtful you will find a former bridesmaid donning the tea length, teal, tulle dress she once wore in a wedding for another occasion. Give your wedding party guidelines, such as black dress, knee length, but let them choose something they can easily repurpose for another fabulous event.

The catering at a wedding is the talk of the party, whether a scrumptious success or a failed food flop. Ensure the conversation about your food is fabulous. Organic food can be quite costly compared to typical catering, so make sure to account for the extra cash in your budget. Choose a farm-to-table caterer to cut down on waste and electricity. Fresh food needs less packaging and shorter time in the fridge. Include your caterer in your plans to provide a zero-waste reception (or at least pretty close to it). Some eco-friendly caterers will donate or even compost any leftovers.

Parting Gifts
Although most couples may feel their mini-gift is usable, when it comes to wedding favors, they typically get thrown in the trash. Why not chuck the idea of wedding favors all together? Instead, leave guests feeling giddy after making a donation to a charity of your choice in their name. Or go the edible route and give your guests a homemade treat or delicious delight from a local bakery or farmers’ market. Try to resist adding more packaging. Perhaps the treat will be devoured on the drive home.

The path to a wonderful wedding can be beautiful but excessive. Why not make the first steps to your union eco-conscious yet memorable. By using all of these tips or just one of them, your journey will start a little more earth friendly.

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