One of the biggest questions that I get asked in my field is, “So what all goes into making a green wedding?” Let’s face it, most weddings are not 100% carbon neutral. Actually, that is virtually impossible. You would have to get married in walking/biking distance from your home, only invite people who are in walking and biking distance, serve food grown from your own garden, make your flowers from your own garden, play music from a solar powered radio, etc. It’s just not likely for that to happen for most brides.
Through the course of my blog you will find lots of advice and tips for making your event more eco-friendly. But it’s about more than recycled paper, local food, and a dress made from hemp. If you think about how you go green in your personal life there are so many things. Most people start small probably by recycling, or shopping at their local farmer’s market. The same goes with planning your eco-friendly event. Start small and work your way up to the big stuff. It’s not so much about all of the things you do, but about being conscious of the effect that your decisions will have on the environment
The first thing that I tell new clients is that it’s all about your awareness for what goes into and comes out of your event. After a client hires us the first meeting that we have is the “budget meeting”. This is where we set priorities for each vendor and realistic expectations about what to expect with the money they have to spend. This allows brides and grooms to be very aware of where their money is going. While we are discussing their budget it is also a good time to discuss another aspect to budgeting: the footprint of their event.
We want our events to leave a mark in our guests memories, not on our planet. It’s important that we give eco-friendly alternatives to our clients as well as educate them about these alternatives. From here we decide what aspects are most important to make eco-friendly and what aspects they would like to keep more traditional. For example an eco-friendly bridal gown may not appeal to most brides. There just isn’t an availability of stunning gowns that are also sustainably sourced. So I say go buy your beautiful gown, but then when it comes time to order your invitations go with a recycle or seeded paper printed by a local printer. It’s all about balancing your decisions. Want to feature wines from around the world? Balance their footprint by serving them with appetizers made from a local caterer that sources their ingredients from local farms. Making small steps such as these really add up in the grand scheme of things.
Another big misconception of a “green” wedding is that the decor has to be all reclaimed barnwood and succulents. Now, personally I love the rustic style, but there are lots of other styles I love too. A great example of an eco-friendly wedding with lots of modern style can be found on the blog of Hampton Morrow Photography. This couple came to me early last year with an interest in green weddings, but apprehension about sacrificing style. We used California sourced orchids, Texas garden roses and dahlias in recycled glass containers, local catering, and lots of reusable elements to give their modern affair an eco-friendly twist.
What do you think of when you hear the term “green wedding”? What are your priorities when it comes to budgeting for your wedding (financially and environmentally?)