Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something ... Green?
If you have a hybrid car parked in your garage, recycle rain water to irrigate backyard plants and have replaced just about every bulb in your home with compact fluorescents, there's a good chance that you're environmentally conscious. But what if you've just gotten engaged and want to impart some of these green ways of thinking to the wedding? What can you do to be earth-friendly when tying the knot?
Wedding industry insiders say that the trend of going green with weddings is growing exponentially. David Cooperrider, a business professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, says that going green is one of the great business opportunities of the 21st century, and there is much potential for the wedding industry. He offers that wedding vendors that are not going green will be at a competitive disadvantage to those who do.
Going green for your wedding day doesn't mean you have to compromise on the elements that will make the day special. It just means you can take a look at the details and the bigger picture and develop strategies that will minimize the impact on the planet.
* Go local: From food to flowers, choose vendors that use locally grown and raised products. This reduces the amount of smog generated and fuel consumed to bring items in for your wedding. Many caterers are now collaborating with local farms and other vendors to offer organic, locally grown menu items. It pays to ask about availability.
* Go to your guests: Figure out where the greatest number of your guests reside and then hold the wedding nearby. For example, a couple from the Northeast who has relocated to the West coast, but has all of their family still in the east, may want to hold their wedding in the east. It is less expensive and more environmentally friendly for the couple to simply fly to the wedding, rather than having hundreds of guests drive or fly west.
* Be mindful of wardrobe choices: Choose items that really can be worn again. Skip the rented tuxes and ask groomsmen to wear a similar styled suit that they can add to their work wardrobe. Bridesmaids can wear a simple black cocktail dress so that they're not left with a taffeta creation that will only hang in the closet afterward. If you decide to go more traditional with wardrobe, find out if gowns can be recycled or donated so that they can be reused in another way.
* Choose recycled materials for wedding invitations and announcements: There are an increasing number of suppliers creating invitations from recycled materials. Some will do all the assembly for you; other less expensive items may be more hands-on. Cut down on further use of paper by creating a wedding Web site where you post directions, maps, party times, and other essential information so you avoid extra slip-in sheets with your invitations.
* Create car-pool options: Bus guests to your venue to save on gas. It is also a safer option for those who will be indulging in alcoholic beverages at the party since they won't have to drive on the return trip home.
* Investigate ecologically responsible wedding jewelry: According to Greenkarat, purveyors of ecologically responsible engagement rings and wedding bands, 2,500 tonnes of gold are mined each year, even though there is enough gold above ground (already mined) to satisfy all demands of the jewelry industry for the next 50 years. Much of it sits in bank vaults and in the form of old and unused jewelry. See if you can recycle old jewelry into something new. Or embrace the sentimental hand-me-down rings from a grandmother or other relative.