Photo courtesy of Pexels
In honor of Earth Day we wanted to share a few easy tips you can use when planning an eco-friendly wedding. It’s easier than you think and you don’t have to sacrifice your style or your vision. By choosing to have a green wedding you will be doing something good for the environment - all in the name of love!
Choose a venue where you can have the ceremony and reception all in one place to eliminate guests having to travel to two locations. This will cut down on fuel emissions. If you must travel between venues, encourage carpooling or hire a shuttle to take a large group. When looking for an eco-friendly venue, be sure to ask about their energy usage such as lighting and appliances. Ask if they use products that are bio-degradable or if they have a recycling program. An early morning or afternoon wedding will allow you to take advantage of the natural sunlight to cut down on electricity usage or having to rent additional lighting.
Venues such as Imagine Park in Santa Barbara are advocates of using locally sourced food as well as being environmentally conscious. Imagine Park is also tied to local non-profit organization Alpha Resource Center. The fees to rent the venue go towards helping this organization while creating more awareness around charitable giving and community.
Invitations and Stationary
To save money (and trees!) many couples are opting to send wedding invitations online via Evite or Paperless Post. Create a personal wedding website to tell your story and share all the important wedding details to keep everyone informed. Most websites have an option for guests to RSVP directly on the website, or you can create a wedding email address where you can keep track of all you guest responses.
If email is a bit too casual or if some of your guests don’t use email, a traditional paper invitation can still be an option while staying with your green wedding theme. Opt for recycled paper products or even plantable invitations such as the ones from Forever Fiances or Botanical Paper Works that are embedded with seeds and can grow into herbs or wildflowers!
There are so many options now for choosing local, fresh, organic food to serve at weddings. Try to choose organic food that is free from harmful chemicals and pesticides that won't harm the environment. If organic food isn’t within your budget, another option is to choose a caterer that uses locally grown food and food that is in season. If food has less distance to travel it won’t use as much fuel to get to where you are. Also, if you have a buffet ask the venue or caterer to package the leftover food for guests to take home or ask if they can have it donated to a local homeless shelter to reduce waste.
Choose flowers that are in season and local in your area to decrease the amount of pollution from transportation due to shipping and fuel. You will also save $$ by doing this which can be used for the honeymoon! If you are using centerpieces on your tables, consider only having flowers on 1/2 or 1/3 of the tables instead. The tables without flowers can be decorated with votives, hurricanes or lanterns to add some variety to your reception décor.
Photo courtesy of James & Jess
When using live flowers, try to re-use them whenever possible at the venue. such Bridesmaids bouquets can be used as decor for the head table, dessert table or cake table. Another great way to re-purpose flowers is to donate them to a nursing home, hospital or school. You can also make an announcement at the end of the wedding and ask that people take them home as a way to say thank you for coming.
Another popular trend right now is using paper flowers! Many DIY-ers are choosing to create beautiful paper flower bouquets, boutonnieres as well as backdrops for photo booths and sweetheart tables. Kits can be found at stores like Paper Source and Michaels. If you're looking for more professional look, Fanciful Designs in Santa Barbara offers custom paper flower design for events and weddings such as in the photo below. This gorgeous design was used as a backdrop for my wedding last year!
Photo courtesy of James & Jess
More often now, people are forgoing the traditional favor and encouraging new ways of giving by asking guests to donate to their favorite charity. Let people know ahead of time and include a link on your wedding website or save the date. Websites such as I Do Foundation, Zankyou and SoKind make it fun and easy for people to choose to make a donation to an cause that is close to your heart or give the gift of an experience over a store bought item.
Your wedding day should reflect your personality and style and most of all - L.O.V.E! Have fun and make it about you! Be sure you incorporate all the things that are important to you and your partner in the process.
Brenda Cali is a professionally trained Wedding Consultant and plans a variety of social and corporate events.