When you plan to say “I do,” you consider many factors, such as your budget and the number of family members you wish to invite. However, have you ever considered the impact your big day has on the planet? Large celebrations can result in environmental damage. Limousines and airplanes produce emissions, and decorations often end up in the garbage. However, with adequate forethought and the eight tips below, you can plan an eco-friendly wedding and show your love for Mother Earth.
1. Embrace the “something borrowed” line.
Who said you needed to wear a designer gown stitched together by sweatshop labor? Plus, the harvest and transport of pearls to decorate bridal trains can damage waterways and pollute the air. Instead, why not borrow a gown from a friend or relative if you wear similar sizes? You can still hire a tailor to make the required adjustments so the dress will fit you like a dream. You’ll save a ton of cash and have one less item to clutter up your closet if you return it after having it cleaned.
2. Select edible floral arrangements.
You probably don’t give much thought to the environmental impact of flowers — after all, they biodegrade. However, many arrangements come wrapped in plastic and ribbon that creates a ton of landfill fodder after your event.
To save money and the planet, consider reusing your church decor in your reception dishes. You can learn how to cook with roses or use the petals as a garnish. Alternatively, you can transport decorations from venue to venue — this process involves some emissions, but it’s less harmful than creating excess waste.
3. Use eco-friendly transport.
Limousines offer a classic style, but these behemoth vehicles produce a ton of emissions. Why not investigate eco-friendlier ways to travel from the church to the reception hall? One method of cutting down on traffic involves having guests carpool — doing so can also reduce DUI risk. You can use a Google Doc to have riders enter their details, including their estimated departure time. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness, and you’ll produce less pollution. Plus, with COVID-19, your invitees can plan ahead to ride-share with those with whom they feel safe, such as immediate family.
4. Combine your venues.
Who said that you have to travel between venues at all? Planning an outdoor soiree is safer than breathing indoor air in a novel coronavirus world.
With fewer crowds providing a distraction, you can plan the beachside wedding of your dreams. Alternatively, if you have a smaller group, local parks offer inexpensive pavilion rentals. Keeping things intimate also lowers the environmental impact and helps with social distancing. Unique travel destinations with stunning scenic backdrops represent another popular choice — take advantage of this if you live near a place like the Grand Canyon.
5. Say no to blood diamonds.
If the term “blood diamonds” sounds grisly, wait until you learn about the inspiration behind the name. These gems often come out of the ground by the hands of underpaid and abused labor, plus mining operations ravage natural habitats. Who says you have to have a rock at all to symbolize your love? You could always go with Celtic knot rings to represent your union. Another nouveau choice involves getting a tattoo on your ring finger.
6. Cut back on food waste.
Your darling Aunt Edna RSVP’d, but she felt under the weather on your big day and decided to stay home. While she’s making the responsible choice in a COVID-19 world, her absence produces wasted food. However, you don’t have to toss it in the receptacle. Check with your caterer to see if they partner with homeless shelters to donate uneaten meals.
7. Provide recycling receptacles.
Relatively few banquet halls and restaurants provide public recycling receptacles. As a result, Uncle Joe may toss his aluminum beer can in the garbage. Talk to the venue owners before the wedding event. If they don’t have appropriate receptacles, ask if you can bring some labeled bins to hold glass and cans. Most will agree — after all, you save them money on their waste removal bill.
8. Honeymoon close to home.
Finally, while you can visit some locations, many health experts advise travelers to stay home whenever possible. You can make a persuasive argument that you only get married once, but Tahiti will still be there once experts develop a vaccine.
Instead of going somewhere exotic, try honeymooning closer to home. If you live in the northeast, you’ll find dozens of couples-themed resorts hidden in Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountains. If you live in the west, choose between the redwoods of Northern California or sunny San Diego beaches.
You don’t have to harm the planet when you say, “I do.” Make your wedding day eco-friendlier with these eight tips and help keep our planet green.