A while ago, let’s be honest, many decades ago, actually, I started making up my own words. Still doing it, probably won’t stop anytime soon.
While I make up acronyms, words and phrases, I was not the one who coined the term, “Green Wedding.” Shocker, I know. Slowly, close your jaw. I’ll explain.
When I started out on this photographic entrepreneur journey, one decision was overwhelmingly clear, I wanted environmental consciousness to be a prominent leg of my business.
How can photography or even a wedding be green? Well, let me enlighten you. Since being “Green” is an expansive subject, I’ll stick to the subject of “I do’s” and wait for your “enlightenment thirst” (that’s another word I just made up), to swell.
Green, eco-friendly or sustainable weddings can consist of a variety of facets. We’re all familiar with products surrounding such an extravagant (and seriously fantastic) event like a wedding: venues, bridal gowns, tuxedos, wedding rings, invitations, florists, photography, centerpieces, gift registries, wedding favors, bridesmaids dresses, and everyones favorite, DESSERT! (I mean, well, it’s my favorite, so I’m just going to go ahead and make the assumption that your all in agreement with me.)
So, how can any of these facets become Green? Let’s start with the one that sets the stage for everything else: The Venue.
The location you choose for your wedding day can range from a fancy overseas resort, to a backyard garden or farmhouse style wedding. No matter what space you choose to make your bond official, check out this list for your event space:
- Is the venue set up for recycling?
- Is the venue able to compost waste?
- Are they using real dishes instead of throw away plastics?
- If they are using throw aways: as them about compostable silverware (yes, it exists, here’s the LINK) and paper plates
- Is the venue able to alleviate additional outside rentals & carbon emissions by:
- Supplying enough seating
- Reusing materials (think decorations, table/chair covers, centerpieces, etc.)
- Supplying their own food (Farm to Fork!)
- Donating post-wedding non-reusable items to charity and/or excess food to a local shelter
The next big thing we think about: The Wedding Dress.
What are you options to find the perfect, one-of-a-kind gown that screams you & goes well with the environment? Well, you have many options, my lucky brides. I had a friend who purchased a designer sample dress from a charity and was pretty handy with the sewing machine so she added some amazing natural materials and several strands of jewel straps and garnishments to make it bling!
Other options for the less handy:
- Rent your wedding gown, pay less, have access to thousands more styles than you might normally be able to afford! LINK – LINK – LINK!
- Go vintage & use your mom’s/grandma’s/sister’s/cousin’s wedding gown & make it your own
- Once-worn dresses save the bank & gives you wiggle room to further customize, or spend more on the honeymoon! (LINK: Awesome boutique in our own backyard!)(More to come on eco-travel!)
- Environmentally conscious wedding dresses made from sustainable materials (LINK)
- Support eco-friendly wedding dress designers
What about the rest of the guys & gals, including the groom? Don’t worry kids, I’ve got you covered on all fronts!
Attire for the Grooms & Groomsman:
- Go casual if that’s your dig, or if your having a beach wedding (flip flops make great sand distributors)
- Buy suits & shoes that each dude will wear again, or a sport coat if suits aren’t your style
- Buy locally sourced, matching ties for the guys (I love rhyming)
For the Bridesmaids:
- Rent the gowns, pay less, access to thousands more styles… sound familiar? (Sames re: above links!)
- Choose a color, have each girl choose their own dress & shoes they will wear again & again (Well, at least one again)
What about: The Ring?
- Go vintage, this is a perfect opportunity to repurpose a family heirloom
- Go local, find a jeweler (or friend or family member) whose work you love & ask them to make your rings! Great story & supporting an artist 😉 (Vintage jewelry store I love)
- Go digital, use a wedding website or send out electronic invites. I mean who doesn’t have email these days 🙂
- Go with recycled or bamboo paper invites & skip all the extra enclosures (tissue paper, RSVP’s, uncycleable things) & send them to your wedding site for directions, registrations, hotels, etc. (PS, just looked up uncycleable & it references bicycles… sigh, clearly they have incorrect information.)
Speaking of Gift Registries:
- Ask your guests to donate to their favorite charity in your name! (Gets everyone engaged & you get tax benefits)
- Register with local vendors and artists (future photography session, hel-lo),
- Host an online honeymoon fund & options for buying carbon off-sets
- Register for items that are recycled, locally produced or up-cycled
What about the Wedding Favors? Here are some ideas:
- Have centerpieces of flowering plants in pots that guests can take home
- Give reusable gift bags (they will think of you every time they grocery shop)
- Offer native seeds, flowers, or tree saplings (they will continue to think of you when these greeneries grow!)
Ok, lady, and how about that Dessert part, how can that be eco-friendly? Here’s how:
- Host a family bake day & churn out as many cupcakes, pies or fruit-trees as your heart desires! (Excellent way to have some fam QT & let off some stress while “molding” those pie crusts!)
- Farmers market anyone? Yes, please! Stellar place for in-season, locally-sourced fruits & treats & edible flowers (oh my)
- Find a local or family/friend baker who’s up for a fun challenge
- Instead of plastic cake toppers, use the edible kind, aforementioned flowers, fondant or fruit (Of course dark chocolate sea salt shavings would be my top pick)
Now that we’ve ended with chocolate, I’m going to excuse myself to my nearest secret chocolate hoarding, I mean, hiding spot.
Hopefully this has been helpful for those environmentally consciousness brides out there and maybe even for a wedding planner or two!
If you have a wedding coming up and are looking for additional ways to be green, eco-friendly or sustainability minded, reach out to me, I have more ideas and crazy fun visions than room in this blog!
If you are curious about the greener side of my photography business, keep following me, I leak a lot of hints and love to talk about nature and greener pastures! 🙂
In case you haven’t noticed, I have a severe addiction to exclamation marks & dark chocolate. Stay with me, it’s worth it!
Until the next round – Be Fantastic. (Period because that’s a statement.) Bam.