Green Wedding Tips

Today, I’d like to share a helpful article by Merryl Brown.

Here are tips for couples to consider who want to create a more sustainable wedding day:

  • Have a daytime wedding and have at least part of it outdoors in the sunshine or early evening using natural light. When it gets darker, use soy-based or beeswax candles to gently illuminate your tables and LED lighting which is more energy efficient.
  • Choose 100% recycled content, processed chlorine free paper for invitations, place cards, save-the-date cards, programs and menus. You might consider just printing one menu card per table and placing it on a small stand. Similarly, print one program per couple, if you wish to have some type of program. There are many lovely green invitation options to choose from and you can also design great custom invitations with a favorite graphic designer. Find one who can also do beautiful hand letterpress work. Paperless invitations or save the date cards are another eco-friendly option, though they are not right for everyone.
  • Work with caterers who prepare food using local and organic produce, humanely raised beef and poultry, and sustainable seafood. Ask caterers not to use polystyrene, ask that they recycle and that they work hard to generate as little waste as possible as well as use eco-friendly cleaning supplies. Always choose rental items over disposable ones. Make your event lower waste by making this decision. Excess food can be donated to a local shelter or food bank. They will be delighted and so will you!
  • Gorgeous centerpieces are the key to a lovely table! It is possible to do them sustainably and here is how we like to do it. Our floral designers use organic, locally grown flowers, fruits or veggies to create masterful centerpieces. We also incorporate many vintage and antique pieces to create elegant vignettes that are unlike any others that your guests will have seen. Choosing living plants rather than cut flowers is another option that can be done with great style. We donate centerpieces to local nursing homes after our events so that they may be enjoyed again. You can also donate them to shelters or churches in lower income areas where they can be reused and enjoyed for another wedding. Be sure to coordinate this in advance!
  • If you wish to wear vintage clothing and jewelry, or “green fibers” such as hemp, silk, or organic cotton, it is easy to find chic eco-friendly bridal wear. There are many designers working with eco-friendly fibers these days.
  • Consider acoustic music, at least for the wedding and cocktails. It is not difficult to find wonderful local guitarists, harpists, and string ensembles to play and the cost is usually a lot less than hiring a band.
  • Use photographers that use digital photography, which is much more eco-friendly than film.

Deciding to have a green wedding provides you with a wonderful opportunity to educate your guests, should you choose to do so. There are many ways to model sustainability to your guests without offending people who may have different views or priorities. Some people prefer to shout their green philosophies from the rooftops while others prefer the more subtle approach. Much of what you may decide to do to make your event sustainable can be “back of the house”, so the choice to share the sustainability factor is yours.

Merryl Brown is the President of Merryl Brown Events, a Santa Barbara based wedding and event planning company specializing in elegant, classic events created within a framework of environmental and social responsibility. Elegance with intelligenceā„¢ is their motto!

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