So you want to plan your eco-friendly wedding this year? With environmentally friendly products and services becoming much more popular, you might think that it would be easy to do this, but if you want to stay on trend there are a few things to take into consideration that will not damage the planet any further.
Using recycled materials and locally produced items, you can dramatically reduce the environmental impact of your wedding. Try fresh flowers for decoration – these are biodegradable and can be taken home by guests at the end of the day. The one thing you really need to avoid are balloons. While most people favor them because they are cheap, cheerful and easy to use, they are not the environment’s best friend. The actual rubber material used to make them is harmful for the environment and can easily end up in the water system where they can be consumed by fish and birds. You could as an alternative, decorate the room with rented items such as parasols or create your own from recycled paper.
While many people still use the less-than green variety of confetti, they love the idea of an environmentally-friendly version. Flower petals are the best choice here – they are biodegradable and let’s face it, they look much better in the wedding photos than tiny pieces of colored and coated paper. The paper version can actually be around much longer than you might think and it is so easy for it to be picked up by birds too. You could make your own confetti. Why not get your own flower petals, dry them and then crush them so they are in fairly small pieces? They retain the color and will still look great in the photos. You can mix it with birdseed too if you prefer – the birds will be attracted to the seed so it doesn’t just hang around on the pavements. Don’t mix the petals with rice – this can be damaging if the birds pick it up.
A bird’s eye view
Up until a couple of years ago if you wanted aerial views of your wedding, you had to hire a helicopter. Needless to say not many couples chose to go down this route, mainly because of the cost but some people were also mindful of the environmental considerations. However, this year aerial photos are going to be big news at all weddings and this is due mainly to the rise in popularity of the humble drone! You can get aerial photos of your big day without seeing a spike in your carbon footprint – why not ask one of your guests? There are a lot of people who own drones these days and the cost should also be fairly low.
Finally – don’t forget that recycled gold and jewelry are big news at the moment. Ecoura can supply you with renewed gold rings that have not had a dramatic environmental or social impact.
As you plan your 2017 wedding you may already have definite plans in mind for theme and how your big day can stay on the right side of eco-friendly. However, there are those who might just want a few hints and tips on what to expect in 2017 for the latest wedding trends and how to stay as green as possible.
The trend for vintage-style weddings has been around for a while and the good news is that this trend shows no sign of going anywhere anytime soon. Next year vintage style will ooze glamour, so if you want to stay fashionable make it big and bold. If you opt for true vintage rather than reproduction you will be helping to keep your carbon footprint low.
Location with a twist
The choice of venue is very important if you want your wedding to be an event that your guests never forget and the trend for 2017 is to find a place with a beautiful outdoor setting or a very unique building. Outdoor weddings can also help you to stay green as you will be making use of natural light, saving on energy consumption.
One of the trends for the coming year is handcrafted invitations and calligraphy. This is something that you can easily learn to do yourself and you can then make sure that the materials you use are recycled or at the very least recyclable. In fact, many wedding planners are encouraging couples to incorporate paper into the decorations and theme of the wedding, so paper flowers, for example, could be just one feature to consider. It is low-cost and eco-friendly, so why not?
Look to your local area to find the flavors and trends for your wedding. For example, couples in Vermont could be opting for maple syrup flavoring in some of the dishes for their menu, or for weddings in Utah you could feature buffalo on the menu. Staying local for your supplies is one of the easiest ways to stay eco-friendly.
Recent trends for displays of cupcakes rather than traditional cakes are on the wane a little and now it seems that the traditional, tall, tiered cake is making its way back into fashion. Couples like the traditional style of the tall cake and it is great for making a feature out of your dessert table. The cake often follows the color scheme of the wedding so consider this when planning how your cake is going to be decorated. Having it made locally will help you to stay as eco-friendly as possible.
These are just a few of the trends that you could consider when planning your 2017 wedding, although there are plenty of others too. Why not talk to a local wedding planner and find out which trends are proving to be most popular in your area?
Going green is not something that people do simply for their wedding day – it can be something that you apply to every aspect of your life, depending upon how dedicated you want to be and how much of a difference you want to make. You could find yourself making just a few changes or major alterations to your lifestyle!
If you don’t want your lifestyle to have a damaging effect on the planet then you need to look at how you might be able to reduce your carbon footprint. Do you always use your car for short journeys when you could easily walk or use public transport? Do you buy a lot of things that have been imported from other countries? Using your car less and buying locally-produced goods are just two easy changes that you can make to your lifestyle that will lessen your impact on the planet.
From there you will find it easier to make other changes. Your home’s energy consumption, for example. Do you find that you pay a lot for electricity usage? Chances are it is just because you are not vigilant about minor points like switching off appliances when they are not being used. Not only is this going to be better for your bank balance, the environment will thank you for it too!
Reduce, re-use, recycle
There are three words that can help you to become a much more environmentally-friendly person.
- Reduce – cut back on the things that you use that are not absolutely essential. When you go to the store, for example, buy loose fruits and vegetables rather than pre-packed and you don’t have to worry about excess packaging that is definitely less than eco-friendly!
- Re-use – If you can keep something and use it over and over again rather than throw it away after one use you will help to reduce your carbon footprint
- Recycle – this is very important. Recycling items means that less energy is used to make completely new items. Plastic, paper, glass and cardboard can all be easily recycled and now most towns offer collections for recyclables – take advantage of this and make a difference.
Once you make small changes it is so much easier to plan for the greener aspects of special occasions like your wedding day. Invitations from recycled paper, a menu of local and organic produce, green transport for you and your guests and sustainable materials used for the dress and other outfits and you should have the makings of a day that is not going to leave you feeling guilty about climate change.
For every person, having a greener way of life is going to be different. The important thing is to take that first step and then all the others that follow will be so much easier. Learn more about how Ecoura is committed to protecting the planet.
So your big day has come and gone and you are starting to think about the impact of it all. Maybe you did not consider green issues while you were planning your wedding but that does not mean that you can’t make a difference afterwards. Not many people think about the big clean-up because they are so excited about the day itself, but a little careful thought means that you can offset your wedding’s carbon footprint.
Did you arrange things like floral centerpieces and room decorations yourself? If you hired a company to deal with decorations for you then they will usually be responsible for taking them away and they will be reused at another wedding, making them less damaging to the environment than you might think. If you have purchased decorative items such as cake stands then it is easy enough to give or sell them on to someone else so that they can be used again.
Floral decorations obviously have a fairly short lifespan so you cannot simply expect them to be used by another bride, unless you have opted for silk flowers and you can pass them on. However, most people prefer to have real flowers at a wedding. You can give these to people as they are leaving. Most bridesmaids and members of the bridal party are happy to take home a floral decoration or two. Remember that real flowers are biodegradable so even with their short lifespan they are unlikely to have a major impact on the environment.
There are many ways of recycling your wedding outfits. The bridal gown and bridesmaids dresses can be sold on or given away so that they can be used again. There are charity organizations that will use the fabric from the dresses to make other items, including gowns for stillborn babies, so why not consider putting the dresses to good use? The same applies to shoes. The shoes are generally bought just for that one day so they have very little wear and tear on them. Sell them online or pass them on to a nearby thrift store. The groom, best man and ushers’ outfits are usually on hire so they can just be returned to the store.
General waste disposal
Often it is too late the next day to make sure that things like empty bottles are recycled but most wedding venues have different trash containers so that people will know where everything should go, but if you are faced with a reception venue that you have to return to the next morning to do the cleaning you can make sure that anything that is recyclable is separated from the rest of the trash.
Making your wedding day green is definitely much easier to do when you are in the planning stages, but that does not mean all is lost if you wait until afterwards – take a greener approach to the clean-up and you can still make a difference.
When you want a romantic honeymoon then there are few destinations which conjure up the image of romance more than France. Home to what is widely considered to be the world’s most romantic city, Paris, France offers the chilled-out and laid-back way of life that you need when enjoying your first few days of married life. However, for an eco-friendly honeymoon, there are plenty of options available to you outside of the capital city.
Woodland life in the Dordogne
Why not enjoy the peaceful life in a Woodsman’s Cabin in one of the most beautiful areas of the country? The remote setting ensures you will not be disturbed and it has everything that you need for your stay. The wood-burning stove heats the water and the cabin is lit by oil light or candle. When on your honeymoon champagne and flowers are part of the package and transport is provided in the form of a tandem. Breakfasts are provided and you can enjoy activities such as canoeing or touring the vineyards. For those who want total seclusion this option is perfect.
Auvergne guest house
Head to central France to the region of Auvergne where you will find an eco-friendly guest house or two. Try Les Liards, where you can hike in the beautiful countryside. The guest house itself has been carefully constructed using traditional building methods and eco-friendly materials. Located in the Livradois-Forez regional park, it is perfect for those who love the outdoors life.
The most romantic city in the world!
Paris is a must for those wanting a romantic break but you can also find an eco-friendly option here. The Hotel Gavarni is close to main attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Elysées and uses only renewable energy sources, is now carbon neutral and only eco-friendly products are used throughout the hotel. The food is organic and fair trade and as a result of all its efforts to be greener, the hotel has become the first independent hotel in the city to achieve the European Ecolabel, a quality standard for eco-friendly businesses.
A Normandy valley
La Maison du Vert is located in Ticheville in Lower Normandy and is ideal for those who like the great outdoors. The restaurant is vegetarian and vegan, with many ingredients grown in the hotel’s own gardens. Organic drinks are served in the bar and the grounds are a mix of landscaped and wild areas. Cycling is a popular activity in the area and the hotel has two bicycles that can be used by guests at no extra charge.
For honeymoons France might seem like a long way to travel but the rewards are clear when you get there. The chance to relax in beautiful surroundings that will not make much (if any!) impact on your carbon footprint should not be missed.
Getting eco-friendly wedding jewelry is not as difficult as you might think. Industry leading eco-friendly jewelry manufacturer Ecoura utilizes renewed gold and other materials to produce beautiful pieces of jewelry that you will be happy to wear forever. There are a few ways to make sure that you get something that is truly ethical and eco-friendly.
Vintage stones are one option for those who do not want to wear unethical items. Retro jewelry is considered to be very on-trend at the moment and is a great alternative to buying new items.
There are also certification programs that you can check to make sure that the stones that your jeweler is using come from an ethical source. Your jeweler should also be happy to discuss the source of your stones with you too, so if you have any doubts make sure you ask!
The melting and refining process of renewed gold means that it offers the same quality as new gold. As many gold mines have an open-pit design the damage to the environment can be far more destructive than you think. Not many people realize that up to 30 tons of rock can be destroyed to find enough gold to make one ring. Ecoura’s renewed gold jewelry is a great option if you prefer to leave the rock where nature intended!
Go a little off-beat
Did you consider wood for your wedding jewelry? Not many people do, but this is a real eco-friendly option. There are designs out there that include strands of braided silver and some eco-friendly diamonds so you do not have to give up on the idea of wearing jewelry that will make an impact on your big day.
Finding your eco-friendly jeweler is actually much easier than you might think. A few minutes spent with Google will bring you many alternatives in your local area. Make sure you ask them what they can offer you that is eco-friendly and ask as many questions as you can about their material sources.
Remember that your wedding day jewelry and in particular your wedding ring should last a lifetime. Why compromise with a cheap alternative when you can get quality statement pieces. like those from Ecoura, that are guilt-free and designed to last for years?
When you’re planning your big day, you want to leave a lasting impression on your guests, not on the ozone layer! But does this mean that you have to have everything second hand? The answer is no.
Vintage style is something that is very much on-trend at the moment and if you want to organize a vintage wedding then you can be reassured that you are dramatically reducing your carbon footprint. Being willing to re-use something that has already been created and used means that you are not paying for new things to be manufactured. However, there are plenty of brand new things that you can have on your wedding day that will not damage the environment.
The dress – vintage or new?
Any dress you choose for your day is one that you want to be eye-catching. Vintage gowns are all the rage at the moment and by shopping online or in specialist vintage stores you can pick up a bargain. Just remember that there are some eco-friendly dress labels that can create you a new gown using organic and eco-friendly materials so that your dress will not have the carbon footprint of a standard new gown.
The cars – vintage or new?
This is probably the one instance where a vintage car is not necessarily more eco-friendly than a new car. The energy efficiency of new cars means that they do not use as much fuel as vintage vehicles, so you are not adding to the destruction of the planet. You also don’t have the worry of the impact of getting a new item – the cars have already been built. You are not creating more demand for new cars, you are simply hiring the car that you like on the day. You are not causing a new car to be built, so the environmental impact of the manufacturing process is only a small consideration here.
The venue – vintage or new?
Older buildings tend not to have the energy efficiency of newer built properties. Country house hotels that date back 150 years or more are beautiful to look at and are wonderful backdrops for your photos but they are not built to modern-day green construction standards, even if they have included some energy efficient measures such as solar panels and recycling programs. On the other hand, most modern hotels have been built to comply with standards on eco-friendly building and include many more eco-friendly features that might include wind turbines, water recycling systems and a focus on the use of local suppliers.
These are just a few of the aspects of your green day that you might want to consider. Vintage implies a certain amount of eco-friendliness and a vintage wedding can be a beautiful event. However, vintage does not suit everybody. If you prefer to have a modern wedding it is good to know that you can opt for new on almost everything and still do your bit for the planet.
One of the first things you should do when planning your eco-friendly wedding is to source everything locally. The closer to home that you can find everything the smaller the impact you are going to have on the environment. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that sourcing local only means getting your food from local producers (although that is what we will focus on here!). If you look hard enough you will be able to find every aspect of your big day within very easy reach!
Locally sourced food is obviously one of the main points to consider. Most people don’t realize just how much food is imported from other countries, from meats to fruit, but there are always alternative supplies that you can find and food without air miles attached is so much better for the environment. Try local grocers and find out where they get their supplies – choose the items that have not travelled more than a few miles. Some farms will sell meat direct to the public, and if the products you choose are organic then so much the better. Organic produce means that there has been no harsh chemicals used in the production so there is no further damage to the environment.
So is there a downside to this? Yes, but it is not one that should put you off. The downside is that you will be limited to a menu of seasonal food. This might sound a little restrictive but throughout the year you can create great dishes with in-season produce so there is no reason why your guests should not enjoy tasty and creative dishes no matter what the time of year.
Locally produced foods also tend to be better for you. Food that has travelled will naturally have lost some of its freshness and therefore it will have lost some of its nutritional value too. The fresher something is when you eat it the more nutrients you get. If possible, have your caterers use products that have only been picked the day before the wedding so you can be sure that your guests are getting the full benefit.
You should also never forget that by sourcing locally you are lending your support to local businesses. Independent farmers and growers often lose out because their share of the market is much smaller. Go along to your local farmer’s market day and meet a few potential suppliers, talk to them about your wedding and exactly what you are looking for and they will be able to give you a few hints and tips about what to find where.
Your wedding day has the potential to vastly increase your carbon footprint but forward planning and staying within a mile or two of home for your supplies should put a stop to that. Just remember that ‘local’ is not the same as ‘compromise’!
For any event, but particularly a wedding, travel to and from the venue can be responsible for seriously increasing your carbon footprint. Everyone tends to travel in their own cars unless the wedding is a long distance from home, but car travel can be very damaging for the environment. So what is the solution? A car pool!
Organizing a car pool
This is going to seem like a mammoth task but there are a few things that you can do to make it go smoothly. First of all you need to ask people how they are going to get to and from the wedding. You could send out a mass email or just ask people to note it on their RSVP when they get their invitation. The next step is a little boring but it will help! Create a spreadsheet with all list of guests on it and note where they live and if they are planning to drive or not.
This spreadsheet will help you to work out if there are guests that live close enough together to share a vehicle. You will also need to know if the guests are planning to stay overnight at the wedding location – some will prefer to return to their own home and this will affect the way that you match people up.
Talk to everyone first before you go making arrangements for them. Some will be happy to car pool and some will not. Explain to everyone why you are doing it – some will want to help you to reduce your wedding day’s impact on the environment but there will also be people who do not understand why it is important. How much time you want to spend convincing them is up to you!
Car pool benefits
The reduction in fuel usage will be important for the environment but remember that it will also save your guests some money. The cost of gas can be split between everyone in the car, which would be much more if they had all arrived in individual cars. It also means that some of your guests can get to know each other before they arrive at the wedding, so you will have far fewer of those guests that do not know anyone and find it hard to talk to strangers. And there are also fewer parking issues – there are so many venues that only seem to have enough parking facilities for half the number of guests that you have invited!
Alternatives to car pools include hiring coaches to ferry guests from the church to the reception and then back to hotels or even home. When planning your wedding, consider not only the travelling that you are going to be doing but that of your guests too – the environmental impact soon adds up but with a little (or a lot) of careful planning, you can change that.
Mexico is a country that has attracted mass tourism in recent years, yet even with all the large scale luxury resorts there is a growing eco-tourism sector here and many of the larger hotels and resorts are now making the switch to greener practices. This makes it the ideal destination for those who want an eco-friendly honeymoon! Take a look at these luxury resorts where you can enjoy all the finest features of modern hotels, but without worrying about the damage being done to the planet.
Head over to Puerto Vallarta to Banderas Bay. The Xinalani Retreat is a tranquil resort that has both a jungle and ocean backdrop for you to enjoy. It is only a small hotel but the accommodation is luxurious. Here you can take part in wellness retreats and group workshops as well as enjoying all the luxury features of the resort.
Escudo Jaguar Hotel
This hotel can be found in the Usamacinta River in Frontera Corozal. This is a resort that has camping areas as well as standard hotel rooms. The Choles native people run the resort and have taken good care of the land around the resort. The food served here is based on locally-grown produce and there are plenty of activities that are available to guests.
The luxury bungalows at the resort have been constructed using eco-friendly methods and materials. Guests will notice that all the small green details have been covered. Again, a wide range of activities are available at the resort as well as local attractions such as craft workshops. Explore the local area and mingle with the local people to get a feel for the traditional side of life here.
Hacienda Chichen Resort & Yaxin Spa
Consider a trip to Chicen Itza where you can enjoy luxury accommodation but be close to the various Mayan ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula. The spa offers a range of holistic treatments that take their inspiration from the Mayan culture. There are a number of ecotourist activities in the region and the hotel can arrange for you to take part.
Puerta Calakmul Ecovillage
This is the perfect resort if you want to spend a little time exploring the jungle. The hotel has a high standard of accommodation as well as a range of amenities for guests to enjoy. Staff can arrange for you to go on trips to see the local ruins and other attractions in the area.
The hotels have employed a wide range of eco-friendly measures in order to reduce their carbon footprint. This includes alternative methods of energy production such as solar power and wind turbines as well as strong recycling policies and water saving measures. Using local produce not only cuts down on a carbon footprint but also supports the local communities. Why not consider one of these resorts for your eco-friendly honeymoon?