It’s pretty safe to say that you’re gearing up to attend, plan your own or help a friend organize their dream wedding this year. Weddings are a big part of what we do in the spring and summer, evidenced by the more than 45,000 weddings that took place in the DFW area in 2013. Weddings cost a lot of money (the average cost of a 2013 wedding in the DFW area was $27,665), take large amounts of time and effort to plan and can create a ton of unnecessary waste (each wedding creates an estimated 400-600 pounds of waste).
Make this fresh start for your loved ones a fresh start for the environment as well. Miranda Moore is the founder of earthlingevents.com that specializes in eco-friendly weddings and events located in the DFW area. One of the first questions Moore asks her clients is, “What is the most important aspect to them?” It’s extremely difficult to create a wedding with zero impact on the environment, so it’s important to decide what aspects you can trim or change to decrease the resources used on your big day. With more than 2.5 million weddings per year in the U.S., doing any little bit will help.
Whether you are the bride, attendee or somewhere in between, here are some tips to make this wedding season environmentally friendly.
• Before the wedding even starts you can make some simple decisions to lessen your impact on the environment such as choosing responsible rings. Vintage is all the rage; make it a real vintage ring by upcycling. Mining for metals, such as gold, causes environmental devastation and is associated with human welfare issues. Take a look at the breathtaking rings available on brilliantearth.com to find some classy ethical rings that go beyond conflict free.
• Break out of the traditional mode by losing the paper invitations and sending your guests a high quality, full color, engaging video or online flyer to invite them to your day. Online can be more of a conversation as well, giving guests an opportunity to interact with you and everyone else attending. If you were sent a paper version, most weddings now also have a website you can RSVP on — save the stamp and transportation, and RSVP online.
• When you’re setting up your registry or choosing what to buy on someone else’s, choose items that are energy efficient, useful, made from recycled materials and if you can, from a local source. It’s impossible to meet every standard but making a few decisions on specific items adds up. Check out the shop at greenbrideguide.com to put together your own eco-friendly registry.
• Your reception can be beautiful and green at the same time. Choose a location wisely. Find out about the efforts they already have in place to decrease energy use. Is the building LEED energy certified? Do they have recycling and compost containers on site ready to go?
• Decorate with creativity. Pinterest has provided us with a vast collection of do-it-yourself ideas to create crafty, stylish and recycled decor for your wedding. Start browsing the pictures and collecting the supplies you need from your friends and family.
• Online photography is faster and more environmentally efficient than the days of print. You can even create a shared album on an iPhone that everyone at your wedding can access and add pictures to. It’s an instantaneous way to get the best personal candid picture memories to treasure from the day. If you’re bride hasn’t done this by wedding day, it’s a great surprise to start getting everyone at the party involved!
• Getting to the wedding is the easiest way to conserve resources. Carpool and group together to book a stay at a vacation rental. Sites like vrbo.com offer vacation rentals that are apartments or houses many with eco-friendly building materials and options. Vacation rentals give you the opportunity to cook your own food, adjust the thermostat or open windows, recycle in house, and some offer compost facilities, bikes and sustainably sourced linens.
Whatever your colors are for the big day, make sure to include a little green.