Monday, July 23, 2007

Ways to Make a Wedding Greener

Some tips on making your wedding greener.

Related content

· Hold the conflict diamonds, offset the travel carbon ... this wedding is green


Men can rent a tux or buy a nice suit they can wear regularly. Brides also can rent a gown, borrow one, or alter something that's already in the family. Other greenish options include dresses made of hemp, organic cotton or silk.

Food and drink

Most experts suggest buying locally and using organic food. Food travels an average of 1,500 miles in the U.S., generating lots of greenhouse gas emissions. Others say skip the farmed salmon. Some couples buy their food directly from farmers and have friends or family cook it. Consider donating any leftovers to a shelter or food rescue group.


To cut down on shipping emissions, couples can request that a store have gifts held there rather than shipped and pick them up in one or two trips. Some stores allow couples to ask for no gift wrap, to cut down on paper waste. Eco-friendly gift registries are multiplying.


The biggest environmental impact for most weddings is the travel of the guests. Some couples choose to pay to offset their total carbon impact at sites that use the money to finance wind energy, plant trees, etc. Some also ask their guests to do so in lieu of gifts.


The key here is to use fewer cut flowers in general, reuse them, or use organically grown ones free of pesticides. As with the local-vs.-organic debate, couples decide whether it makes sense to buy certified organic flowers that are shipped hundreds of miles, or choose local ones that benefit a nearby grower, and were grown with organic techniques but lack formal certification.


Few cakes are 100 percent organic, largely because it's hard to find organic superfine sugar, but you can come close. There are also vegan and wheat-free options.

Hair and beauty

This is mostly about avoiding products with toxic ingredients or using organic hair products.

Reception sites

Some are greener than others. Popular green choices include organic farms, such as Farm Kitchen, near Poulsbo, as well as parks and places that host both the service and reception to cut down on travel. Places with built-in decor, such as gardens, don't need as much decorating. More and more are asking about recycling and other green practices of the location.


Some advise keeping it close to home to cut down on travel, but many still want to jet far away.


The obvious low-impact choice is none, or to make a contribution to an organization in your guests' names. Others give something edible (organic chocolate) or plantable (trees, flowers).


Advice guides such as say that any jeweler should be able to detail a diamond's origin. Couples can ask for "Kimberley Process certified diamonds," which are supposed to be conflict-free (although it's a voluntary pledge that all is above board). Buying certified diamonds or Canadian ones salves consciences of people worried about their bling financing warlords. But others who ask whether it makes sense to tear up the Earth for a shiny stone might consider synthetic alternatives such as Moissanite or a cubic zirconia. Also, consider recycling a family ring or stone or using recycled gold for rings.


Think recycled paper or sustainable paper made from bamboo or hemp. Consider cutting down on the number of pieces of paper in an invitation. Do you need six sheets of paper and tissue paper separators?

-- Kristin Dizon

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