It’s almost trite at this point, isn’t it? Green this, organic that. These things have real meaning, but it’s lost in all the buzzwords sometimes. Throwing a green wedding doesn’t have to be a trial, but a few small, researched choices on your part to reduce the environmental impact of your event can make a difference — and it will make you feel great at the same time. We’ve culled together some great tips on how to have a green wedding and please do share your ideas in the comments.

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The Dress

We realize this one might be the most fraught, so we’ll begin here. You know what suits your goals for the day — and you’ll know if one of these ideas is right for you! Consider it food for thought and go from there. (My gentle tone comes from me mentioning a “green dress” to a friend in regards to this article and her eyebrows nearly lifting off her forehead in skepticism… So you do you.)

  • recycled bags and jewelry like this tweed clutch made from vintage men’s suit jackets.
  • vintage, vintage, vintage! Update the look as necessary with tailoring and modern accessories, or rock the vintage bridal look.
  • source a gown made of organic cotton, hemp, silk, bamboo, or another sustainable fabric.
  • borrow or rent a wedding dress.
  • buy something you can wear again in the future — and allow help your bridesmaids to do the same.
  • re-use and help others by donating all the dresses after your event.

The Rings

As much as we romanticize the bling in our society, you don’t have to sacrifice the look or stone you’ve dreamed of for your morals. If you decide your partnership should be symbolized with a ring, there are many choices!

  • vintage stones from a family member or an antique find.
  • diamonds mined in Canada or Austrailia such as Cred Jewellery or Brilliant Earth.
  • lab-grown diamonds like those from Pure Grown Diamonds.
  • something made stateside that might not include a stone at all, like a wooden band (plus sides of this option being it’s easily replaceable and inexpensive).

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The Invitations

Whether you’re going subtly or overtly environmentally-friendly with your wedding, your invitation is the first thing seen by guests. You can set the tone by sharing your green wishes on the invite itself or simply make a choice that makes you feel good about sending them out into the world!

  • tree-free paper can be made out of hemp, banana stalks, cotton, etc.
  • reduced paper invitations, like a postcard instead of a multi-enveloped note.
  • recycled and/or handmade papers with vegetable- or soy-based inks.
  • plantable papers, many of which grow into wildflowers to remind your guests of the special day that you’ve shared.

The Gifts

Gifts are great. We’re not arguing with that. But maybe you want to go less commercial or keep the focus on the experiences instead of the presents. There’s really no “wrong” way to wedding, but here are some great suggestions for keeping it environmentally-friendly.

  • register with the I Do Foundation, The Knot charity registry, or another organization that gives a percentage of gift purchases to a chosen cause.
  • request gifts to charity (even a specific one you have in mind) in lieu of material goods.
  • register with stores that offer handmade, local, or otherwise eco-friendly products.
  • register for a green honeymoon.
  • register for a CSA from a local organization such as Lancaster Farm Fresh or Greensgrow Farms.

The Food + Venue

Most folks who care about going green are already doing so in the dietary choices, so that will make this one easier. Don’t forget the coffee, tea, beer, wine, and spirits!

  • choose a venue with comprehensive recycling and maybe even composting.
  • research your catering options and whether or not each company offers organic, local, and/or seasonal menu options. Don’t forget the cake and cake toppers, too!
  • if you’re doing the table decorating yourself, consider thrift-store, artfully mismatched plates and dishes that you can donate (or use) when you’re done.
  • rent glasses, dishware, and linens as opposed to purchasing or using disposables.
  • re-use decorations whenever possible; get creative, DIY your dream decor out of recycled materials, and consult the internet. That’s what it’s here for, after all, isn’t it?

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The Favors

The age-old tale of giving favors your guests will actually use and that will be environmentally-friendly… It’s doable, we promise. Some places to start:

  • a small charitable donation in each guest’s name.
  • natural soaps or soy/beeswax candles.
  • bags of fresh or dried organic herbs, maybe even some you grew yourself.
  • a plant or seeds.
  • re-usable, custom cloth tote bags.

The Honeymoon

No matter where you go, you’re going to have a ball. So why not prioritize the environment in your decision when planning a honeymoon?

  • offset your travels’ carbon dioxide emissions with carbon credits. (You could put these on your registry, too!)
  • choose a destination and then research reputable green hotels in the area.
  • your honeymoon’s carbon footprint can also be reduced by keeping your honeymoon a few hour’s drive from your wedding location or residence. Ask friends for recommendations and you might be pleasantly surprised.
  • engage in a little intelligent, researched eco-tourism.
  • unless your heart is set upon it, skip the cruise and opt for a romantic train trip. For real. Don’t these sound amazing? And no one has to drive!
  • speaking of driving, choose bikes or public transportation at your chosen destination. And opt for sailing, horseback riding, or people-powered excursions instead of jet skiing or motor boating to further cut gas consumption.

Further Reading on Green Wedding Tips
Eco-Friendly Wedding Guide from The Knot
* How to Make Your Wedding Day Green from TreeHugger
* Tips to Plan a Green Wedding from Better Homes and Gardens

How are you planning to green your wedding, or how have you already? Pass on the tips and we all benefit. What topics did we miss that you’d like to see covered? As always, happy planning!