probably already considered the impact of a traditional wedding on
your pocket. But lavish weddings with all the bells and whistles
also have a tremendous impact on the environment. Diamonds fuel
conflict and bloodshed in third world countries. Flowers leave
behind soils saturated with pesticides. And the transportation of
anything and everything, including your guests, means fossil fuels
and carbon emissions.
What’s an eco-conscious bride to do? Fortunately,
there are greener alternatives to every aspect of a wedding. Here
are ten ways to reduce the environmental impact of your big day.
Green is the new white!
Keep it small. A small conventional wedding is
still greener than a big wedding with organic food, flowers, and
recycled paper invitations. Fewer people mean fewer resources
and less waste, period. So start by chiseling down your guest
list to only the people you truly love and want to have with you
at your wedding. Don’t be guilt tripped into inviting anyone
Go vintage. Whether your own tastes run to dainty
Edwardian tea dresses or to flamboyant 1950s ball gowns, vintage
dresses make fantastic wedding and bridesmaid dresses. They cost
less, require few new resources, and can be worn after the
Reuse…diamonds. If you have a hideous diamond
ring that was handed down to you by your great grandmother, you
can have the diamond reset in a new ring. Many new diamonds are
‘blood’ or ‘conflict’ diamonds that are responsible for violence
and slave labor. For a less ironic symbol of your everlasting
love, go for a vintage diamond or a conflict-free one. As
always, the fewer new resources you use, the lighter your
Think local, seasonal, and organic when it comes
to flowers and food. Your food will taste better and pollute
less. Donate your leftovers and compost the flowers after the
Skip the wedding favors. Most of them get tossed
soon after the wedding. If you must have favors, go for
something biodegradable, plantable, edible, and/or with minimal
Use recycled paper for your invitations, skip the
glossy finishes that make them unrecyclable, and cut your paper
trail to a minimum. That’s what the internet is good for!
Offset your carbon footprint by donating to a
green non-profit organization such as Nature Conservancy, WWF,
Environmental Defense Fund, etc.
Instead of gifts, ask your guests to make a
donation in your name to a green organization. Do you really
need two toasters? Probably not.
Hold your wedding outdoors to reduce the need for
decorations and electricity. Gardens, beaches, vineyards, and
parks are all potentially suitable locations.
Elope. If you are a diehard treehugger, getting
married at the local courthouse is as close to zero impact as
you can get. Instead of living the romance, you’ll be saving the
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