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Guest Post by Sara Gomez

Your wedding is one of the most special, unforgettable days of your life. For a lot of brides, that means spending an extravagant amount of money on a huge reception—and a lot of waste to go with it. But these days, a lot of brides are shunning convention and tradition, and turning to eco-friendly alternatives. Here are 10 ideas for planning your wedding which will keep it both budget-friendly and environmentally friendly.

Invitations

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Image Credit: Littlemissmrs.com

There was a time when invitations were written on handcrafted paper. These days, they are generally mass-produced. But do you even need paper invites? These days you can save money and trees by going paperless and inviting your guests through email. That doesn’t stop you from choosing fun custom designs or sending special personalized messages—in fact it makes it easier. Plus, it’s fast and convenient for your guests, who can RSVP instantly with the click of a mouse. Along with your invite, you can send a map to your ceremony, a link to your gift registry, and more.

If you want to stick with paper invites, use recycled materials. Nowadays you can get recycled paper in any color, size, or texture you choose. Seeded paper is very popular for invitations.

Flowers

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Image Credit: Flickr.com

Flowers only last for a few days and then they wilt and die. Spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on flowers which aren’t ecologically harvested is a waste both to your wallet and the planet. Still, they are undeniably beautiful and help to create a festive atmosphere. Here are a few options which can help you stay eco-friendly without abandoning wedding flowers:

  • Order cut flowers from an eco-friendly online florist that imports blooms from countries where they cost much less to grow and leave a smaller ecological footprint. They are delivered straight to your door, which reduces carbon emissions even further. It also cuts costs for you.
  • Use potted plants for some of your wedding reception flowers. They make great centerpieces, and you can give them away to your guests as gifts afterwards. They will brighten the homes of your friends and relatives long after the wedding is over.
  • Combine traditional cut flowers from the florist with some local wildflowers or succulents for a unique look that fits in harmoniously with your surroundings.

All of these ideas will save money and help you protect the planet while beautifying your ceremony and reception.

Earth-friendly Food and Drinks

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Image Credit: BridalGuide.com

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Image Credit: BridalGuide.com

First, look for a caterer who believes in your passion and vision to go green. The best eco-friendly caterer will serve organic food and beverages and will source local and seasonal ingredients where possible.

For seafood, stick with species that are not endangered and stay away from caviar and Chilean sea bass. Make sure that the fish have been humanely harvested in a sustainable way.

For beverages, look for organic wines and champagnes you can serve at your reception. Organic juices make a great non-alcoholic beverage option, and are very trendy these days. You can also make iced tea using local, fresh ingredients.

What about your wedding cake? Ask your baker to make use of local organic flour, milk, and eggs. For dishware, stay away from disposable plates and cutlery. Use real plates and bowls and glasses and silverware that you can wash and re-use. Use ecologically friendly detergents in the kitchen.

Wedding Rings

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Image Credit: BHG.com

How can you go green with wedding rings? Go to a jeweler that uses recycled gold and fair labor gemstones. Stay away from “blood diamonds” or “conflict diamonds,” and never buy a diamond if the jeweler cannot provide you with its full history.

Wedding Dress

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Image Credit: BHG.com

If you feel strongly about advocating a greener world, what better way to show it than by wearing a recycled wedding gown? While it used to be traditional for mothers and grandmothers to pass down their wedding gowns, many brides these days buy brand-new dresses and wear them only once. After that, they just go to waste.

Buy a used wedding gown, or let a friend or relative pass theirs down to you. If you need to, you can always take it to a local tailor to have it altered the way you need so that it fits your size and your style (a great way to provide business to a local artisan). After you wear your dress, pass it on to someone else!

A Green Venue

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Image Credit: Valrovere.com

You can also be eco-friendly in your choice of venue. Pick a spot that showcases the beauty of your environment. A romantic garden wedding or a wedding with a natural backdrop like a sea cliff or a forest makes a great option. The most picturesque backgrounds are ready-made by nature. All you have to do to find them is look. Be sure to leave the venue as you found it. Do not litter or pollute. Leave only footprints!

Go local for most supplies

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Image Credit: TheKnot.com

Stick with local products for your food, beverages, linens, and other supplies wherever possible. Doing so reduces the costs associated with transportation and pollution, and helps you to support your community. One exception is cut flowers! Oftentimes, local flowers are not the most ecological choice. Flowers imported from Ecuador and other warm countries are often better, because those locations provide the right environment to grow roses and other traditional wedding blooms year-round. That means there is fewer carbon emissions associated with production.

Digital Memories

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Image Credit: WeddingsOutfit.com

Use a digital camera instead of an analogue camera to capture your wedding memories. That way you do not have to deal with rolls of film and chemicals. It’s also a lot more convenient. You don’t need to have the photos developed. And you get to choose the shots you want and edit them the way you wish. Print only what you really want to, and keep the rest of your shots as digital memories.

Green Giveaways

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Image Credit: Etsy.com

What will you hand out as party favors? Plant seeds or potted plants make wonderful green gifts. They add to your décor at the reception, and at the end of the day, cleaning up is easy! Just hand them around. These are unique gifts which keep giving year round as they bloom and grow.

Wedding Decorations

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Image Credit: BridalGuide.com

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Image Credit: BridalGuide.com

This is one of the best ways to show off your ingenuity when it comes to going green. Make Mason jar lanterns or create handmade soy candles to light up your centerpieces. Use chalkboard paint to create table placards, signs at your venue, and more. There are hundreds of ways to recycle and up-cycle. DIY projects allow you to make use of the materials around you to beautify your ceremony and reception instead of letting them go to waste. Doing it yourself is fun and environmentally friendly, and will give your wedding a unique, personalized look and feel!

As you can see, there are many ways to go green on your wedding day—or any other big event you have to plan. Make a conscious effort to be gentle to the environment and avoid products and processes which damage it. Life is precious, and a wedding should be a celebration of that fact.

Contributed by Flower Explosion: Flower Explosion is a florist that provides high-quality, fresh-cut flowers — including done-for-you wedding flower packages at DIY prices.

www.flowerexplosion.com – Flower Explosion on Facebook – @flowerexplosion

Zarn

I’ve never followed trends as I disliked being just one of the crowd so my love for things that are different, unusual, beautiful and stylistic that I’d had all my life transformed into Alice in Weddingland.
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