6 Steps to Planning a Sustainable Wedding

Mankind is destroying the environment at an ever-increasing pace. Climate change. Ozone depletion. The extinction of species. These are all problems created by the use of fossil fuels and the reckless use of our resources. We can only begin to reverse the process that got us to where we are today by making some rather dramatic changes in how we live our lives.

There’s so much going on in the world today that many people are already doing what they can to preserve the environment. There are a lot of things you can do as a green-minded couple to make your wedding as green as possible. If you are at all concerned about leaving a positive impression on your guests and are willing to make a small investment, here are a few ways you can go about making your special day as environmentally friendly as possible.

1. Reduce your paper usage

Sending a wedding invitation by e-mail is a great way to save paper and energy. They’re much less expensive than printed invitations and they use far less fuel to send out the announcements. There are many programs and services available to let you create and send e-wedding invitations from your computer.

In addition, there are several products used at weddings and receptions (programs, napkins, table coverings, etc.) that can be replaced or reused. Learn if there are viable alternatives to these products or if you can use recycled versions.

 

2. Minimize and streamline guest travel

You can do a lot better than sending your guests to the airport. Consider holding the ceremony and reception at a local park, a city hall, a county courthouse or even at the site of an old mining camp. Not only will this save on petrol, but it will also make your wedding more intimate and give your guests a genuine connection to the occasion.

You can also cut down on the energy consumed through group travel by having your guests share rides. In addition, you can have a van or a shuttle service pick up all your guests at one central location and deliver them to your hotel, ceremony and reception locations. This will help to mitigate having everyone driving separate cars to each location.

3. Use recycled or re-useable items whenever possible

Instead of purchasing decorations that are just going to be binned away after one use, rent your decorations from a local rental company so that they can be reused. Reusing allows your wedding decorations to be put back into circulation and thus helps avoid creating a huge amount of landfill space. Also, instead of using rice or balloons to mark the beginning and end of each ceremony, use biodegradable confetti that will quickly break down into earth-friendly compost.

4. Take a green approach to wedding gifts

It’s important for the environment that your guests give you gifts that are wrapped in environmentally friendly packaging. Your guests should also be encouraged to leave your gifts unwrapped so you can save all that pretty paper. And don’t forget about the newspapers – have your guests use them to package your gifts instead of traditional wrapping paper.

5. Select green suppliers

Being green isn’t just about making environmentally friendly choices, it is also about making choices that benefit your bottom line. Many green businesses make a huge difference when it comes to conservation, but also, they often offer products and services at a discount to consumers who are willing to make a small extra effort to help preserve the planet.

For example, photographers can use digital photography which allows them to instantly review your shots. Also, you can hire caterers that only use organically grown or range-fed meats and produce. That helps to minimize the waste your customers send to landfills.

6. Offset your carbon footprint with carbon credits

You can’t eliminate all carbon footprints when planning a wedding but you can offset your carbon footprint by purchasing carbon credits. These can be purchased from organizations that invest in carbon reduction products, so every credit you purchase goes to counterbalancing the carbon you have used or will use.