A green wedding is one that is eco-friendly and conscious of the consumption of resources that would otherwise be used in the wedding. This can include recycling waste, choosing a sustainable venue and even neglecting to participate in traditional practices that could be considered unsustainable such as buying diamond rings.
Many people who live green lifestyles believe it is necessary to continue with making sure their weddings are green as well. Others choose green weddings to raise awareness to others of how sustainability is important in daily activities and celebrations.
The largest factor that contributes to the growing number of green weddings is the impact wedding celebrations can have on the environment. Many argue that without being conscious of practices and items used, the average wedding can generate a large amount of waste.
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One key concept for keeping a wedding eco-friendly is to ensure that the items being used will not quickly become waste, mainly one-time disposable items such as hosiery, plates, cups, ornaments or wedding favors. Many green weddings have instead opted for borrowed or recycled items.
Another option chosen is to rent items needed for the wedding instead of buying all new equipment/decorations instead to control the amount of waste that could be created. In other matters that consist of planning a wedding, the main basis is to prevent or reduce all harmful impacts that could be placed on the environment either directly or indirectly by resources used for the wedding.
The average wedding produces 400 lbs of garbage and 63 tons of CO2. Together, American weddings are equivalent to 8.3 million cars driving on the road for a year. This can include flowers, paper (invitations), textiles (dress, suits), gas emissions (transportation), and everything else that can occur from the wedding.
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Another important factor that is considered important is picking of the flowers. Flowers can add a huge impact on the environment due to fertilizers used and gas emissions that are released to transport the flowers. Many green wedding planners opt to have their flowers supplied by organic florist or even to grow their own.
Another common practice is to consider what to do with the flowers after the wedding, Some weddings have had flowers that are replanted after the big day to minimize waste and allow the flowers to continue to grow afterwards.
There is a large amount of paper used in weddings throughout the entire process. One large reason paper is used so largely is because of invitations. Green wedding planners are careful when selecting how to invite others due to the impact this can have. Some options that are more sustainable are
- Using recycled paper
- Purchasing do-it-yourself kits to create your own invitations
- Using the internet to send out electronic invitations instead
- Using tree-free milled paper
Food is one important factor that affects how sustainable a wedding is. Some planners choose to get all their food supplied by local/organic growers to help eliminate the amount of chemicals that would have used in the growing of the food or the transportation of it. Wedding cakes are generally made out of all organic ingredients as well to reduce the chemicals used in the production of the ingredients. Many sustainable practices that are done in green weddings are to have the leftovers composted after or to have untouched meals donated to local charities.
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One of the biggest contributors to waste that can be generated is the wedding dress. Many argue that one of the ways to continue with a sustainable wedding to use a dress that can be re-worn or borrowed from another. This eliminates the one-time use principle violation. Also choosing a wedding dress that is made out of organic fibre ensures that the garment had minimal impact on the environment during its production. Many green brides opt to purchase a vintage/second hand dress and have it altered instead of buying a new dress instead. Other brides choose to sell or donate their dress after the wedding or have it recycled to create a new garment.