Eco-friendly weddings are all the rage this season! Whether you are the event planner, a guest, or Bride-zilla herself, there are ways to lessen your impact on the planet while you toast your glass of bubbly.
Did you know the average wedding costs $22,000, yet the average household income of married couples is only $60,000? That’s staggering. Certainly not the way you want to start out your union, in deep debt! However, there are many ways to save green with a “green wedding”…and still provide a tastefully decorated, lavish event.
My friend, Tesha and her husband Andre’ had an amazing Green Wedding last year. She shared her sustainable ideas with me, along with the resources she found after weeks of thoughtful research. She didn’t compromise on beauty, either. It was a gorgeous and special event, but it didn’t break their pocketbooks or the environment!
First, the venue. Tesha and Andre’ combined the wedding and reception in the same place, saving transportation costs and energy. You can also consider hiring a van to transport from the wedding to the reception for the guests. If you are a guest and these are not offered, you can carpool with another guest! Events in the morning or evening are more energy-efficient than a mid-day event, and provide better lighting for pictures, too.
The invitations could be completely paperless, since we live in the age of electronic communication…many folks also start a blog to keep guests posted as the big day approaches. Some events are now using e-vites instead of paper invitations. Tesha used recycled paper with soy ink and taffeta bows, and asked guests to limit gifts. If they insisted on gifts, she asked that they be wrapped in paper bags or burlap, or not wrapped at all!
The dresses and suits – while you may not have luck finding second hand attire, you can still save money and be smart about your choices. Cotton and Linen are natural fibers and much better for cooling off nervous nuptials. Dresses or suits should be a current style that can be reused by the wedding party. The wedding dress can also be more practical, for future use at a formal event. Or, like me, you can loan your dress to a friend to wear it years later, a new way to ‘recycle’!
Next, the decorations and flowers…and this is where you can save tons of money. Tesha had all her wedding party involved to help make it special, by do-it-yourself projects many of which came from Martha Stewart’s website. The table decorations were simple, yet elegant, using jute material as table clothes (bought at papermart.com), dried lavender (also used for the wedding party flowers, purchased at thelavenderpath.com, also available at localharvest.com) and pruned limbs and leaves in a crafty container as centerpieces.
Dried roses from Pottery Barn doubled as decoration and guest favors, who took them home to “reuse” them. Other favors were jute bags with handmade key rings and rock/magnets made in Kenya, as a tie into Tesha’s heritage. The bride also made her bridesmaids luxurious handmade soap, made with lavender buds and glycerin, molded into beautiful shapes, presented in a jute bag.
Atop the table, guests used corn-based plastic ware (ecoproducts.com), all of which are biodegradable. The cake was preservative-free, made by a friend, with an all-natural, beautiful stone cake topper the couple will treasure for years.
The memories from any event long outweigh the day itself. You can rest assured for many years that your special day did not have a huge impact and expense when you plan the affair with the planet in mind, and of course, for better or worse…if you don’t, your guests could “blow the sustainable wooden whistle on you”!