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Green Weddings

What exactly is a green wedding?  A green wedding is a wedding where the bride and groom try to limit the impact of their entire event on the planet.  There are lots of ways to do this without having to sacrifice any of your own style or elegance.  You can have an "eco-chic" wedding.  This means your event will be just as gorgeous as any conventional wedding.  However, there will not be the waste usually associated with such an event.  As an added bonus, green weddings end up saving you money a good portion of the time. Every portion of your wedding has options that are eco-friendly and certainly worth thinking about.  You can incorporate just a couple of eco-friendly elements or go completely green from your dress right down to the food you choose to serve at your reception.  Keep in mind that every "green" choice you make will make a difference to the environment.  

Why go green?  Having a green wedding day has economic, social and environmental benefits.  

  1. Economic Benefits:  As a general rule, being green saves money.  In the economy today this is most likely a good enough reason for anyone to do it.  By being eco-conscious and making simple substitutions you can very easily decrease your footprint on the planet and the overall cost of your event at the same time.  A good example would be to choose a location for your wedding that is central to most of your guest.  This way, everyone will save gas (good for the planet) and money (good for them).  
  2. Social Benefits:  Wedding are a $60 Billion plus industry and the average one will cost almost $40,000!  By choosing to have a green wedding, it is an opportunity for you as a couple to make a difference by supporting local businesses and businesses that are environmentally responsible.  Be sure and talk with your vendors and your guests about your eco-friendly choices and why you are making them.  Encourage guests to consider green alternatives to transportation and attire as well.  
  3. Environmental Benefits:  On average each wedding in the United States (about 2.5 million per year) will produce about 400-600 pounds of garbage and 62 tons of carbon dioxide.  That is a whole bunch of waste!  Just think about all the "stuff" that goes into a wedding that is not eco-friendly.  There is the gown that is bleached white and made to be worn only once, there are flowers that are flown in from other countries, the jewelry containing gems that have been mined, even the makeup the bride wears makes a big impact on the environment.  A really good example is wedding invitations.  The amount of paper that is used in making wedding invitations each year could cover the island of Manhattan.  Think about this - if each couple that gets married each year chooses to make just one green choice, that would be 2.5 million green choices in one year.  That's a huge impact!
Eco-Friendly Wedding Options

Recycled Paper Invitation

Recycled Paper Invitations

Vintage Wedding Dresses

Vintage Wedding Dresses

Eco-friendly wedding favors

Eco-Friendly Wedding Favors

As a couple, you have many choices to make when planning your green wedding.  By choosing to incorporate eco-friendly choices into your wedding, you will take a bit more time in planning.  However, any additional effort you make is surely a responsible choice and will make a great impact on mother earth.  

Wedding Jewelry:  On average, a couple will spend over $7,000 on their engagement ring and wedding bands.  This amount funnels $16 billion each year into the conventional jewelry market.  However, this money could be spent on jewelry that is more environmentally and socially responsible by using eco-conscious jewelers.  These are jewelers that choose to use recycled metals and stone and diamonds that are ethically sourced.  Vintage jewelry and family heirlooms are also great, sustainable choices and usually a much less expensive option.  

Wedding Invitations:  So much paper is used to pull off a wedding.  Everywhere you look there is paper:  save-the-date cards, wedding invitations, RSVP cards, programs, menus, thank you cards, disposable napkins.  The list is endless.  Making paper in the traditional way uses tons of energy and creates a very large amount of waste.  It sometimes also uses harsh chemicals like bleach for white invitations.  However, using recycled and/or waste paper, soy inks or just going digital are all excellent green choices. Do remember, however, that you don't have to go to an extreme.  Maybe you want to put all "extra" information on a wedding website, but still send a one page recycled paper invitation as well.  This will significantly cut down on your environmental footprint, but still give you the traditional feel you want.  

Attire:  Here is the main problem in a nutshell.  A single-use wedding gown that is bleached white.  Bridesmaids dresses that will only be worn once.  If you want to be environmentally conscious but still want to be stylish, how do you pull this off?  It really isn't as hard as you think.  Many designers are now making their wedding gowns from sustainable materials.  You can also choose to borrow a dress from a friend or family member, go shopping for vintage wedding dresses, or, if you choose to purchase a new gown, donate it after your wedding day.  

Wedding Day Make-up:  Even though our skin is the largest organ on the body and is designed to be a protective barrier, it is estimated that the average woman who wears lipstick will absorb approximately 4 pounds of lipstick into her body over her lifetime. Now think about that in terms of the toxic chemicals that many beauty products are made from.  By choosing all natural beauty products, not only will you be helping the environment, you will be saving yourself from absorbing the toxic chemicals into your own body.  

Wedding Photography:  This is one of the easier areas to go green.  By choosing to use digital photography, you are already making an impact.  However, if you go completely digital, that's a bigger impact.  But again, you don't need to go to extremes to make a difference.  You can view your photos online and then choose just the ones that are perfect to have printed.  When having your photos printed, ask if your photographer uses non-toxic inks and/or post-consumer waste paper for printing.  Some photographers make a point to be green by using rechargeable batteries and LED bulbs.  Talk to your photographer before making a commitment to see if the photographers "green thinking" is in line with yours.

These are only a few examples of ways to "go green."  There are many other ways to save money and be environmentally conscious when planning your wedding. Be sure to do your homework and research all the different ways to make an impact and decrease your carbon footprint for your wedding day.  

Tags: vintage wedding dresses, recycled paper invitations, eco-friendly wedding favors, green weddings