The popularity in green weddings is a growing trend. More and more couples are becoming conscious of the rising costs in whiz-bang weddings and also the effects on the planet as a result.
You can plan a green wedding that isn't wasteful or polluting and I've researched how!
Its the simple things, starting with the wedding stationery.
A mate of mine recently sent me this link to a New Zealand based website called paperlesswedding.co.nz. If you're eco-friendly and aware of the amount of trees involved in wedding invitations, this website is cost effective for those that want to do the right thing for their purse, postie and planet!
Cut the paper out and become tree free with this website by emailing your wedding invitations to your guests. It links them directly to your personalised website where you will tell them all about your special day including details of how to get there, where to stay, message board, photos and online RSVP.
Its a very simple process and gives you really cool themes to choose from. If you can't go completely paperless because Grandma isn't online, don't fret. They do have recyled paper options to add to your package.
Check them out at www.paperlesswedding.co.nz.
Choose an outdoor wedding at a favorite natural spot to add to the beauty of going green and consider having the ceremony and reception at the same location to avoid the amount of travel. If you really want to go the extra mile, consider a seasonal vegetarian or organic menu that is locally produced and choose local or organic beers and wine.
Wedding attire can be green conscious too. Buy second hand or vintage outfits or rent from the Operatic Society. Source outfits that you can wear again or borrow a wedding dress a friend or family member has already. Accessorise and make it your own by buying from Trade Aid. They have amazing brooches, necklaces and earrings at affordable prices that is also helping to transform disadvantaged producers’ lives around the world. And if you have a beach wedding - go barefoot and forget the pricey wedding shoes!
What to do about the gifts dilemma? Easy! Go green on your gift registry or choose donations to charities. Going green on your gift registry means choosing environmentally friendly items such as a compost bin, worm farm, rain tank, push bikes, solar garden lights, NZ made recycled timber furniture, Fruit and native trees or anything else to help your eco-friendly home!
Gifts for guests? No sweat! Choose favours that can act also as a placeholder like a personalised packet of seeds with quirky meanings. Like forget me knot flower seeds with a message saying "forget us not" or "growing memories". Give each guest a Philips Compact Fluorescent Light globe with a message saying "C'mon baby light my fire". This idea is one of my favourites. If every guest replaced a 50-watt incandescent bulb it can heavily reduce the amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Source locally produced organic relish or jam in re-useable containers or jars with a message saying "spread the love". You can research all this at the Sunday Farmers Market in New Plymouth's CBD. Get creative and imaginative - its all a bunch of fun!
Flowers are the major accessory at weddings - the bouquets, buttonholes and table settings. Consider dried or silk flowers, and if you have a florist booked, enquire about whether the flowers are imported from overseas (meaning they have quite a carbon footprint) or they are sourced from a local farmer. Unless they are organic, there have been a lot of pesticides used to raise flowers so consider keeping it green by insisting on locally grown organic flowers or you can even try to grow your own. Donate your flowers afterwards to the hospital or other organisations you care about. You can find easy solutions for centre pieces these days that are just as elegantly effective. Things such as candles (which also solves the lighting footprint), feathers, branches with draped beading or even a flower pot that you can take home afterwards.
Hire a bus and transport all your guests to reduce the amount of cars on the road or encourage them to car pool. If you're having your wedding in the New Plymouth District, ride along the coastal walkway with your guests to your reception venue after marrying at the beach or park. If you absolutely must have those cool retro photos with a classic or vintage car, consider asking them to arrive for the photo shoot and leave out the transportation of the bridal party altogether. If you're super keen, consider arriving by horse like Julia Roberts in the Runaway Bride - then again, maybe not!
Decorating and theming your wedding is simple if you hire. Dobsons Marquee and Party hire have a range of table settings, vases and greenery to choose from and Something Borrowed also hire vintage inspired table settings and bunting. Hiring is re-useable and cost effective - completely eco-friendly! There are lots of suppliers that have their own gear, so ask about what they have to offer or borrow items from friends and family. Who knew Nana had such cool candleabras and table cloths!
Your wedding cake can be a winner too. Make its purpose useful by serving it up as dessert. At my wedding, we had a chocolate mud cake that the caterer's served up to guests with a berry couli and cream - Yummo! Choose a wedding cup cake tower and knock out the wedding favours as well with guests taking away one each at the end of the night. Or do what our latest Real Naki Wedding couple did with a cheese and fruit cake tower. This is a cool idea served on platters at tables with seasonal fruits such as grapes.
So there it is. A green wedding doesn't mean you have to be a hippy or tree hugging environmentalist. It just means you consider being carbon neutral, re-using, recycling, organic, and supportive of Taranaki businesses that use sustainable products.
My reasons to choose a green wedding would be two things. The un-harmed bank balance and the warm feeling inside!