Automobile carbon emissions are one of the biggest problems of pollution so if you have 100 guests driving 30 miles to commute from the ceremony location to the reception, the guests for your wedding alone will drive 3,000 extra miles. Multiply by the estimated 2.1 million US weddings a year and you’ve got 6.3 Billion extra miles driven. Divide that by the 12,000 miles driven by the average American per year and the guest commute would equal a whole year’s worth of driving for 525,000 Americans!
If you’re interested in hosting an eco-friendly wedding, simply start by hosting the ceremony and reception in the same venue. If you are taking your vows in a religious venue, find a reception venue within a mile or two of the ceremony – or better yet, one you can all walk to.Green weddings are a huge trend so here are five ideas for hosting a more eco-chic wedding:
1. Go Local
If your venue allows you to bring your own alcohol, bring locally brewed Beers and locally grown Wines. This cuts out the shipping emissions and with support your local businesses. Don’t be afraid to haggle with these businesses either. They will get exposure to 50-500 guests by being featured at the wedding so use that to your advantage when negotiate prices.
2. Go Natural
Many flowers in floral arrangements are shipped all the way from South America, Asia, and Europe, so the pollution impact from the shipping is high. In addition, you have no way of knowing what kind of environmentally harmful chemicals they use. Instead, use flowers that are in season and grown naturally in your area. For example, if you live in the South, pick Magnolia flowers from local trees and float the blossoms in vases on tables for centerpieces. Wild flowers from a friend’s garden can also add a very unique, personal, and beautifully natural touch to your wedding. If you want a more structured look, do an internet search for “organic florist” in your region.
3. Favors, Favors
Favors are a nice touch to any wedding, but the truth is, they usually just get shoved in a closet or worse, added to the already overflowing landfills. As an alternative, if you were planning on spending $5 per favor on 200 guests, spend $1 each for tiny live pine trees they can plant and donate the other $800 you were planning to spend in a donation to a local or national forest, a save the animals foundation, or whatever other charity you and your fiancé believe in.
4. Send E-vites
This tip may be shockingly unconventional, but sending electronic invitations will save a great deal of paper. As a bonus, this one will also keep more money in your pocket. If you have relatives or friends who don’t use e-mail, make your own simple invitations to send to those few people. Also create an online wedding website where you can feature your wedding style as well as maps to venues, menus, photos, etc. This will be a perfect electronic touch to your eco-friendly big day. On your wedding website you can also feature a section on all of the ways you are making your wedding green so guests will know why they didn’t get a paper invitation in the mail.
Your gown sets the stage for the whole day. But since you’re only wearing it once, it’s okay to wear one that’s vintage or already worn. If the money you’ll save doesn’t sell you on this idea, maybe this one will: try a charity like “Brides Against Breast Cancer” where sample gowns and donated previously worn gowns are auctioned and all proceeds go to Breast Cancer research. Recycling dresses is a great eco-friendly choice.