This is a guest post from Monica Nolan.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Many of us have heard this saying over and over again until it has been ingrained in our heads. First, we were told to reduce the amount of water and electricity we use. Then, we were told to reuse things instead of buying new. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, we were taught to always recycle when possible.
With more momentum than ever before, the green movement is making its way into every aspect of our lives. Holidays, birthday parties, housewarming parties, and even weddings are getting thrown into the green movement mix. And we begin to realize that simple, small changes can have a lasting impact on our earth.
Below are some tips for adapting the three R’s for an eco-friendly wedding.
When planning a green wedding, one important aspect to take into account is the amount of travel that you and your guests will have to do. To limit the amount of fuel and carbon emissions created from excess travel, plan to have the ceremony and reception at the same location. Then ask your guests to carpool from the hotel to the ceremony. There is an app called Appy Couple, which is a great way to keep your attendees informed about wedding details. Not only can you post stories, photos and registry information, but also guest lists so that family and friends can see who is attending and work out possible carpooling arrangements.
The term “Reuse” can take on many meanings when it comes to planning a wedding. When choosing your colors and décor, look around your home first for inspiration and items you can repurpose (your favorite decorative pillow for the ring bearer, perhaps?) instead of buying something new. When you do make a purchase, question whether the product can serve an additional purpose after the big day instead of being tossed straight into the trash.
The Internet contains a host of DIY ideas for decoration. One example: table place cards made from leaves from A Home in the Making. Avoid spending a fortune and using new materials. With a bit of spray paint and a bit of nature, you can create the perfect setting for an eco-chic wedding.
Unless you’re donning a family gown, the word reuse doesn’t come to mind when most brides think of their wedding dress. However, choosing a wedding gown or a bridesmaid’s dress that can be worn again is a great way to reuse the garment. Cocktail dresses for the bridesmaids and an A-line dress for the bride are two styles that are easy to wear again at many different events. With a dash of creativity, there is always the possibility of dying a wedding gown after the initial wearing. Because there are a lot more opportunities for a cocktail dress than a ball gown, consider purchasing a sleeker, shorter garment; retailers like David’s Bridal allow you to browse wedding dresses by silhouette, height and more.
When seeking a venue for your reception, discuss what their recycling practices are. Use this conversation to relay to the company that your wedding is not just any ordinary wedding— it is a green wedding. Finding out what and how they recycle is an important step toward making sure they are on the same page as you. Additionally, be sure to choose recycled and recyclable paper products whenever possible. For plastics, select items that can be easily recycled (usually #1 and #2).
Creating a green wedding is about making a conscious effort to positively impact the world. If many people decide to take even just a few actions toward an eco-friendly wedding, it can really make a difference. Let’s remember: We only have one earth!
About the Author: Monica Nolan, a Texan at heart, moved up to Pennsylvania to obtain her bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Lehigh University. Since then, she has been a part of many initiatives to get individuals and companies to go green. Monica believes getting people educated is just the first step.