Saturday, April 16, 2011

White Dress, “Green” Wedding?

It is very cool and chic to be earth friendly these days particularly in the Northwest. What most people do not know is that it can also be very budget-wise to be “green”. Even if “fair trade”, “sustainability” and “carbon neutral” are not in your daily vocabulary, you can benefit from incorporating some of these eco-friendly tips to reuse, renew, and recycle:
·         Use rental (reusable) items instead of buying new. There are many local rental companies to supply you with table d├ęcor, linens, place card holders, etc. Or if you do buy items for your wedding that can be reused by someone else, there are websites you can list your items on to be bought and used again by another bride. Try Bravo Bride or Etsy for this.
·         Consider asking your floral vendor about which flowers are in season locally at the time of your wedding. Not only will it save you money but you will support local growers and reduce the carbon emissions caused by shipping flowers long distances. Use your altar arrangements twice - once at your ceremony and then have them moved to your reception and use them at your head table or on your buffet. This will save you money and reuse your arrangements. Bridesmaids’ bouquets can be placed in vases along the head table at the reception instead of doing more centerpieces. After your wedding, donate your flowers to a local children's hospital or an assisted living facility. Your flowers will not only be used twice, but will brightened someone else's day. You might even be able to get a tax write off for the donation!

·         If you are not attached to saving and preserving your wedding dress, consider cleaning and selling it on Bravo BrideBrides against Breast Cancer will also take wedding dress donations. Your bridesmaids can donate their dresses to Donate My Dress which benefits young ladies who cannot afford to buy a new prom or homecoming dress. If your bridesmaids love their dresses, they can consider having their dresses shortened to cocktail dress length and reuse their dresses for future events they attend.
·         Try to use local vendors whenever possible to reduce your carbon footprint caused by shipping items long distance. Supporting local businesses is great for your local economy and almost always costs you less to buy local and in season.  Consider doing a carbon offset through a company like terra pass.
  • Reuse a family member’s items from their wedding. A grandmother’s embroidered handkerchief can be used to dry your tears of joy or as a stem wrap for your bouquet. Your grandma will love you even more for using it. If your mother’s wedding dress was a classic timeless dress and close to your clothing size, you can have it altered to fit you. This is a lot less money than buying a dress new. This can be your something old or something borrowed!

  • Here is a very simple cost effective tip you can utilize at the beginning of your planning. Find a venue that can hold both your ceremony and your reception. You save by paying for only one location for your wedding. Your guests save time and gas (emissions) by not having to drive from the ceremony to the reception. All your flowers can easily be moved from ceremony to reception.

  • Give favors that are appealing and can serve a dual purpose. A program printed and made into a paper fan for a late summer outdoor wedding can be the program and a favor all in one and keep your guests cooler. OR consider a plant-able favor  like a tree seedling in a mini terracotta pot that makes your guest tables look great and can be planted later and green your guests’ yards. Give favors that are very likely to be used by your guests after the wedding such as cookie cutters with a ribbon matching your wedding colors.

So walk down the aisle in your white wedding gown but think “green” while you plan.