10 Ways to Have an Eco-Friendly Wedding By Kayla Matthews

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June 1, 2014
10 Ways to Have an Eco-Friendly Wedding By Kayla Matthews

We all know what the wedding day is – one big smorgasbord of happy chaos. At least, that’s how it went for me. All those people, all the driving around and appointments to make, it is absolute insanity! In the end, though, everything will turn out fine. You’d be amazed at how willing people are to help you on a big day like that. However, the last thing you want to deal with is guilt on your wedding day. Well, guilt and your old Aunt Marge having a bit too much fun on the dance floor. Avoid all that with eco- and budget- friendly options.

 1. Location

Location: one of the first decisions you make about your wedding. Of course, it’s entirely possible to choose a swanky club and dance the night away, but if you want to be eco-friendly for your big day, you should remind your guests (and yourself) why that is. Having your ceremony and reception at the same place can cut down on everyone driving, and it has the added benefit of an immediate party! Better yet, if you live in a city, choose a venue within walking distance for many of your guests. For my and my husband’s wedding, we looked into both Pittsburgh and Harrisburg wedding venues because those two locations are where our families live. Not only was my husband’s family happy that they didn’t have to go very far, but many of them were able to walk or only drive a very short distance.

2. Recyclables

Plates, cups and utensils can all be made recyclable for your wedding, and they don’t have to look like they came out of a barn. You can get the reusable dishes, which is what most people will do. Use glass and ceramic instead of plastic, and you don’t have to buy everything! There are plenty of places that will happily rent out some of their dishes, especially event planners.

3. Invitations

Ah, invitations. They are the first impression people will have of your big day (no pressure). If you’re planning on incorporating an eco-friendly feel, you can start with your invitations! Some casual weddings can go the paperless route, but if you’d like your guests to have a physical reminder, there are still plenty of recycled options!

4. Food

Eh-hem, excuse the drool please. If you want your food to be friendly, buy from farmers and vendors that are in your area. If you can, find a chef that specializes in it. I got lucky and have a friend that does exactly that, which made it easy. It might take a little searching, but you can always drop by a farmers market and ask for suggestions.

5. Photography

We’re in the digital age folks! That means digital photography. You can get all of your prints on a CD or thumb drive, which makes them super easy to copy and it saves paper! Plus, you might not want all the photos, so this lets you pick and choose the ones you’d like to display.

6. Set-Up (and Take-Down)

If you’re doing an outdoor event, you probably have something planned in case of inclement weather, like a tent or an indoor option. Get your tent or rental space from somewhere that encourages environmentalism. Bamboo tents and a minimal impact on the location are both great options. If you aren’t sure what your vendors offer, just ask! Many will have environmental factors worked in already.

7. Favors

Everybody loves presents! Now that you’re feeding and entertaining your guests, give them a present as well! A word of caution – don’t do what I did. 86 individual homemade pies do not make for a happy bride-to-be. You can, however, do something fun and a little unusual. Seeds for a garden or homemade candles are easy, fun and inexpensive.

 8. Make it Local

Make your wedding vendors local to wherever you’re having the party! It shouldn’t matter if you’re jetting off to Hawaii for your wedding, or if you already live there, you should try and consider similar options. Plus, local vendors are great resources for snags you might run into. Some vendors may also be able to recommend other energy management solutions for your wedding as well. Having it in the evening? ABC Store sells solar powered fans, and XYZ Store sells Christmas lights year-round!

9. Arrangements

Are you looking for the perfect centerpiece for your tables? Well, if one of your friends has a green thumb, you may be able to convince them to make a donation or two. If, however, you don’t have anyone who has a decent-sized flower garden, your local florist will sell you cut flowers for a reasonable price. It may take a little to get the technique down if you DIY the arrangements, but you can come out of wedding preparations with a new skill as well!

10. The Dress

If this one isn’t for you, that’s ok. But if you’re good with a sewing machine (or know someone who is) you can always make an old outfit feel like new… and that applies to wedding dresses too! Reuse a wedding dress that’s close to what you’re looking for or has sentimental value. It makes sure your dress is one-of-a-kind.

Image by Flower Factor

Kayla Matthews is a productivity blogger with a passion for Green solutions and the environment. You can read more of her posts on ProductivityTheory.com, or by following her on Google+ and Twitter!

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