If you've been dreaming about your upcoming wedding but you're worried about how to keep things eco-friendly, you're not alone. In order to pull off major events such as weddings, environmental concerns are often shelved in the pursuit of creating the perfect day, but this doesn't have to be the case for your own nuptials – far from it!
Savvy brides and grooms across the world have been finding eco-friendly solutions for their ceremonies and receptions in the most creative and unexpected of ways, so there's no reason why you can't follow them!
Here are some of our favourite ideas to go green for your big day.
Planning and invitations
One of the most taxing activities on our forests is the production of paper. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council's Sheryl Eisenberg, over 40 per cent of the world's trees are cut down to make paper each year.
To do your part, you can print your invites and save the dates on recycled paper – look for products that are post-consumer recycled in particular, as anything else may still contain virgin forest materials. If you or a friend has a steady hand, you can skip the printing process, and do your own calligraphy for a personalised, crafty touch.
Tech-savvy brides and grooms can even go completely paper-free, just make sure that all guests have ready access to emails. You could also create a specialised blog site to post wedding updates pre-ceremony and any photos or footage of the day for guests to see.
There is plenty you can do to keep your wedding's environmental footprint as minimal as possible. Plan your wedding for a season with favourable weather and host part of the day outdoors – natural light limits the the electricity bill, and makes for gorgeous photos as the sun begins to set. In the best case scenario, aim to have your wedding in a transition season such as spring or autumn, so you don't have to use excessive air conditioning or heating.
In addition, reduce the carbon emissions involved in the day's transportation by hosting the ceremony and reception in the same place. You can also try to source the catering and food locally, which not only supports businesses in the community, but also means less fuel burned to get the food to your guests' plates.
You'll want to steer clear of disposable plates, cups, napkins, the works. There are plenty of other options that are far more sustainable – and in our opinion, a lot prettier. For true eco-warriors, meat is out of the question, but there are plenty of ways to eat well and considerately with organic, local produce that is seasonal to the time of year.
In addition, hunt around for green party favour ideas. You don't have to spend a fortune here to find something that won't end up in landfill. What about a small culinary treat in a decorative jar such as jams, sweets or olives with personalised labels?
A miniature wine bottle of the vino served at the wedding day can also be a nice memento, or even some extra virgin olive oil, as per our recent Greek mythology-inspired wedding article.
What about my wedding dress?
While there is the option to wear your mother's dress, many brides will understandably want to find something more their own style. The good news is that you can always re-wear your wedding dress, you just have to be a little creative.
You can either wear a short style wedding dress again or have a long style altered after the big day. Some brave women even get theirs dyed to soften the bridal look so they can wear this special dress for years to come.