Many eco-conscious couples are opting for green weddings, reflecting their love for each other and for this beautiful blue planet we call earth. A green wedding is a statement about who you are and the values you will share as a couple. A green wedding can also add thoughtful, even unexpected touches, some of which will save you money, and all of which will delight your guests.   Here are a few tips to get you started.

Wedding Gowns

A vintage gown isn’t for every bride – but it’s a great option for some. Haute Couture from a bygone era can add an added layer of romance or fun and at a price you can afford. It is possible to find designer gowns in virtually pristine condition at a fraction of the cost for which they retailed. Check upscale vintage shops – but before you do, you might want to start even closer to home. There may even be a family heirloom dress that can be made into something that reflects both beautiful you and the women of your family or his.

Prefer a new gown? Think about styles that can be used again or easily altered for other functions.  Colours other than white are becoming more and more popular, and choosing eco-friendly fabrics like silk keep you environmentally friendly.  If you’d like to keep your dress as a wedding dress, make sure it’s cared for and stored properly after use so you may pass it down to other women in your family or close circle who might treasure it as you have.

Invitations

Use invitations on recycled paper that are processed without chlorine and encourage guests to recycle them.  Consider using a soya based or water-based ink and instead of an envelope, use a reply postcard instead.  Some couples are going high tech, creating a website with wedding details such as directions, hotels, etc., to lessen their printing needs. For a truly unique and sublimely environmental green wedding option, check out Canadian company Botanical PaperWorks.  Your guests will remember your wedding with seed-embedded plantable wedding invitations printed on 100% post-consumer waste that burst into wild flowers when the invitation is planted.

Wedding Registry

Want the gifts you receive to do some good in the world? Search out environmentally friendly retail options, like cooking.com. They will donate a percentage of sales for wedding registries to your charity of choice at no additional cost to you or your guests.  The I Do Foundation also has additional great ideas like Wedding Favors for Charity.

Confetti

Lots of people don’t even bother with it – churches and other venues often don’t even allow it. But if you do want confetti, Botanical Paperworks also has plantable confetti that is available in assorted colours and shapes.  Beautiful all the way around.

A Sustainable Menu

Select a catering company that will provide you the option of organic, seasonal, locally grown food. Wines of Canada provides information on organic wines that are available in Canada.  Serving seafood? Go for wild and non-endangered species.  If there are any leftovers, consider donating these to a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Insist on a caterer who uses chafing dishes, recycles aggressively and who can prepare and serve your catering without disposable materials.

Flowers

Ask your wedding event planner or florist to source a local wildflower grower to create bouquets and table arrangements.  You might even consider edible, organic flowers such as nasturtiums, orange blossoms, lavender, roses, jasmine, hibiscus or honeysuckle for bouquets and centrepieces.  Ensure, of course, there are no pesticides before you encourage your guests to chow down on the decor!

For the ultimate eco-fabulous green wedding, how about an edible centrepiece?…yes, we said edible…yes, for your wedding.

Imagine chocolate covered strawberries overflowing on fabulous decorative glass platters or on lovely tiered pastry stands.  Accent the strawberries with edible (pesticide free) organic flowers, such as gardenias, day lilies or roses.  You could even do it yourself if need be! Here’s some directions…

  1. Melt one pound of organic dark chocolate with two tablespoons of shortening or grapeseed oil.
  2. Dip the strawberries into melted chocolate and lay on parchment paper to cool.
  3. Drizzle melted white chocolate over all or some of the strawberries for a striking accent.

Pots of edible herbs or wheatgrass accented with potted edible flowers also make a great centrepiece. Bonus:  your guests can take them to plant in their gardens for a lasting memory of your wedding.

This next suggestion can be truly striking and sublime.  Place apples, oranges, lemons, limes, pears, peaches, and other in season fruits and berries in tall, clear vases of varying heights.  Again, edible flowers and nuts as well can be included in this centrepiece.

How about edible bouquets with chocolate Ecuadorian roses and yellow violets along with sugared orange and lemon wedges? Fabulous! Here’s something fun: large ice cream cones topped with edible white carnations to form the scoops of “ice cream.”  Place the ice cream cones in glass containers on 2-3 stands of varying heights.  The kids and the young at heart will love these.

Energy Conservation

Conserve power by planning an outdoor wedding. But you’re having an evening wedding, you say?…no problem.  Create a beautiful and dreamy atmosphere using lots of candles.  Candles made of soy and citronella are earth-friendly and ultra romantic.

Photos & Video

Go digital.  Digital photos are enviro friendly and easy to share. Also share your special day with everyone by uploading your wedding video to YouTube.  What about those who can’t make it to your earth friendly wedding?  Or perhaps you have decided on a small wedding.  Consider sharing your wedding day as it happens with a wedding webcast — the ultimate green wedding!  LiveStream or ustream.tv are two webcast services that will let all your friends and family who can’t be there to participate in the celebration.

Honeymoon

Travel Green Hotels Canada and GreenHotels.com in the U.S. have great options for eco-friendly hotels.  And while you’re at it, don’t forget the carbon offset options when flying.

Green wedding planning takes a little bit more attention to details, but all of the unique and memorable touches will make your day that much more special for you and your guests. A green wedding can be as chic, sophisticated, homey, or romantic as you’d like it to be – and it’s a great way to kick off your new life together.

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