Your wedding day is a larger than life experience and arguably one of the most significant days of your life. It is understood that you want it to be perfect and express your unique style and love.
But did you know that the average wedding produces 63 tons of carbon dioxide and generates 400-600 pounds of garbage! If you multiply that by the 2.7 million plus weddings that take place in North America alone the negative environmental impacts are astounding. It is enough to make you consider wearing a burlap sack and eloping in the woods!
Not to worry, with a little bit of investigation, you can have a socially and environmentally friendly wedding and avoid the burlap sack.
Here are 8 tips to help “green” your white wedding:
1. Use recycled products. Making paper not only takes valuable trees out of our ecosystem, but is also an energy-intensive process that creates a large amount of waste. Many companies offer eco-chic products such as wedding invitations, save-the-date cards and the like, using recycled paper, paper made from wood substitutes, and organic based inks.
2. Eliminate paper altogether. Many savvy couples are opting to use wedding websites to present all the details of their wedding to their guests and collect their RSVPs. There are many wedding templates available on-line that are free and easy to use that will help you to create your personal wedding site.
3. Use Local Vendors. Supporting the local economy keeps transportation related costs and impacts down. Inquire with the vendors you are considering how they embody environmentally sound strategies.
4. Photography-go digital. Fact: digital photography is much less harmful to the environment then film photography which uses harsh chemicals and wastes much paper, film, and throw away prints.
5. Use in season, locally grown food. The average meal in North America travels 2,200 kilometers. You can decrease the negative impacts caused by the transportation of food by choosing in-season produce from local vendors. Locally made wine, beer, and other beverages can also add unique flavor to your menu.
6. Your flowers. Using local, seasonal flowers lowers fuel consumption and is often less costly than ordering exotic species that need to be transported long distances and require chemical preservatives. Try working with your florist to design simple arrangements that employ a natural look using pinecones, stones, bark and driftwood to decorate your venue.
7. Eco-chic Gifts & Favors. Registering with an eco-friendly company like the Green Bride Guide, can support sustainable business and also educate your guests about eco-chic products. Some organizations will donate a portion of the sales from the purchase of your wedding presents to worthy non-profit groups and social causes. Packets of wild flower seeds or tree saplings make for conscientious favors that can be planted in honor of your love.
8. The Ring. Purchasing “conflict free” diamonds, recycled gold and fair trade gemstones insure that your lovely ring does not have a bloody past. Ask to see proof of origin and certification to be certain it was not acquired from countries with a history of human abuse.
Shirleen Burnett is the owner and primary photographer of Burnett Photography. Burnett Photography specializes in weddings and strives to promote an eco-friendly business ethic.