“Eco-friendly” is usually not the first thought that springs to mind when one considers a wedding event. But along with finding all the trimmings for the most beautiful and most fun wedding day ever, many engaged couples make designing a green wedding event a top priority too. With so many earth-friendly products on the market today, and more and more planners, venues and vendors ready and willing to pitch in with environmentally conscious ideas and services, and it’s really easier than ever to create a more sustainable, green wedding.
One of the first decisions you make when designing your wedding day is your choice in wedding location. If possible, select just one venue to hold your ceremony, photo session and reception to limit your and your guests’ travel and fuel emissions. Try to pick a venue that’s as local for the majority of your guests as possible as well. And ask your venue if they adhere to any green measures or are committed to any sustainable initiatives, such as investing in energy-efficient lighting and appliances, using biodegradable wrappings & to-go boxes, reducing waste, employing sound water conservation practices and partnering with caterers using ingredients from local farms.
As it’s still proper etiquette to mail out your invitations, look for post-consumer stationery made with soy-based or vegetable-based ink and if possible, use a postcard design to skip the envelope. Or go with cotton or bamboo products like those found at Smock or The Windmill Paper Boutique or a plantable option from retailers like Botanical Paperworks! And it’s perfectly fine to go paperless for your save-the-dates. Opt to save more paper by creating a wedding website for all the rest of your wedding details and driving directions and encourage your guests to RSVP electronically.
Select a floral designer who will use as many locally sourced, in-season flowers as possible for your wedding event. Also, look for the Veriflora or Florverde certifications to ensure your flowers were grown in an environmentally and socially responsibly way. And what do you do with your flowers after your wedding? Shortly before your wedding day, check with local nursing homes, hospitals or even high schools (if it’s winter ball or prom season) to see if they’d like to have your wedding flowers after your event is over. And if you’d like to keep your floral arrangements for yourself and on a more permanent basis, consider using potted plants or topiaries for centerpieces and reception décor or balled and burlapped shrubs to flank your outdoor aisle or “altar”. They can then be planted in your garden after your wedding day as a constant reminder of one of the happiest days in your life together. Check out the wedding film of our friends Lisa and Dan who chose to have a perfect rustic wood pergola flanked by orange blooming burlapped shrubs for their outdoor, fall wedding ceremony! Another option is to choose all faux florals, or at least intersperse some silk flowers with your real ones in your bouquets and garlands, all of which can be reused later in your home. And all-brooch bouquets are so gorgeous too!
Couples with a focus on conserving our environmental resources and eating healthier, whole foods are specifically looking for farm-to-table choices for their wedding menus. And happily, farm-to-fork catering and venue choices are growing in number each year. Look for these delicious, healthy, organic, farm fresh menu choices which go hand in hand with sustainable weddings. And a farm-to-table menu coordinates perfectly with seasonal, fresh flower selections and natural elements in the event décor as well. The Grove at Centerton and The Ryland Inn are two of the many wonderful New Jersey wedding venues that specialize in delectable farm-to-table cuisine!
In addition to the floral ideas we gave above, consider choosing as many reusable items in your reception décor as is possible. Soy-based candles are eco-friendly and can be used many more times afterwards to cozy up your home. And snatching up stacks of old books and other vintage finds like dishes and antique clocks from your local thrift store will give them beautiful new lives as eye-catching reception and later, home décor. Also, be sure to rent non-disposable plates, utensils and linens for your reception cocktail hour and dinner.
YOUR DRESS & ACCESSORIES
Continue your journey in the “re-use” category and consider buying a preowned wedding dress from a consignment shop or online through private wedding gown specific resellers like Pre Owned Wedding Dresses or Nearly Newlywed. Or perhaps your mother or grandmother’s wedding dress is available? If you get permission to make alterations, a local tailor/seamstress can redesign the dress to fit your body and your style! And for wedding accessories, ask to wear a beloved family member’s jewelry for your big day. Not only will you be limiting your goods consumption, but you’ll be wearing treasured family keepsakes for one of the most important days in your life.
September 16th, 2020
by Kristi Chapman
in Tips & Ideas