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Guest Post


Elizabeth Ekhart

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. It also may be the most expensive and environmentally impactful. For the 2.5 million weddings that take place each year in the United States, there is, on average: 62 tons of carbon dioxide emitted; 400-600 lbs of waste produced; and a cost of $28,427 incurred. In one day, you are producing a carbon footprint that is larger than your yearly carbon footprint. Just imagine if every bride and groom were to be eco-conscious while planning their wedding — think about the impact on the environment and the amount of waste that could be reduced! Below are a few easy-to-implement ways to green up your wedding while saving money, helping your local economy, reducing travel time, and creating less waste.

Location, location, location:

The location of your wedding is extremely important, especially for your guests. Try to make sure that you choose a wedding location that is close to the majority of your guests. As romantic as destination weddings are, the amount of fuel used to travel to a remote area is harmful to the environment. Another great idea is to recommend carpooling to your guests and keep the ceremony and reception in a centralized area with a short distance between the two so people can simply walk to the reception venue.

Buy Locally:

The food you offer and your wedding, as well as the flowers you use to decorate, are a significant portion of your wedding budget. Flowers, especially, can have a huge impact on the environment, from the fertilizers they require to transportation emissions. An eco-friendly alternative would be to find local vendors, such as Utah-based LeCroissant Catering and R.A.B Floral, who incorporate local ingredients or grow flowers locally. Some catering vendors utilize local wines, beers, and produce to reduce the emissions and cost from transportation and also help boost the local economy. If you are a crafty bride with time on her hands before the big day, another option is to grow your own flowers, brew your own beer or get flowers from the farmers market and create your own bouquets and boutonnieres.

Recycle your wedding:

Wedding dresses are gorgeous but very expensive. On average, a wedding dress costs $1,211 and is only worn once. Unless you were in my mother’s family, where all four sisters wore the same dress on their wedding day, or you do a “trash the dress” photo shoot, you will realistically only see that dress once in your life. Today, frugal and eco-conscious brides are now borrowing from brides who already spent the money on decor, accessories and even dresses. Websites such as Once Wed, Nearly Newlywed, and Recycle Your Wedding, are all great ways to either rent your wedding dress, accessories and decor, or get great deals on used items, sometimes over 50 percent off the original cost. Using recycled decor, such as antique teapots and used mason jars for your centerpiece, is a creative and beautiful way to display your local flowers. As rustic and vintage weddings are growing in popularity, you can bring nature inside, such as using leaves as place cards if you are having an autumn wedding, and even rent decorations to help save on cost and waste.

Rethink paper:

You use more paper on your wedding day than you may think. From the save-the-dates, to invitations and programs to the place cards, menus and thank you cards, you are spending tons of money and wasting a lot of paper on many products that will likely get tossed when it’s all over. Many printing companies, such as Greenerprinter, offer recycled paper options for all your wedding paper goods. Or, rather than printing all your paper goods, have a local calligrapher write them for you to eliminate the energy used in the printing process and again, helping boost your local economy. Using postcards helps to eliminate the waste of envelopes. Another option is to send out digital announcements, like Jess and Russ, and Jenny and Grayden did.

Reduce waste:

On average, Utah brides still have the largest number of wedding guests, coming in at 209 on average, compared to the national average of 139. Keeping the guest list small is important in reducing the cost and waste of nearly every aspect of your wedding, from the food, to the decor, to the size of your venue. Rethink ordering a huge, 5-tier wedding cake, which most likely will be thrown out after you’ve had a few slices. Instead, go for a smaller cake decorated with beautiful local flowers. Be conscious when ordering food and drinks for your reception, and avoid creating a lot of waste. Also, think about your favors — will your guests actually use them, or will they end up in the trash? Make sure you are investing in a useable item, such as edibles, plants, seeds, and body products, so guests can actually use them.

About the author: Elizabeth Eckhart is a freelance writer for http://www.albertaenergyproviders.ca/ who lives and works in Chicago and is an aspiring author. Elizabeth is planning her own green wedding for next summer — she will be using antique teapot centerpieces, will be giving away succulent favors, and will rent all her decor!

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