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.
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.
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 want an eco-friendly wedding then it is a good idea to work out which is the most eco-friendly season to hold your wedding. There are different eco-friendly advantages to each season and you have to choose the ones that will best complement your wishes and theme of the day.
Spring flowers are always popular at weddings and to have them at any other time of the year means that you are supporting commercial growers from other areas, adding to your carbon footprint. Floral crowns are an eco-friendly alternative to tiaras for both the bride and the bridesmaids, or simpler real flower hair accessories. Spring is also a good time to sow seeds and the popularity of wild flower seed packs as wedding favors means that your guests can attend your wedding and transform the look of their garden just in time for summer!
A summer wedding allows you far more choice of venues, particularly if you want to keep the natural feel and have your wedding outside. Receptions can be held in marquees and there will be no need to create a background for your photographs – nature does all of that work for you! Remember that a wedding held indoors will use a lot more electricity and other forms of energy to keep it going. An outdoor wedding means that you can make use of the extended daylight hours and keep your energy use to a minimum.
A rustic theme is great for an autumn wedding and the good news is that it is also an eco-friendly one. A barn wedding (if you have a barn for hire nearby!) is always a good choice. Why not provide your guests with an edible place card? At this time of the year apples are plentiful (although it helps if you know somebody who has an orchard!) and all you have to do is write names on a small piece of card and tie it to the stalk of the apple. Burlap bags also look great at a rustic wedding and they are perfect for the wedding favors. It is a natural material and the bags will serve as a lasting reminder of the day.
Eco-friendly weddings in winter are a little harder to pull off. Weddings and the reception generally have to be held indoors, depending upon which part of the country you are in, and this means that you need to do a little hunting for your eco-friendly venue. Wedding accessories can also be an issue. Flowers for example, can be a problem. If you want specific flowers then you are usually be using imported flowers or getting them from a supplier that has force-grown them in a greenhouse. These options are not eco-friendly. Opt for what nature already has. Holly, ivy and mistletoe can help to bring nature indoors for you and you can often find these in your own back yard.
No matter what time of the year you want to have your wedding there will be an option that will help you to keep it eco-friendly, but remember that sometimes, what works during one season will not necessarily work during another!
It is good to be greener in your outlook and want to have an eco-friendly wedding, but there are some eco-friendly options that will end up putting a hefty dent in your bank balance. Here are just a few ways that you can keep the cost down without compromising your greener beliefs.
If you want to send paper invitations then there are many eco-friendly ways to do it, but you can save a lot of money by avoiding paper altogether. Why not consider sending email invitations? You can create an e-card – and there are many sites out there that can help you with this – and send that instead. In many cases these are free to use, but there are a few sites where you pay a nominal fee. You can even set up a free website through which to send your invites – all you need is a little creativity!
Anyone who has gone shopping for a wedding dress recently will know that they can cost thousands. However, you can save by purchasing a second hand dress or by renting one just for the day. After all, while your wedding dress is something special you are only going to wear it once so what is the point of spending a lot of money? Renting and buying second hand are also options that are going to have far less of an impact on the environment than buying new. On the other hand, ask around in the family. Mothers, aunts and even grandmothers may still have their wedding dress tucked away and most will be only too happy to let you wear it as well.
Flowers for your wedding can also be quite costly but you can remain green and save (a lot!) of money by growing your own flowers. This will take some planning and you will have to be getting ready for this months in advance to make sure that you have the right flowers. If you don’t already have things like rose bushes in your garden talk to friends, family and neighbors. Find out what they grow and what they are prepared to let you have for your wedding. You might have to be a little flexible by doing things this way. There is no guarantee that the next door neighbor’s rose bushes are going to produce the right amount of roses, for example, so you might have to get a little creative here too!
Hiring a photographer is expensive but you can save money by asking a friend or family member to take photographs for you on the day. Make sure that you opt for a digital camera so that there are no processing costs or chemicals involved and you can easily make copies of these and send them out to friends and family.
There are plenty of other ways that you can save money on the day. Think about ways to organize the catering so that you are not paying out too much money and consider the venue for the event too – every little aspect of the day costs but you can keep everything to a minimum with some forward planning.
At Ecoura you know our love for the environment runs deep and this is why all of our rings are made from renewed gold. We also plant a tree for every engagement ring purchase. Find out more about our commitment to preserving and protecting the Earth.
If you want to make sure that your wedding is as eco-friendly as possible then you need to be organized from day one! You might not be the sort of person who likes living their life through lists but this could be the best way forward.
Step one is to create a few checklists. First of all make a checklist of your ideal wedding and everything you want for that day. You probably have a strong idea of your ideal day in your head and you need to list everything out so you can work through each item one by one. The list will include everything from your dress to the party favors. When you create your original list you will probably find it hard to believe that everything on there could be eco-friendly but it will only take a little research for you to realize that it can be.
Your next checklist will be a chronological one – what needs to be done and when. Your research will help you to determine how this should be ordered.
You will have to do a little research to find everything that you need for the wedding. You might want a vintage dress and shoes which are far greener than new ones, but where do you find these in your local area? Allow time to do a little searching – start online then visit a few places in person, but make sure that these are fairly local otherwise you will just be adding to your carbon footprint instead of keeping it down!
One of the ways in which you can have a greener wedding is to carry out certain tasks yourself. You can make your own wedding invitations and other stationery, your own wedding cake and even your own dress if you are feeling particularly creative. All of this is far more eco-friendly than purchasing from suppliers, even those that are based locally. However, it is also far more time consuming than having it all done for you so you have to factor this into your planning.
An important thing is to plan as far ahead as you can to allow all of your suppliers to meet your requirements. Your catering company, for example, may be very happy to put together an eco-friendly menu but this may involve them dealing with different suppliers than usual so may need more time for planning. Talk to them as soon as you can so that they can tell you exactly when you will need to confirm your plans.
An alternative to doing your own planning is to hire the services of an eco-friendly wedding planner. They will have all the contacts that you need to make all aspects of your day green, so instead of you traipsing around to find your vintage gown and accessories, they should be able to point you in the right direction.
When you want an eco-friendly approach to your wedding, this should be applied to every last detail of the day. You may have looked into the reception venue itself to find out if it has eco-friendly credentials, but did you consider how your reception room is going to be decorated?
The good news is that it is very easy to take an environmentally-friendly approach to your reception decorations. One tip is to focus on the natural. If you opt for natural fabrics like organic cotton for your table cloths and napkins then you have a good basis for your table designs. You can then add on to this with other natural features.
Hessian-style table runners have a very rustic look and will work well no matter what colors you put with it. Flowers are a good choice for table decorations and you can be very creative with them. However, you need to think about where you get your flowers from. A standard florist may be importing flowers from other parts of the country or even from abroad so that you have a good choice all year round. The problem with this is that even though flowers are natural they may have a substantial carbon footprint. You need to be sure that the flowers that you choose are grown locally and have not traveled far. You can even take this a step further by growing your own flowers for the reception. You could consider wild flowers during the summer but be careful where and what you pick as there may be restrictions.
For a winter wedding it may be that your choice of flowers is limited unless you live somewhere where the weather is good all year round. If this is the case you do not have to lose out – consider foliage and greenery. A wedding at Christmas, for example, would not be complete without holly and ivy used to decorate tables and to create interesting decorations for side tables.
Candles also make good table decorations and you can rent lanterns and candlesticks so that your tables all match. You can make your own candles easily for that personal touch and they can easily be colored to match the scheme of your wedding. Just remember that if you are going to use candles you may need extras as some might have burnt out after a few hours.
Table confetti is also a popular choice for decorations at a wedding and you can make your own from old books or recycled paper. Use a craft punch to get different shapes such as hearts, butterflies and flowers so that it can fit into your theme.
All it takes to get the eco-friendly decorations that you want is a little planning. Ensure that you source locally for the most environmentally friendly options and it does not hurt to keep it simple – the day is about you, not your design skills!
We all know that men’s wedding outfits are easy to arrange – the vast majority of men will rent outfits and then just return them after the wedding and while this is an option for the bride and the bridesmaids, it is not always what we want. So how do we get an eco-friendly wedding outfit that is exactly what we want?
When it comes to the dress there are plenty of options. You could find a local seamstress to make a dress to your own specifications using eco-friendly fabrics. You could opt for a vintage or secondhand dress or you could even turn to a designer known for producing new dresses with an eco-friendly slant.
Sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton, some silk blends or vintage fabrics are often the best choice when creating an eco-friendly wedding dress. There are suppliers that have them in stock and finding one local to you should not be a problem.
The trend for vintage wedding dresses shows no signs of abating and this is a good thing when it comes to the eco-friendly dress. There are plenty of vintage websites that you can check out for ideas, but thrift shops also stock secondhand wedding dresses and with a little bit of searching finding a gem should be easy. It is easy enough to find somebody to carry out a few alterations if needed. There are also plenty of designers now that want to make the most of the trend for eco-friendly dresses so a quick search on the internet should find one that you like and a store that stocks their designs locally.
The main issue with a wedding dress is that you will only wear it once, so what should you do with it after the wedding? The options are endless. You can donate it to charity, have another outfit made from it or pass it on to another family member. The main thing is not to leave it languishing at the back of the closet.
Shoes are probably the one part of the bride’s outfit that most people will forget when it comes to eco-friendly fashion. There are designers that create eco-friendly shoes although these are not going to be to everyone’s taste. For this reason it is probably a good idea to hit the vintage and thrift stores again. In most cases wedding shoes will only have been worn once so it can be easy to find a pair that is in almost-new condition. Again, once the wedding is over pass them on to another person or donate them to charity.
Extras such as a veil are very easy to find in vintage stores so if you want to consider eco-friendly for accessories as well then you should not have a problem, but whatever you choose to do, make sure that you have an outfit that you will love and that you will have a day to remember.