Planning Your Eco Friendly Wedding
Going Green On Your Big Day Does Not Have To Add Additional Stress Or Pressure On You!
Getting ready for your big day is a lot of work, and adding more "To-Do's" to your list is likely an unpalatable thought.
For that reason, many brides like you are hesitant to incorporate green concepts into their wedding plans. But, with some help I've put together the best eco friendly wedding ideas to get you on your way without adding more stress to your already busy life.
Eco Friendly Dress Selection
What's the first thing you think about when considering what needs to be done for your wedding?
Your wedding gown, of course!
All brides want to look stunning on their big day with a gown that's unique to them with the perfect look for them. But what characteristics do you want to look for in an eco friendly wedding gown? Here are some eco wedding gown ideas:
- Silk wedding dress: A classic fabric for eco wedding dresses, silk is produced by silkworms (a renewable resource!) and isn't usually treated with chemical additives. Plus, since silk is a natural fiber, it is biodegradable, unlike other synthetic fibers like polyester.
- Organic cotton wedding dress: Some eco wedding gowns are made from organic cotton. Conventionally grown cotton uses a disproportionately large amount of pesticides and herbicides compared to other agricultural crops, and it is also very water-intensive to grow.
Although growing organic cotton will use no less water, it will be free of the chemicals used in regular cotton crops, making it both healthier, and greener. Be sure to look for cotton that has been Certified Organic by the USDA to ensure that it truly was grown more sustainably.
- Bamboo wedding dress: Bamboo is considered a rapidly renewable grass since it grows so incredibly quickly—up to 30 inches in one day! The bamboo grass can be pulped and turned into a very soft, silky fabric that contains its own anti-odor system through bamboo "kun" (so you won't have to worry about body odor on your big day!).
Not only does bamboo grow more quickly than cotton, it adds huge quantities of oxygen to the atmosphere and sequesters a lot of carbon dioxide in the process.
- Hemp wedding dress: A super sustainable fiber, hemp is a great option for a green bride. Eco wedding dresses made from hemp will mean healthier soil, fewer chemicals, and better land-use efficiency.
That's because hemp produces three times more fiber per acre than cotton, it doesn't require pesticides or herbicides (although some farmers do use these chemicals so you'll want to look for organic hemp), and it adds beneficial nutrients and fosters microbial life in the soil. Hemp can be very stylish and beautiful.
- Vintage wedding dress: Today, there are secondhand wedding dress shops all over the world, giving you the opportunity to reduce the resources required to dress you up for your big day. It may take a bit more effort to find the perfect gown, but it will be really sustainable, and likely cheaper, too!
To make your dress truly green, be sure to give it up after your big day rather than storing it in a closet somewhere. This will ensure that the materials used to make your dress receive a long life.
Eco Friendly Wedding Invites & Invitations
The next question is how to get guests to your big day, and that's where eco wedding invitations come in. Here are some simple ways to green-up your invites:
- Recycled content: Choose paper that's made from post-consumer recycled content. This paper requires fewer (if no) new trees to be cut down and saves water, energy, and chemicals.
- Processed chlorine-free: Most paper is bleached with chlorine to make it bright white, but when chlorine gets into our water, it can form dioxins, which are carcinogenic. You can avoid this by requesting paper that is processed without chlorine. It's called “processed-chlorine free” or PCF.
- Tree-free paper: Skip the tree-cutting altogether by getting paper that's made from elephant poop, kenaf, jute, wheat, or some other tree-less fiber.
- Electronic invitations: Another idea for eco wedding invitations is to send e-vites which require no materials at all! They're fun and make RSVPs and data collection that much easier.
Eco Friendly Wedding Flowers
What wedding would be complete without flowers? When looking for eco friendly wedding flowers, there are just a few things to request:
- Organic flowers: Conventionally-grown flowers require enormous quantities of pesticides because they cannot be imported into the US with any bugs or fungus. Many greenhouses use up to 130 different chemicals, which results in high numbers of ill workers in these greenhouses—neurological problems, blurred vision, dizziness are all symptoms of pesticide poisoning.
There is no inspection when flowers enter our country for banned pesticides, but these can get into our soil and water systems when the flowers decompose. You can either look for the USDA Certified Organic label or the VeriFlora logo to ensure that your flowers have been grown sustainably.
- Fair Trade flowers: Many of the greenhouses that grow our flowers are staffed by women who are paid very little, subjected to sexual harassment, and are exposed to chemicals. Fair Trade Certified flowers ensure that flower laborers are treated with respect and are compensated fairly for their time. It also means they work in much safer conditions.
- Locally-grown flowers: Another great eco friendly wedding flower idea is to just grow your own, or enlist your family and friends to do it for you. Just be sure to ask them to grow them without chemicals!
Other Eco Friendly Wedding Planning Ideas
We've covered most of the bigger eco conscious wedding concerns, but here are a few more:
- Eco wedding venues: Look for a venue that is run with the earth in mind—uses water and energy efficiency, recycles waste, and cuts chemical use. And try to choose a location that is convenient for all of your guests so that they're not expending a lot of fuel to get to your special day.
- Eco wedding food: Plan meals and snacks that are green by selecting locally-grown and organically-produced foods to reduce the environmental impact of this portion of your day. And be sure to serve all food and beverages in eco-friendly dishes. Don't use disposables! Instead, choose reusable dishes and a clean-up service that will use water-efficient means to mop up after your mess.
- Eco friendly wedding favors: Look for items that people can reuse and opt out of those items that will simply be trashed at the end of the day. Edible choices are always nice, but eco wedding favors can also be practical! Be creative, but be realistic about how much your guests will want a CD of your favorite music.
I hope you find these eco chic wedding ideas that I found inspiring and exciting to put into good use. Throwing a sustainable wedding event isn't as hard as it once was. With a little advanced planning, adding “green” to your to-do-list shouldn't create much more work that you would have to do otherwise...
However, if all of this seems like too much to handle on your own, consider hiring an Eco Wedding Planner. These professionals have the connections and know all of the great green finds in your community...
From eco-friendly confetti to eco lodging and every thing in between, they can quickly and easily pull together your perfect green celebration!