Your wedding should be one of the happiest, most memorable occasions of your life, and it should express the personalities of the couple.
If you are an advocate for the environment, you know that a wedding can cause a lot of destruction to the Earth, and consider using some eco-friendly tactics to make your day a success for you and the environment. One big problem with going green is the expense.
Serving organic meals, using environmentally-friendly businesses, and finding items made by small, local merchants can eat away at your budget. Luckily, there are ways to incorporate green practices into your wedding and save money at the same time.
Send Less MailFirst, consider the amount of paper you use during the wedding process.
Though it might be tempting to go overboard with announcements and invitations, there really is no need.
Instead of sending engagement announcements, save-the-dates, invitations, RSVP cards, and wedding announcements, use the Internet to get some of this information across to your friends and family.
Using email and a wedding website can eliminate a giant chunk of your paper products, helping the Earth and your wallet at the same time.
For some people, though, there’s just no way to get around sending some type of invitation through the mail.
If Great-Aunt Muriel just isn’t quite in the technological age yet, or you want to set a more formal tone for your wedding, you will at the very least need to send out the wedding invitations the old-fashioned way.
If you’re sending out invites, you can still cut back on the amount of paper your invites use by avoiding large square invites, which will both lessen your paper waste and save on postage; you can even ditch the envelope altogether and use postcard-styled invitations– even cheaper postage, and don’t you look trendy! You can also get rid of RSVP cards by asking your guests to RSVP via phone or email instead of mailing a card and envelope. This saves paper and the cost of another batch of stamps (but be warned that it might lead to a lot of people forgetting to respond).
Ditch the Programs
You can save on paper products at the wedding itself, also. Instead of ceremony programs, place a large posterboard with details at the entrance of the church or ceremony location. Most people glance at the program during the service, but throw them away shortly after. This might cut down on several hundred sheets of paper being wasted, depending on the size of your guest list.
Move it Outside
Another great way to help the environment is to be out in it. Host the reception outdoors, so you won’t be using air conditioning or heating to keep guests comfortable and have the ability to reduce the amount of electricity used on indoor lighting. As an added bonus, you won’t need to buy a bunch of cut flowers to decorate the area, because you’ll have living foliage already decorating the area for you. Reserving an outdoor location is often less expensive than choosing something indoors, it’s cheaper to decorate, and you’re being green by actually being out in the green, which sounds almost poetic.
Streamline the Send-Off
If you are considering something wasteful such as paper decorations or something that might be harmful to wildlife such as latex balloons, opt for a more eco-friendly alternative. Instead of having guests toss confetti, have them blow bubbles as you leave the celebration. Better yet, just have everyone create an aisle and wave to bid you farewell. Not only is this better for the environment, it looks great in photos.
A great rule of thumb to observe when planning a budget-friendly green wedding is “less is more.” The simpler and smaller the wedding, the less damage imposed on the environment. When planning each aspect of a wedding, couples with concerns about the environment and their budget need to consider their impact from beginning to end, and while this can be time-consuming, it can also be very rewarding when, at the end of the day, you know you have helped the Earth and saved some money.
Donna Barons lives with her husband and son in Houston. She is a loan consultant and a content contributor for online insurance companies. She helps people qualify for an unsecured loan, as well as secured loans through these companies.
Photo provided by Mary Olsen