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How To Have A "Green" Wedding

May 14, 2008
A wedding can be an ultimate exercise in overindulgence. We spare no expense, or assault on the environment, to ensure that our wedding day is perfect. More and more, we are becoming aware of how our actions can effect the environment and more brides are looking for ways to have their perfect day while still demonstrating environmental and social consciousness. Here are few ways to make your wedding "green."

The Venue

The venue is one of the easiest and more obvious ways to go green - marry outdoors!! This eliminates the need for electricity and allows you and your guests to appreciate the beauty of natural surroundings. To make this comfortable for your guests, you should consider marrying during a time of year when the climate is comfortable. No matter the time of year, nature provides the perfect backdrop for a wedding. In the spring, you have beautiful new blooms and in the fall, you have an array of oranges, reds, and browns to work with.

If outdoors is not an option, choose a site that will benefit from your event rental fee such as a nature sanctuary, museum, art gallery or school.

The Dress

Thanks to designers like Adele Wechsler, even your wedding dress can be green!! The gowns are made with organic hemp and silk materials and will be available in Fall 2008. The Olivia Luca Design Studio, where YOU design your own dress, also offers organic fabrics.

Green Dresses may not work for those brides dreaming of a big beautiful ball gown as the emphasis in on simplicity with eco-friendly dresses.


There are several ways to be eco-conscious in this area. You can ask your caterer to use organic, locally grown produce, free range/organic meats, locally brewed beer and organic wine. You should also work with your caterer to avoid over-catering, preparing substantially more food than what is necessary. If you have leftovers, you can donate them to a local food bank, homeless shelter or soup kitchen.

You can also insist on using washable dinnerware and avoid disposable napkins, glasses, plates, etc.


In lieu of traditional favors, make a donation in your guest's name to an eco-friendly charity. You can also give favors that are helpful to the environment, such as having trees planted in your guest's honor, notes written on plantable paper or give tree seedlings that your guests can plant in their gardens.


Ask your florist about using locally grown flowers - they travel less, provide local jobs for your community and arrive fresher. If you must have a bloom that is only grown internationally, insist on fair trade/organic flowers. A little known secret of the flower industry is that flowers are such a high value crop that they are often doused with dangerous, potentially cancer causing, chemicals to make them perfect. The conditions for workers in the international flower market are deplorable with several of them being exposed to dangerous chemicals, long hours and extremely hard labor.

If you are skipping the florist and doing your own flowers, the online wholesaler Organic Bouquet offers organic blooms.

Invitations & Stationery

You could skip invitations altogether and opt for an Evite. However, most brides will be unwilling to part with paper invitations and in that case, I recommend using recycled paper for your invitations and using soy or vegetable based ink for printing. There are companies such as Naturally Ever After that offer 100% natural, recycled invitations and printers (try Greener Printer) that print using eco-friendly ink.

You can also cut down on unnecessary enclosures by posting directions and asking guests to RSVP on your wedding website or by telephone.

Programs are not a necessary wedding component, but if you must have them, opt for recycled paper and only provide one per couple rather than one per guest. The same is true for menu cards.

Instead of escort cards, you could write or paint your guest's names and seating assignments onto frosted votives. Or you could write/paint their names onto ribbons tied to organic flower stems. Another option is to have a large, framed poster with seating arrangements rather than individual cards.


Unfortunately, hybrid limos are not yet available but there are still a few eco-friendly options for your wedding day. The best option would be to choose a site that eliminates the need for transportation by having the ceremony and reception all in one place. If that is not possible, choose ceremony and reception sites that are within walking distance of one another or travel by horse and buggy!


This is one category where everyone can participate. Popular culture has been flooded with information on the diamond industry lately. Movies like "Blood Diamond" and music artists such as Kanye West have publicized the violent conditions under which diamonds are mined. Fortunately, you can avoid such diamonds by ensuring that the diamonds used in your wedding rings are conflict-free. You can also ensure that the gold used in your rings is recycled.
About the Author
Tiffany R. Wright is a top wedding planner in the Washington, DC area and owner of Pirouette Events , a premiere wedding planning company in DC/MD/VA.
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