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.