Green Weddings for all
With the huge amount of global interest in the seriousness in global warming, engaged couples are also now starting to look at ways of making their special day more environmentally friendly. The question is however, how do you make sure that your special day leaves a smaller carbon footprint?
Michelle has gone to some trouble finding the following tips on the internet. I now they are not necessarily photography related, but we are also looking into how to make what we do as wedding photographers, even more GREEN.
Here are some tips to make sure your wedding not only makes a bold statement, but also help to save the environment. Remember, going a little green is better than not at all, because every thoughtful action helps our environment.
1. Wedding Rings: Instead of the a diamond ( of which some are mined in war zones and fund conflicts, try the following alternatives:
• Vintage Rings – use the family heirloom or find a antique ring
• Melt old gold down and refashion it.
• Use a one-of- a kind wooden band
2. Location: Spend your money on the location wisely, as it accounts for a big part of your budget:
• Choose a venue that is convenient for most of your guests, as to minimize the travel impact. A great idea is to have the wedding and the reception at the same venue. Also arrange car pools for guests
• Look for a unique venue that supports your cause – a botanical garden, a farm, a green hotel etc.
• A outdoor venue which requires less decorating
• Use alternative transportation to arrive at the wedding like a horse-drawn carriage or a buggy.
• Have a daytime wedding if possible to minimize electricity usage or use candles for an evening wedding
3. Invitations: Remember, your invitation has to make a statement of your choice of a green wedding;
• Choose post card style invitations ( no envelopes)
• Use handmade paper
• Use emails and the internet to send out invitations
• Use tree-free paper made from hemp, banana stalks, bamboo, kenaf or organic cotton.
• Use eco-friendly paper for your guest register, place-cards, menu’s, thank-you notes.
4. The Party:
• Have your bachelor/bachelorette party local. Do something low-impact and outdoorsy like camping, hiking, river rafting etc.
• Take your bridesmaids for organic spa treatments or attend a fun make-it yourself craft course.
5. The Dress:
• Use a vintage dress (put a modern spin on it by buying cute shoes and accessories.
• Rent your dress
• Buy something you can wear again
• Borrow a dress from a friend or a sister
• Donate your dress to charity after the wedding
• Use all-natural makeup
• To reflect that you are holding a environmentally friendly wedding, use wild flowers in your wedding bouquet.
6. The Reception:
Use natural wedding decor:
• Use rose petals as confetti, or if you want to do something a little more fun, use bubbles
• Use organic flowers
• Use a locally based florist
• Let your bridemaids carry handmade purses, hand-made fans or umbrellas instead of flowers
• Use potted plants as table decorations, which can also be used as gifts for your guests or be used at your house afterwards
• Use apples, lemons etc. as interesting table decorations
• Use the same decorations at the reception that was used at the ceremony
• What about using natural products like leaves as place cards
• Donate your flowers to an old age home or hospital afterwards
7. The food and beverages:
Spoil your guests with local, organic and seasonal foods. Or try organic wine, beer and spirits.
• Find a caterer you trust to give you the best seasonal menu
• Rent real glassware, dishware and linens instead of using disposables
• Mix and match antique dishware and glassware
• Consider vegetarian selections
• Have your cake decorated with wild flowers instead of plastic toppers
• Make arrangements to donate leftover foods to a local food bank or charity organisation
8. Your photos:
Use a photographer that uses digital cameras. Avoid single use cameras – rather ask friends and family to share their digital images via email. If the photographer have a website, let friends and family view your photo’s online instead of making excessive prints
Instead of asking for gifts, ask guests to donate the amount to a worthy cause.
For party favours use one of the following ideas:
• Attractive bags with organic herbs and spices
• Flower seeds
• A small plant
• Natural handmade soaps
• Beeswax candles
• A small charitable donation in each guests name
• Place cards made of seeded paper that can be planted at home
• A bulb which each guest can plant at their home, to give them a lasting memory of your special day
10. The honeymoon:
• Go somewhere local for your honeymoon
• Take a trip that benefits a environmental group
• Take a romantic and relaxing train trip
• Get around at your destination by renting bicycles or taking public transportation
Well, hope some of these ideas will help you to do your litlle something for the environment. We recently heard of an overseas photographer that took “going green” to the extrem by planting a tree for every couple at their wedding venue, and sent them photos of their tree every year on their wedding anniversary - guess we all have something to learn…
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Michelle Janse van Rensburg