Today is officially the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day! It's pretty cool to think how far things have come, especially for weddings. A decade ago, virtually no one talked about eco-friendly weddings. Even five years ago, green weddings weren't nearly as mainstream as they are today.
So even if you don't plan on having a completely green wedding (or maybe you haven't thought about greening your wedding at all), consider doing just one or two small things that can make a big difference in the environmental impact of your wedding.
Plant trees-- Offset some of the carbon emissions that invariably come from an event by planting trees. You can even use this as a favor. American Forests is a great organization for tree planting. Or give your guests tree saplings from The Green World Project to plant in honor of your wedding or potted herbs (if most guests are local and don't have to schlep a pot through an airport). In honor of Earth Day, we are planting 100 trees through American Forests today!
Potted herbs in buckets by Kelly MacPhee via Snippet & Ink; Herbs in terra cotta pots via Intimate Weddings
Straight-up Offset-- Carbon Fund will help you determine how much to offset for your event. They even have a feature you can put on your wedding website so you can get your guests involved. Even offsetting a little bit can help.
Eat local-- Talk to your caterer about sourcing local food. We do lots of "100-mile" weddings where all the food comes from a 100 mile radius. Sure, there are some things we have to skip, but the food is always fresher and more flavorful if it is in season and isn't being trucked a thousand miles.
Skip one paper product-- Save paper by not having oodles of tags and cards and inserts. Most weddings don't need so many invitation inserts, Simplify and put extra information (like directions and hotel pricing) on your website. Instead of one menu per person, do a couple per table or have one large beautifully written menu displayed. If you have ceremony programs, only print one per couple. We always end up with extra programs at the end of a wedding anyway! If it is an option, choose recycled paper for your printed goods. We love Twisted Limb for fabulous recycled invitations!
And one of our favorite letterpress companies, Smock, has joined forces with the Amazon Conservation Association, to encourage couples to bypass traditional wedding favors at their receptions and go eco instead. Instead of candied almonds, personalized mix CDs or other traditional less-green “keepsakes” for your guests, why not help save the Amazon rainforests (and help slow global warming) instead? For a $5 donation per guest, you can thank your loved ones with a contribution to help protect the Amazon. Couples will receive one beautiful favor card per two guests, sustainably letterpressed on bamboo paper, to display on tables at your reception explaining how your donation has helped create a better livelihood for local communities and to help conserve the biological diversity of the Amazon basin. Smock donated the design and letterpress printing of the favor cards and will gladly personalize these favor cards for free for those couples who have chosen Smock for their letterpress wedding invitations.
These are just a few basic ideas. We'd love to hear what you're doing to make your day more eco-chic! Happy Earth Day!