Green weddings are like having your cake - and eating it!
Are you starting to hear wedding bells? Thinking of tying the knot?
Eco weddings are fashionable - and of course just good common sense if you are interested in green living. You will not want your special day to be a extra burden upon the earth.
Whether your perfect wedding day will include a service in a grand city cathedral or a Hindu temple, or whether you'd rather opt for just strolling down to your local registry office, there's a lot you can do to green up your wedding day.
Getting wed is always expensive to a degree. But greener alternatives to the standard ways of doing things are nearly always cheaper, so you should save some money, too.
Of course, you can still be green and lavish, should you choose. Some might say that a green wedding is a special kind of lavish... one which celebrates the earth's bounty without ransacking it!
Specialist companies are springing up all over the place to help us be greener on that special day.
Whether or not you choose to use their services, or improvise on your own, there are many ways to make your wedding a very green affair!
Here are some things to think about if you want to make your wedding a green experience for your guests and keep your carbon footprint low.
Many weddings bring people from far away and with worldwide friendship networks and long haul air flights widely available, travel can represent a big part of the carbon bill for any wedding.
Think carefully about your choice of location so that you minimize travel, not just for yourselves but for everybody. A Maui beach wedding may be glamorous but if you and many of your guests live in Florida, it might be better to let your head rule your heart and opt for another equally wonderful but closer island paradise. Try to select somewhere that the majority of your guests will find easy to reach by relatively sustainable travel options such as train or coach.
It’s worth thinking about the actual venue in terms of carbon cost as well as suitability for your guests. The time of year can make a big difference here. A venue which does not need excessive heating or cooling is bound to be less expensive to run and less costly in terms of carbon emissions. You might even be able to negotiate a discount when booking if the energy costs are modest for the venue owners. Opting for non-peak season or time of day may also help drive down costs.
Seek out an eco-building. There are a number of beautiful buildings which been created with a low carbon profile. Some may have been retro-fitted to be eco-friendly, using traditional and modern methods and state of the art insulation and heating systems. Others have been built to exacting modern standards and may even be virtually carbon-neutral. Do a check in your chosen location by using Google or other search engines, or by asking around for ideas. A converted tythe barn can make a beautiful location for a wedding. A village barn is often close to the village church, too.
There are all manner of exciting ways to travel to your wedding, from horse-drawn carriage to steam train. Think about relaxing but practical alternatives to the usual big cars. This will depend upon your wedding location and the distances involved but a bit of creative thinking could deliver you a memorable and pleasurable experience.
Barges and narrowboats and some sailing boats can be hired for weddings and other big events.
Save on excessive travel between venues by keeping the wedding ceremony and the reception close together – or even in the same building. This can save on expense as well as greenhouse gases but it can also be more relaxing for everyone. Provide somewhere for people to chill out between the two events as you don’t want people to be tempted to rush off elsewhere just because there’s a four hour gap between the ceremony and the party.
Obviously you will want the majority of the foods on the big day to have a local origin. This helps keep the carbon costs down low. But also, using organic and free-range products will help make your wedding a greener affair. Organic foods are generally more sustainable and better for the environment in that the local environment of the farm is more bird-friendly and there are likely to be fewer environmental pollutants coming from such farms. Please see why organic and pesticides and pollution for more about this.
The same goes for drinks, of course. However, it can be impossible to source all kinds of drinks locally. Talk to local brewers and vintners for ideas and see just how much you can do to support local and organic drinks. Here in Suffolk we are lucky to have Aspall’s cider and a number of excellent local breweries – some, such as Adnams, with a considerable track record for green living and eco-friendly business activities.
Local sourcing for the best green weddings
The evening reception could also be planned with green living in mind.
The entertainment could be a live acoustic band, for example; there are plenty of excellent bands which can produce a wide range of music just using acoustic kit. After all, we managed without electricity at all until little more than a hundred years ago. You can't say that the people of yester-year did not know how to use music to celebrate the great events of life.
Or you could opt for a wired-up band but also consider the source of the electricity. There are even bicycle-powered discos if you fancy something a bit more off-beat!
Books for ethical and green weddings
There are now a good few books out about planning your wedding in a green or ethical way. You can find some of the best available on Amazon such The Green Wedding Guide: Creating a Celebration That's Elegant and Ethical
I haven't read any of these books as yet, but The Everything Green Wedding Book, subtitled Plan an elegant, affordable, earth-friendly wedding (Everything (Weddings)) has received a good review from another writer on the subject. Several others in Amazon's selection have some great reviews, too.
Your green wedding tips
Personally, I love the idea of having a seasonal element to weddings. A friend of mine was married in August and the church and reception were filled with sunflowers which made for a memorable sight!
If anyone has any green wedding tips or stories to share please use the general green tips page to share them - just look on the navigation bar near the top to go to the page. Thank you.
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