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.
Brides today are often turning to the DIY option for various aspects of their wedding, but is this really any greener than other options? The answer is that there are various ways a DIY wedding can be much more eco-friendly than the ready-prepared options so a little careful planning could be all you need.
When you realize just how many things are ready-made for your big day, it can seem to be easier to have somebody else do it for you. Items such as stationery, decorations, party favors and even clothes can all be made by you for the wedding and one of the advantages of doing things this way is that you can be sure you get exactly what you want, but making sure it is green is another matter!
You can order eco-friendly stationery for your wedding online or have a local stationery supplier produce it for you, but it is just as eco-friendly for you to purchase recycled paper and other items to make your own. If you simply buy random items to make your wedding stationery with then you cannot be sure that it is the greenest option. However, make sure you allow plenty of time as if you want to get them just perfect it can be a very time-consuming thing to do.
For a DIY wedding the best decorations are those that you can find in the garden! Raid your own green space as well as that of your friends and neighbors to gather huge amounts of flowers and trailing greenery. The only downside to this option is that it has to be done as late as possible to avoid the flowers drooping before the big day. Aim to decorate the venue the night before. If you opt for other types of decorations such as paper decorations or balloons, you will find that your carbon footprint rises slightly. And when you have finished with your flowers and greenery, they can simply be added to the compost!
When you are putting together your party favors you could just purchase these ready-made but you cannot be sure what the carbon footprint of these is. Why not consider a party favor that helps your guests to live an eco-friendly lifestyle? Wild-flower seeds in recycled paper packets are a good choice as it can help to give guests a lasting memory of your big day.
Okay, we will admit you need some serious skills to be able to pull this one off but you can make sure your hand-made outfits are eco-friendly. Using eco-friendly fabrics such as organic cottons and silks are a good idea but you need to make sure that they are produced locally (or as near as you can get!) in order to be sure that their carbon footprint is low. Remember that many fabrics are mass-produced in the Far East these days so do a little research before you make this decision. This is another one that will have to be started early to make sure that you are ready for the big day. Last but not least, don’t forget your eco-friendly wedding rings!
When you are planning your eco-friendly wedding, Las Vegas is probably not the most obvious destination. Usually associated with bright lights and glitz, this city does have its fair share of venues that are taking a keen interest in the environment and which can help you to have the day of your dreams without denting the ozone layer any further.
Chapel of the Flowers
At the Chapel of the Flowers the team works hard to keep their carbon footprint to a minimum. One change has been to purchase flowers for the venue in small quantities and in accordance with the requirements of each couple. As much as possible for the venue is purchased locally and when items need to be delivered to other locations a fuel-efficient van is used. There are several outdoor wedding locations to choose from at the venue so you can make the most of the natural beauty of the surroundings and of course, the natural light. The venue has its own photographers and instead of printing out all the photos you can simply go online to view the images to choose which ones you want to have printed. Planning your day can all be done via the website and email if you prefer so you can keep your own carbon footprint low.
Aria at CityCenter
This venue is one of the largest hotels to achieve the LEED Gold certification. Eco-friendly features here include a natural gas plant to generate both energy and heat and it also keeps emissions to a minimum. There are water saving and recycling programs and all cars at the venue are gas-powered. The hotel uses low-watt lighting to keep energy usage down and also has a number of features designed to reflect the sun so that the cost of cooling the building is much lower.
This venue is also LEED Certified and is home to an ecological café and catering service. Those who come here can not only enjoy a greener wedding day but can also learn more about desert life. Food produced for events here all comes from local suppliers who offer fresh and organic produce. The carpets are recycled, the building has straw bale insulation and there are cooling towers attached to the hotel. There are also facilities to produce solar power and wind power and there are a number of recycling initiatives.
Choosing Las Vegas for your big day does not mean that you have to buy into the ostentatious image of the city where there are cars galore and energy consumption is at an all-time high. All you have to do is a little research and you could find that you have a venue that can do everything you want for the environment and still give you the glamorous day to remember.
If you are planning the perfect eco-friendly wedding day then one of the main things you have to ensure is that your wedding dress is eco-friendly. We all know just how important the dress is. After all, you are the bride and it is only right that all eyes are on you as you walk up the aisle. You should never worry that going green means that you have to compromise on impact at all.
It is well-known that for many retailers it is far cheaper to have garments made in far-flung parts of the world and export them in than it is to have them made locally. However, there are dress-makers in every town and city that can easily help you to create your dream dress without the need for counting the air-miles.
Eco-friendly fabric requirements vary. You could choose fabric that is manufactured locally, although in most areas this is very hard to come by. You could also choose fabric that is made organically, so you are reducing the damage that is done by pesticides and other chemicals. You could opt for recycled fabric so that you are not adding to the planet’s problems and you are using something that you can find locally.
You might be able to find just what you need in a vintage store. Using a dress that has previously belonged to someone else is not something that you should dismiss. Vintage style is very popular at the moment and there are some exquisitely-made dresses from the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s that will be able to help you to make an impact on your big day. One of the saddest things about weddings in general is that most of the beautiful gowns that are bought will never be used again – but you could change that!
It is tempting to buy off the peg sometimes as this can save a great deal of money but remember that these are dresses that are mass-produced. It can be much more eco-friendly to look for something unique. Talk to a local dress maker about creating an individual dress, taking into account all the points mentioned above. Organic silk or recycled fabric can be used to create a beautiful dress that is unique to you. It is much harder to get an individual look if you go to one of the mainstream stores for your gown.
Before you hit the shops to find your perfect dress, have a look online to find out what eco-friendly options are available in your area. Consider the type of dress that you want and see if you can find a similar style in a vintage store. If you are clear in your mind about the type of dress that you want it can be much easier to work out how to find it!
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?
The beautiful state of Oregon is home to many amazing venues that you could consider for your special day but are they eco-friendly? The good news is that there are plenty of venues that take their commitment to green issues seriously. Why not consider one of these for your wedding?
Village Green Resort
If you want to create an outdoor theme for your wedding then a good place to start might be the Village Green Resort. This Cottage Grove hotel is perfect for those who have a large family and who want to bring along the pets too! With standard hotel features such as Wi-Fi, swimming pools and a spa, you could arrange to have your wedding as part of the 14 acres of spectacular gardens.
Tipi Village Retreat
Head over to the Mohawk Valley near Eugene, this is perfect for those who want a wedding with a difference. You can have your wedding here and stay in one of the tipis, a cabin or studio. The tipis come complete with stone floors, comfortable beds and plenty of blankets to fend off the cold of the evening. It is the perfect place to get back to nature and facilities include shared bathrooms, organic locally-produced foods and excursions to explore the local area. It is the ideal place for a rustic wedding without all the modern trappings that can send your carbon footprint soaring.
For a large wedding, Hornings Hideout at North Plains could be just what you need. With the ability to accommodate more than 500 guests, you could have the prefect outdoor wedding to make the most of the beautiful surroundings. The venue can arrange aspects of your day such as the catering or you can organize your own. For a rustic wedding this is a great option and the venue has put a number of sustainable practices into place to keep the impact on the environment to a minimum.
Located right in the heart of the city of Portland, you can have a rooftop wedding that will not compromise your eco-friendly principles. The rooftop terrace of the Ecotrust building is perfect for both the ceremony and the reception and the venue only uses sustainable caterers to provide the perfect feast for the day. The streetcar in the city goes right to the front door of the buildings so guests can help to bring down the carbon footprint of the day by opting for public transport. The building dates back to the 19th century and when it was renovated to become the home of Ecotrust 98% of the original materials were reused.
Your wedding does not have to make a huge impact on the environment and with the help of venues like these you can keep the impact to a minimum. Talk to the event planners at the venues to find out just how easy your big day is to arrange!
For those who want to do a little more to help the environment there are many ways to make the necessary changes to their lifestyle, but how many people consider the eco-friendly credentials of their jewelry? The truth is that most commercially produced jewelry has quite a substantial carbon footprint, so choosing eco-friendly pieces can make a difference. Eco-friendly jewelry is manufactured using methods that are much more responsible, both socially and environmentally.
When it comes to fair working practices and conditions the gold mining industry does not have the best reputation. The actual work to extract the gold is damaging for the earth and with issues such as safety standards, respect for the indigenous peoples and the use of toxic substances like mercury and cyanide in the process of mining, an eco-friendly alternative is essential. Renewed gold is the alternative that could ensure that no further damage is done. Renewed gold is the precious metal that has already been mined and previously used. It is simply recycled to create new pieces. Ecoura uses renewed gold to create unique and beautiful pieces of jewelry that will not have a negative impact upon the planet.
Did you ever hear the phrase ‘conflict diamonds’? Many of the world’s diamonds are mined and sold in order to fund wars and other violent acts in Africa. Lives are lost and there are human rights abuses during the mining process. Again, the methods used for mining are very damaging to the environment. Getting diamonds that are conflict-free is not easy because there is not really any way to guarantee that they have been mined ethically but there are some sources of diamonds that are much more environmentally-friendly such as Canada.
Environmentally friendly pearls
You may think that pearls are much more eco-friendly than diamonds and gold – after all, they are produced by oysters. However, the methods used to harvest them are not eco-friendly. There is ecological damage in the form of the depletion of the species. Ecosystems are damaged when the high-powered hoses are used to clean the oysters. Mussel populations are also affected by the cultivation of pearls by using mussel nuclei. Some pearl farms are using natural methods for cleaning pearls that do not destroy the environment for the native fish populations.
When you are buying a piece of jewelry it is always a good idea to ask where and how the piece was manufactured. Most jewelers will be able to tell you where it has come from, but it will always help if you look for a jeweler that specializes in eco-friendly jewelry. Ecoura uses renewed gold and it is estimated that for every gold ring manufactured this way, between 5 and 20 tons of environmental waste and damage can be saved. And the piece you purchase will still be just as beautiful as those that have left a negative stamp on the environment.
So your wedding day is fast approaching and you need to decide what your guests are going to be drinking at the reception. Usually the answer is very easy – you pick up champagne for the first drinks and the toasts and then offer wines, beers, and soft drinks before the bar opens in the evening.
If you want your day to be as eco-friendly as possible you may have to rethink your plans. True champagne comes from the region of the same name in France, which means that it may have developed a significant carbon footprint before it even reaches your wedding. If you can cope with the amount of travelling that your champagne might have done you might want to consider it anyway as a number of the main producers are taking significant steps towards making this an eco-friendly product. Recent reports suggest that the champagne industry wants to reduce its carbon footprint by 25% within four years and by 75% by 2050.
Organic champagne is available and means that no chemicals have been used during the process of production. Some are changing the way that they produce the wine so that they are sustainable in terms of water conservation and energy consumption and others are using as much biodegradable packaging as possible.
Locally made champagne is your next option so that you can cut back on its travel time and impact. Since these wines are not developed in the Champagne region of France we call them “sparkling wines” and there are some very good options on the market. Many of your guests may not even realize that they are not drinking champagne.
The same applies with wines and ciders. If you want to serve these, opt for locally made wine so that it does not have a heavy carbon footprint. The flavor of organic wines is often much better than those that have been produced with the help of pesticides and other chemicals. Many regions now produce organic ciders so getting your hands on this drink is not going to be difficult.
You might want your guests to be able to enjoy a cocktail or two on your big day and for this you are going to need spirits. It is now known that a number of producers in the US have eco-friendly spirits so you definitely will not miss out. If you are opting for gin, for example, try the Bluecoat American Gin, made in Philadelphia and has eco-friendly credentials because it uses organic ingredients and no additives.
Vodka is another option and there is an organic vodka made in Idaho that could be just what you are looking for. If not, opt for one created in Oregon from organic corn, wheat and rye – great for mixers and cocktails and perfect for a party!
Why not talk to local bartenders or your catering service to find out what else there is in your area to give your drinks menu that eco-friendly touch?
If you want to head to the Antipodes (Australia or New Zealand) for your honeymoon then you don’t have to worry that you will be compromising your eco-friendly principles to do it. There are plenty of destinations there where you can relax and enjoy your first vacation together as a married couple while not vastly inflating your carbon footprint.
This retreat can be found in New Zealand, in the heart of the Southern Alps. The accommodation is eco-friendly and all the food served at the resort is self-sufficient as it is produced on-site and it is organic. This is widely considered to be a great place for an adventure honeymoon as well as the ideal location in which to recharge your batteries. There are spa areas and therapy suites as well as yoga and meditation, but you can also take the time to go hiking and kayaking if you prefer.
Over in Australia head to North Queensland near Cairns and you will find the Bloomfield Lodge. A remote resort, it has 17 rooms of natural timber that give amazing views of the rainforests. Its eco-friendly credentials come from the solar energy that powers the telephone system and keeps the swimming pool warm. The resort also has a very strong policy of using recycled materials and products. All vessels belonging to the resort also have low emission outboards, so you can explore the area knowing that the environment isn’t suffering as a result.
Silky Oaks Lodge
This resort is a reminder that you don’t have to forgo luxury in order to enjoy an eco-friendly honeymoon in Australia. This resort offers tree house accommodations close to the Mossman Gorge River and each room has been fitted with a marble bathroom and a walk in shower. Each also has a private balcony with views of the Daintree National Park. Relax in luxury too by making the most of the on-site spa. The tree house restaurant is a very popular place and included in the cost of your honeymoon would be guided walks through the rainforest and the use of mountain bikes.
Daintree Eco Lodge
Also in Queensland is the Daintree Eco Lodge. This resort claims to be the ‘most pampering ecolodge in the world’. You would get the seclusion you crave here as there are only 15 bayans and you can avoid the crowds that you would get at larger resorts. Located in the beautiful rainforest, the resort has a luxurious spa and you are guaranteed locally produced cuisine. During your stay why not take part in one of the rainforest walks or go jungle surfing? There are plenty of adventure tours on offer so that you can make the most of your time here.
Australia has so much potential for those who want to be green – why not consider it for your environmentally friendly honeymoon?