Eco-Friendly Weddings: Tips to green your white wedding
Green weddings…is it possible to have the wedding of your dreams and be environmentally responsible?
That is what savvy, socially conscientious brides and grooms are asking these days. And with good reason.
Did you know that the average wedding produces 63 tons of carbon dioxide and generates 400-600 pounds of garbage!
When multiplied by the more than 150,000 weddings per year in Canada and 2.5 million in the United States, its enough to make you consider donning a burlap sack and eloping in a forest! Not to worry, here are 8 quick tips to consider that will reduce the ecological footprint of your wonderful day, and avoid the burlap sack. 😉
1. Eco- chic Invitations.
Seemingly, much of the wedding planning process involves paper—save the dates, invitations, RSVP cards, seating charts, menus, gift cards, thank you cards, and more. Paper making is an energy-intensive process that creates a large amount of waste and uses harsh chemicals such as bleach. Recycled and post-consumer waste paper, tree-free paper, soy inks, and digital correspondence all offer stylish and less impactful alternatives.
Many innovative couples are finding ways to eliminate the use of paper in their wedding planning by choosing to present all the important information on a wedding website.
2. Use Eco-friendly Local Vendors.
Not only are you supporting the local economy, but it’s a sure means to keep transportation impacts down. Ask the vendors your are considering what they do to reduce, reuse and recycle. Environmentally sound strategies save businesses money in the long run. Many companies realize this and are already making positive changes to the way they operate. As a bride & groom, you can use the power of your choices to accelerate this transformation by seeking out and rewarding those businesses with green ethics and putting pressure on those who do not.
3. Photography—go digital.
The simple fact is that digital photography is much less harmful to the environment then film photography. No harsh chemicals, wasted paper, rolls of film, and throw away prints. Green photographers also go further by using rechargeable batteries, non-toxic inks, LED and CFL bulbs, low energy consuming computers and packaging made with recycled materials. If you’re a film purist and just love the look of emulsion based images, post production editing can make digital images look like they came from a film camera. Ask your photographer if they know how to do this for you.
4. Food and Beverage.
The average North American meal travels 2,200 kilometers. No matter how you choose to design your menu, using in-season local and/or organic foods will decrease the carbon footprint. Organic caterers and green restaurants create tasteful, low impact menus exploding with fresh, seasonal foods. Further, offering locally made wine, beer, and other beverages adds some local flavor.
Check out the tasty offerings from Canmore Organic Chef, Oscar George Bayne, one of the Bow Valley’s green caterers.
5. Seasonal, Locally grown flowers.
How do they get those flowers to look so fresh? Sadly, with pesticides and fungicides, and/or by trucking/shipping/flying them in. Wherever you’re getting married, chances are there’s an organic florist. Using local, seasonal and organic flowers lowers fuel consumption and is often less costly than ordering exotic species. You can also work with your florist to design simple arrangements that use less flowers, or consider using faux flowers that won’t get thrown away. For an even more natural look, abandon flowers altogether and use pinecones, stones, or driftwood to decorate your venue.
6. Gifts and Favors.
By registering with an eco-friendly company like the Green Bride Guide, you can support sustainable business while educating your guests about eco-friendly products. There are even organizations you can register through that donate a portion of the sales from your items to a variety of ecological groups and social causes. Favors are a style component of any wedding, but are often left behind or easily forgotten by guests. Again, if you have a cause or organization that you feel strongly about, donate the money you would have spent on favors instead. You can also chose from a variety of sustainable favor options like recycled canning jars filled with organic honey or jam for the “Love is Tasty” vibe. Or, have guests “Plant a Memory” of your wedding day by sending them on their way with packets of seeds or seedlings.
— The Knot (@theknot) February 12, 2016
7. The Ring.
Edward Zwick’s movie, Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio introduced the world to ‘conflict diamonds’ and how modern day slave labor and strip mining are being used to put that shiny diamond on your finger. If you’re at all social and environmentally conscious, it is paramount that you request certification and proof of origin. More and more jewelers are using conflict free diamonds as ensured by the Kimberley process, as well as recycled gold and fair trade gemstones. (http://www.kimberleyprocess.com/)
8. An Eco-friendly Honeymoon.
There’s a word for low impact, socially conscious travel—‘Ecotourism’; defined by the international ecotourism society as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” A quick glance at their website will tell you where to go, and where to avoid. (http://www.ecotourism.org/)
Burnett Photography strives to promote an eco-friendly ethic in our business. We use rechargeable NiMH batteries in all our lighting equipment & package our products in materials made from sustainable, recycled products.
- Greeneventsservices.ca Calgary local, Colin Smith, started this company to consult businesses and event planners on greening their functions.
- Organicconsumers.org. Has the goods on socially responsible products and services, plus a list of organic caterers in your area.
- Plantamemory.com. Green guest favors, like flower bulbs and tree seedlings.
- Organicvintners.com. Certified organic and vegan wines.
- Twistedlimbpaper.com. Beautiful handmade invitations fashioned from recycled paper.