Weddings these days are all about planning an event to showcase your personality. Weddings are fun for me to attend, because I always look forward to seeing what special touches the bride and groom will add to their ceremony and reception to reflect something special about them.
As my mother said when I began planning my own wedding, weddings these days are nothing like weddings were when she got married. And I was no exception. As an employee of an environmental nonprofit, for me there was no other option than making my wedding “green.”
Green is my favorite color, but as I had to explain to numerous family and friends, a green wedding really had nothing to do with the color of my bridesmaids’ dresses (rather, my man of honor’s tie, as I opted out of having bridesmaids). A green wedding is all about leaving little to no impact on the environment from your event. I knew there would be challenges along the way, but it was something my fiancé and I were committed to doing. We were very fortunate to have support from our guests, and a lot of our green ideas couldn’t have happened without their participation.
When planning a green wedding, you can be as involved or uninvolved in the details as you like. You can pick one area to focus on, or you can green-up your wedding all the way down to the last detail. We chose, as the saying goes, to go big or go home; or rather go green or go home. We wanted our wedding to be green from the big items, such as location and food, all the way down to the little things, such as our rings and invitations.
Flexibility was the key word to our wedding planning, and there were some things that in the end we realized just wouldn’t work out. However, the key to having a green wedding is to realize that anything you do is going to make an impact. Don’t beat yourself up because your caterer doesn’t use local vegetables, but focus instead on the amount of landfill-bound waste you’ll be reducing because you set up recycling and compost bins beside your trash cans.
In the end, the most important thing to remember is any effort is going to be important. Having the experience that I do from my own wedding, I know that planning a green event really isn’t too difficult and not astronomically expensive. Because there are so many details to choose from in a wedding, there is plenty of opportunity make your green wedding your own. Here are a few of the things we did to make our wedding green. Unlike big wedding dresses with poofy sleeves, I hope this will be one wedding fad that will stick around for awhile!
• Postcard invitations cut back on bulky invitations with multiple pieces of paper. Use recycled paper to make it even greener!
• Buy vintage or handmade wedding rings.
• Recycle a family member’s or friend’s wedding dress. I had my grandmother’s from 1958 redone!
• Serve a meatless meal. Meat production uses hundreds of acres of land and hundreds of gallons of water to produce.
• Have the wedding ceremony and reception at the same venue to avoid guest using their cars.
• Choose reusable plates and silverware, or look for compostable options.
• Choose local flowers from a farm or your farmer’s market.
• An outdoor venue requires little to no energy!
• Utilize local vendors for your food, rentals, flowers and any other details you have at your wedding.
• Inform your guests of your intentions for your green wedding, and inspire them to green their own events!
Blair Owens Hecker is Bluegrass PRIDE’s AmeriCorps member for the 2010-11 school year. She is originally from Frankfort and received a bachelor’s degree in religion from Georgetown College. During her time in college she served as one of the leaders for the Green Team, an initiative to make the college more environmentally friendly. Contact Blair at firstname.lastname@example.org.