Before we get into what I am doing to make my wedding a little more green, let’s take a second to think about items that traditionally appear in weddings, shall we? Bride’s wedding dress, groom’s tuxedo, wedding party attire, rings, flowers, food (plates, napkins, silverware, cups), decorations…and that isn’t even close to everything. Now, think about where these items are coming from, how they are being produced, and the impact they might have on the environment; both directly and indirectly. Yeah, talk about overwhelming.
It wasn’t until I was knee deep in planning our big day, had sent out my “Made in China” wedding invitations via snail mail, and bought my beautiful brand new wedding dress that I realized the depth of the impact my wedding could have on the environment. I have always been a nature enthusiast and was quite ashamed that it had not come as second nature to plan a green wedding. Thankfully, it’s never too late to start thinking and acting sustainably.
SO, after my shame diminished a little I began thinking about my options; from start to finish. First, our venue is in a state park. So, that’s good. There is an entrance fee which will help to maintain and preserve the natural habitat. This also means that we can let nature do most of the decorating. What decorating we will do can be made from repurposed or found materials. At the entrance of our ceremony there will be double doors opening up into the seating area. Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore will undoubtedly be able to supply the doors, wood, and paint to create most of our decorations.
I have a friend who just got married and she offered to let me borrow vases that she used for centerpieces at her wedding. She also threw in the candles that had not burned all the way down. During the ferocious storms last year trees fell in my folk’s backyard. Since they need to be taken care of anyway, we will use stumps from the fallen trees to line the isle. The borrowed vases will sit on top, decorated with burning candles or possible locally grown flowers. After, we will use the wood for a campfire later in the season.
The arch will be made and decorated with repurposed material. We might use branches from the fallen trees if the right sizes are “available”. We might place each foot of the arch in potted plants to stabilize it.
As a thank you gift to our guests, we are going to give everyone plantable paper cut in the shape of flowers. We will use 100% recycled paper and wildflower seeds to make this gift. We will use biodegradable hemp twine and recycled paper to attach our advice about how “Love Grows.” We found directions to make plantable paper HERE
Speaking of flowers, I am going to contact our community gardens and ask about locally grown flowers to use in my bouquet. Most flower shops must import flowers from different states or even different countries! I will bind the bouquets with hemp twine. And, speaking of seeds, our guests will have bird seed bundles to toss into the air as we make our grand exit from the ceremony.
Instead of printing a bunch of programs that will likely be thrown away and generate unnecessary waste, we will paint a sign on canvas that I already have which will display the lovely details about the wedding and wedding party.
Our rings have been made out of silver bought from Nunemaker’s local coin shop, turquoise found by my parents in the mountains of North Carolina, and an onyx stone purchased at a locally owned “Metaphysical Mom and Pop Shop.” They were crafted locally by a very dear friend.
There are many little things to think about. Food waste: compost at the community garden? Leftovers: could we donate them? Recycling: plates, cups, silverware? And there are many things that are unsustainable that seem as though they can’t be avoided. Someday our thinking will shift and it these considerations will be automatic. My advice: don’t beat yourself up and do the best you can.
On to resources! Talk to friends and family for ideas. Many ideas came to me by way of loved ones! People love to help plan joyful events!! Also, I found really great ideas on different web sites by formulating a search using key words like “Eco Wedding”, “Green Wedding”, “Sustainable Wedding” and adding reception, decorations, or using the exact phrasing I was looking for. Visit the links below to view the tip of the iceburg of information about DIY projects and Eco Weddings.
Also, check out the Sustainable Celebrations Pinterest Board that the Center for a Sustainable Future hosts for more pictures and links!
I love good conversation and am always willing to brainstorm ideas so please feel free to contact me at email@example.com