Bridal Club Magazine
How to Host an Environmentally Friendly Wedding
ust putting a little extra thought into your event can go a long
way to greening your wedding, but we think it is well worth the
effort! Here are some tips on how to have a beautiful wedding
without sacrificing your green ideals.
Start by selecting a venue that demonstrates a commitment to the
environment through green building design or
environmentally-friendly practices. Here are some questions to
- Do they use environmentally friendly cleaning products and do
they adhere to organic gardening practices in their outdoor
- Are they accessible by public transit, have dedicated spaces
for carpooling drivers or bike racks
- What energy saving measures have they incorporated eg. green
roof, natural light or waterless urinals.
Is easy to understand why many are turning away from the
traditional invitation and moving towards web-based invitations.
Here are a few tips for keeping your wedding invitations
- If you are sticking with traditional printed invitations, use
paper made from 100% post-consumer fiber. You can also get paper
manufactured using green energy sources - look for Green Seal
- If you have chosen printed invitation, consider using a website
for your RSVPs or you can also save paper by doing postcard RSVPs
(eliminates the envelope for reply cards).
- If you're ready to go all the way, send your invitations by
email. You can always print a few invitations for guests who are
not internet savvy and for your own scrapbook. Several websites now
provide easy to use packages that help you create and personalize
your wedding website. You can also use it to post directions,
schedules and guest information - it will save you time and
It can be hard to avoid cars entirely, as many guests will be
traveling from out of town and it seems unfair to ask guests to use
public transit or bikes when they are dressed in their best for
- Make sure your guests are aware of the alternatives to driving
to your wedding including public transit and carpooling or provide
an alternative by having a bus pick guests up at a central location
that is easy to reach on foot and return them there
- Have the ceremony and reception at locations within walking
distance of one another.
- If you're renting a car for the day make it a hybrid, and
encourage guests who are also renting to do the same
Favours are easy to green. Today people regularly customize
their wedding favours to suit their wedding theme and their
- Stick with tradition! Give your guests five sugar-coated
almonds symbolizing fertility, happiness, health, wealth and
longevity. Use organic almonds in honey or make your own!
- Consider a table favour that is useful, consumable and
eco-friendly like local organic honey, wine, flower seeds or tree
seedlings. You could also consider experiential gifts such as spa
visits or gift certificates for a local restaurant.
- Thank your guests with a donation in their name to an
organization that promotes environmental responsibility.
The key here is to be practical. Don't register for things that
you don't need and make sure your registry offers a variety of gift
options and price ranges.
- If you are already settled into a home, offer guests the option
of donating to a non-profit organization as a wedding gift to you.
The Toronto Botanical Garden is a great 'green' charity to
- If you need to outfit a home, consider registering with a
non-traditional and eco-conscious retailer ( Lee Valley , Gaiam, or
Mountain Equipment Co-op) to minimize unwanted, environmentally
unfriendly or unusable gifts.
- Find or create a green project to support - volunteering for a
tree planting project or park cleaning project and your guests can
contribute their time to the project in lieu of a wedding
At the Table
If local organic is the rule at home, make it a rule for your
wedding too! Not only does locally grown food taste better but
farming with organic methods replenishes the soil and reduces water
and air pollution.
- Find a caterer who uses local organic meats and produce and/or
would arrange for a local food bank to collect leftover food or
compost food waste
- Serve local organic wines and locally brewed organic beers.
Consult the LCBO for help.
- Avoid disposable dishes and cutlery, instead use rented china
Décor has an impact on the environment too - consider the amount
of energy consumed in the growth and transport of flowers alone.
Here are a few easy alternatives:
- Grow your own flowers for centerpieces, use potted plants or
herb, or find a florist who uses local, organically grown flowers.
Make sure the flowers go to a friend after your event and compost
flowers and greens once they have faded.
- You can make terrific centerpieces with no flowers at all - how
about a glass bowl filled with pretty beads, seeds or bright limes
- If you're using draping or other fabric decor, make sure the
fabrics are re-useable or better yet, rent what you need for the
day. One innovative couple decided to use an exhibit of a friend's
photographs. By projecting images onto a plain wall they turned
something dull into a very personal and unique conversation
You don't have to compromise the romance of your honeymoon by
- Honeymoon locally! Consider a cottage rental, a local eco
resort, or a spa getaway.
- Purchase carbon offsets to reduce the impact of air travel -
offers a simple exchange market that will help negate the carbon
you create by contributing money to projects that restore the
environment, such as tree planting programs.
Dresses, Hair & Makeup
Don't fall apart here - there are lots of ways to green your
wedding day style!
- Consider a vintage wedding dress, or a new dress made from
organic silk, hemp or cotton
- Donate your dress to a charity after your wedding .
- Purchase your dress from a charity or consignment shop
- Ask your bridesmaids to choose their own dresses or to wear a
dress they already own - it's more likely that if they choose their
dress themselves, they'll choose something that will be worn
- Use products that are 100% natural such as Aveda's line for
hair, body & makeup.
Shout it Out!
You have worked hard to make your event green, so tell your
guests all about it. Not only will it make you look good, but it
will make your guests feel good!
- Ask your MC to make a point of highlighting what you have done
to be green.
- Include a section on your website that tells guests about your
- Write out your environmental 'mandate' and place it in a
central location for your guests to read.
Do you support same sex marriage?