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Nice Day for a Green Wedding: Ideas For The Big Day

So, the recycled invitations have been sent. The green (but white, probably) dress has been picked out. The recycled and/or vintage rings have been chosen. And the local food [www.sundance.tv] has been sourced for the menu. It’s time for the big day; so, what can you do to keep the footprint small while still having the best party of your life? We have some ideas…

Probably the biggest impact is made by your guests; the more you invite, the more people will have to get on a plane, rent a car and book a hotel, all of which ups the carbon footprint of your event; the average wedding creates 14.5 tons of CO2, and a bunch of it comes right here. This eco-problem is typified by TreeHugger Sami’s recent wedding [www.treehugger.com]: his family and many of his friends are from the United Kingdom; her family is from Indiana. A wedding is too important to not involve these folks, so what to do? Rather than planing, training or bussing everyone across the Atlantic Ocean for the stateside event, Sami and his bride-to-be took the wedding on the road, having the ceremony and reception here in the States and another reception for everyone else who stayed in the UK. Two people making the hop across the pond sure beats 50…

The wedding registry is another opportunity to cut down on the impact. Registering for and receiving gifts is a nice tradition (and — let’s face it — a fun way to start a new life together) but think about the eco-impact of driving to the mall, printing out the list and wrapping up the gifts (and then having to dispose of 200 pieces of wrapping paper) — it’s a lot! Ask your guests to donate to a favorite cause in your name, or just ask them for cash, so you can buy your own mixer or place settings that won’t require fancy wrapping paper and an extra trip to the mall. Along the same lines, consider doing something similar for your attendants and wedding parts; showing your gratitude by giving a gift in their name will make everybody feel good about their involvement big event.

It may seem to go without saying, but it’s part of a good green plan is to send whatever you can’t rent (much greener than buying disposable everything: tablecloths, napkins, etc.) home with folks: flowers, candleholders, etc.; the more you can get rid of, the less you have to clean up. Once the party is over; it’s time to think about the honeymoon, which is a whole new opportunity to think green. Check out the International Ecotourism Society [www.ecotourism.org] for some ideas on how to celebrate your love and new life by treading lightly on the planet. Congratulations on a happy green wedding!