Your wedding day may very well be the most important day of your life. Or perhaps it’s not that big of a deal to you; maybe you’re throwing a wedding to please your parents. Either way, weddings are a fairly traditional part of most people’s lives, with 2.4 million weddings performed each year on average in the United States alone. We devote a lot of time to planning weddings, often at least a year. This is because most couples want their weddings to be memorable, fun, and authentically “them”. They want their weddings to have a unique stamp, rather than reminding people of parties that they’ve been to before. Of course, this often means spending some degree of money — on average, $35,329. Though some couples get help from their parents — and in fact, some parents follow the tradition of the bride’s family paying for the wedding — many have taken on more responsibility for the finances that go along with wedding planning. This makes sense; many couples are waiting longer to get married. Furthermore, paying for your wedding gives you more free rein to do exactly what you want, and to prioritize what is important to you.
For a lot of modern couples, ensuring that their wedding is “green” or eco-friendly is very important. The current generation of young adults is more aware than ever of the issues pertaining to the environment. Some are even conflicted about whether or not to throw a big wedding or not. Planning a big party seems to be wasteful, and at odds with environmental friendliness. Luckily, there are ways that you can be environmentally friendly while throwing the wedding that you want. Let’s dive into what you can to make your wedding as green as possible!
1. Cut Down On Waste
One of the biggest environmental issues that comes with throwing a big wedding is the amount of trash and waste that a wedding can accumulate. It’s not just the reception, either. Even getting ready for your wedding can produce waste. For instance, try skipping the disposable razor to shave and consider a laser hair removal session instead. In some cases, a laser hair removal session can take as little as 30 minutes and cut your waste down to zero. Most women (42%) even say they prefer natural, waste-free beauty. Never mind all of the excess food that is prepared and ultimately wasted — at least much of this can be broken down, and can sometimes even be donated to those in need. (Which is something you should certainly consider; see if you can work with caterers who donate their leftovers to homeless shelters or charities.) Trash often ends up in landfills, where it cannot be broken down and ultimately ends up contributing to the environmental problems we’re dealing with today. You can compensate by ensuring that your caterers not only use reusable silverware and dishes, but reusable napkins as well. Don’t use products that can be easily tossed aside, and set aside a container for recyclable products. For that matter, rather than using up a lot of plants through centerpieces that will ultimately go to waste, perhaps use ice sculptures, which can melt down into reusable water in about four to six hours.
2. A Vegan Menu
Whether or not you yourself are vegan, you may want to consider serving your guests from a vegan menu. Consider how many guests you’re serving, and how much energy can be used when preparing those meals. It may seem difficult to cut down on that kind of waste at all. Many environmental experts recommend a vegan diet to those who want to minimize their carbon footprints. The benefits of a vegan diet are manifold — but it benefits the environment because it doesn’t contribute to the meat industry. The fact is that the meat industry takes up a lot of land, and the animals themselves can overfeed and harm the land. Of course, the biggest issue is the methane produced by cattle on a large scale. Now, many weddings in this day and age include one vegan meal at least anyway, to accommodate guests with specific diets. While those with vegan diets can’t eat meat, meat eaters can certainly eat vegan meals. Though some have negative associations with vegan diets, the vegan menu has come a long way over the years. There are plenty of amazing vegan meals to choose from, and if you want to take the risk and serve an entirely vegan menu to your guests, there will definitely be an environmental pay off!
3. Paperless Save The Dates
Every year, millions of trees are chopped down to make way for our paper demands. A wedding can potentially use up a lot of paper, especially when it comes to save the dates and invitations. Now, there is much debate when it comes to invitations. Lots of people like to still send out traditional invitations, and with good reason. You’ll want to make sure that your guests can easily refer back to their invitations, and they’re less likely to miss paperless invitations. Furthermore, on a sentimental level you’ll be able to save a paper invitation — and so will your guests. You can still be green by using recycled paper for your invitations. Now, as far as save the dates go — you may want to go paperless. A save the date can be attractive and inviting without being printed out on paper. A soft copy will do just as well, and it may actually be easier for you to reach everyone through an online save the date!
You don’t have to give up on your dream wedding in order to go green — you’ll simply make your dreams fit a green vision too. Take advice from a wedding planner if you have to, but it’s much easier to be environmentally friendly while planning a wedding than you might think!