Planning a Green Wedding
by Carol Reed-Jones
Perhaps you have been living a green lifestyle for some time, recycling
everything you can, reducing your purchases of one-time and throw-away items,
eating vegetarian...or maybe you haven't. Planning a green wedding is a
wonderful way to begin-or continue-a green lifestyle. There are some very simple
principles for planning a greener wedding, or for living daily life:
disposable and one-time-use items. For weddings, these include paper
plates and plastic cutlery; disposable cameras; women's stockings with
wedding bell appliqués; plastic and tulle bride-and-groom or wedding bell
cake top ornaments; fans and gloves for women attendants; cheap, tacky
wedding favors that guests will only throw away; table
decorations that are so specific to your wedding that they cannot be reused
or given as gifts. You can probably think of many others.
Check to see
if you can use borrowed, rented or secondhand items before you purchase new
If new items
are purchased, make sure they are of good quality so that they will have a
long and useful "life."
Do I/we really need this item? Will its absence
detract from the meaning of the ceremony, of the day? What meaning
does it have for me/us?
clothes for yourself and attendants that can be worn again, if you don't
borrow or rent it.
Recycle or use
products made out of recycled materials. Use as few virgin resources
as possible, especially nonrenewable ones.
products that are available in bulk, or with minimal
aerosol products, whether for household or personal use.
organically grown food. Not only a health concern, the
consumption of organically-grown foodstuffs puts fewer toxic pesticides and
fertilizers into the environment and food chain, and promotes sustainable
vegetarian menu at your reception. Plant proteins
(legumes, vegetables, grains, fruits) use fewer valuable resources-less land
and water-per pound than livestock.
organically grown, local flowers in season-or grow your own. Locally grown
flowers don't need much transportation to get to you. Out of season
flowers will have to be transported long distances, contributing to
pollution (and costing a small fortune). Leave wildflowers in the wild
where they belong, so they can reseed for the future.
electricity use-consider the use of candles instead of
electric light, and live "unplugged" music at your reception or
Cut down on
excess transportation and reduce air pollution at the same time.
Arrange your reception at the same location as the wedding, or within easy
walking distance. Consider a nearby honeymoon.
products from companies and countries that do not use child labor.
of companies that donate a portion of their profits to environmental causes.
Simplify whatever you can, wherever you can, without compromising the
meaning that this day will have for you. Fewer small details to attend
to will translate into more fun, more time for your guests, less stress and
This column is an excerpt from the first chapter of Green
Weddings That Don't Cost the Earth, by Carol Reed-Jones.
© 1999 Carol Reed-Jones