10 Easy Ways To Green Your Wedding

It is important to know that each environmentally sound action taken during the wedding planning process does make a difference.
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bride and groom holding hands
bride and groom holding hands

Going completely green for many of us is a seemingly impossible hurdle. It is important to know that each environmentally sound action taken during the wedding planning process does make a difference. Below are 10 categories with multiple possibilities for where you might consider going green:

1) Jewelry & Fashion
• Choose ethical origin, fine jewelry or rings that are created using conflict-free diamonds.
• Choose vintage diamonds or rhinestones for your wedding day accessories.
• Look for a bridal gown created of organic cotton and silk dupioni made by silk worms.
• Choose a bridal gown design that you could see altering to wear again.
• Preserve and clean your gown with a dry cleaner that uses all-natural, earth-friendly cleaners and products.

2) Invitations
• For your wedding materials, use tree-free papers made of cotton, linen, bamboo and hemp.
• Use paper comprised of post-consumer, recycled waste.
• Ask your printer about soy or plant-based inks.
• Use colorful recycled vintage stamps.
• Consider omitting the traditional reply card and envelope by choosing a reply postcard.

3) Catering & Food
• Buy local food and beverages for your menu. "Food produced and distributed locally requires less transportation which decreases our carbon footprint," says Pauline Parry of Good Gracious! Events.
• Use organic foods that create less waste and require less energy to produce; and are healthier and taste better!
• Choose a venue that uses linens and china versus disposable items.
• Donate excess food and beverages.
• Choose a caterer who has a recycling and mulching program for plant food scraps.
• Serve filtered water from a pitcher.
• Recycle all wine bottles and all glass/plastic containers from events.
• Choose biodynamic wines or earth-friendly spirits

4) Decor
• Select linens of natural fibers like hemp, organic cotton and recycled fabrics. Consider linen colors that have been created using plant-based dyes.
• Use recycled glass containers, vintage containers or ones made of a renewable resource such as bamboo.
• Fruits, nuts, and vegetables make beautiful and unusual floral decor. Incorporate these natural elements and you'll be able to eat these afterwards!
• Celebrate the beauty in all things simple like twigs, shells, moss and stones.
• Choose a florist who specializes in organic flowers.
• Incorporate live plants and cuttings as floral decor. Drought-tolerant succulents are ideal.
• Use recycled, up-cycled and re-purposed rentals and décor for your event.
• When planning your lighting ask the lighting tech to use only LED lights.

5) Digital Inspiration
• For inspiration on the go, download a wedding app.
• Check out bridal blogs like 100 Layer Cake, and digital magazines such as Utterly Engaged, the first online wedding and bridal magazine, for delicious imagery.

6) Photography
• Ask your photographer to do "online proofing only" to save on paper.
• Choose a photographer who shoots in digital format.
• Choose photo albums that are made of post-consumer, recycled, or sustainable plant-fiber paper.
• Print photos at a lab that is Forestry Stewardship Council certified, assuring users that the lab meets the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations.

7) Registry & Home
• Register to have a donation made to your favorite eco-conscious local organizations such as Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club.
• Choose items for your registry that you will like for years to come. By consciously acquiring things that will last a lifetime, you decrease the amount of waste produced in our world.
• Look for green options when you are registering. For example, linens made from recycled materials or Cuisinart Green Cookware, stemware and china that contain no lead.
• Give gifts of tree starts, plants or seeds to your guests.

8) Wedding Locations
• Choose a destination that supports recycling programs for paper, glass and plastics, and who supports their local farmers and fisherman.
• Help arrange for your guests to carpool, and let them know of public transportation options.
• Pick a venue where you can have all elements of your wedding in one place -- the rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony, wedding reception, and on-site activities. Your guests will never have to leave the property, which saves on fuel consumption.

9) Honeymoon
• Honeymoon at a green destination.
• Honeymoon closer to home.
• Choose a hotel that has green in-room amenities such as Brita's recyclable filter, energy efficient lighting, biodegradable supplies and organic bath products.
Offset the carbon dioxide emissions created by all the energy your trip is using

10) Overall caring
• Allow 3-5 percent of your wedding budget to go towards efforts in sustaining our environment -- planting of trees, saving wildlife, environmental protection, recycling programs.
• Leave no trace of an environmental footprint because of your wedding. Purchase wind-energy credits to offset the carbon dioxide emissions created from planning and having your wedding.

As you plan your wedding, Go Green when you can and where it feels most right for you. Feel good knowing that you've taken steps in helping to preserve our earth. Happy planning and Happy Earth Day!