Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Going Green, Part 1

With all of the latest talk about going green, I stumbled across this article on treehugger.com. It has some really great ideas on how to go green for your wedding and even if you can’t incorporate all of these options into your planning, the smallest amount still helps save our environment!

1. Watch the numbers
No matter what other choices you make, the biggest factor in the ecological and financial impact of your wedding will be its size. The cold hard fact is that each person you invite means more miles traveled, more food consumed, a bigger venue, and more waste when it’s all over. Since this is your big day, invite as many loved ones as you want, but keep an eye on the numbers and be aware that the more the guest list grows, the harder it is to draw the line: “Well, if we’ve invited cousin Jenni then we really should invite uncle Sami…”

2. Source locally
Almost anything can be found locally, but some things are more important than others. Food and drinks are a great place to start. If there’s a good micro-brewery down the road, why use up the earth’s precious resources trucking in a keg of your favorite organic ale? For finding local food producers, check out networking sites like Local Harvest in the US, or Big Barn in the UK. And while you’re at it, take a look at our guide to the 100 mile liquid diet. Flowers are also worth sourcing locally – community gardens such as SEEDS in Durham, NC are a good place to start.

3. Source green
Everything you buy or rent for your wedding will have an environmental and social impact, so keep this notion high on the list when planning. Can you encourage caterers to use organic produce? What is your dress made of? How was the gold in the rings mined? Did those tasty little gift bags of chocolate involve slave labor? Even if you can’t establish the green credentials of every single supplier, at least by asking questions about such issues you are already making a difference. Remember though, what is green may not always be obvious—while a hemp suit may be a good eco-statement, if it is going to sit in the closet for most of your married life, you could be much better off with a traditional rental service. Similarly, party rentals for things like linens and glasses are a classic example of a product service system—something we are very keen on here at TreeHugger. They provide the perfect means for getting the most use out of minimal resources. And don’t forget your local thrift store—ball jars make excellent vases and a pre-loved wedding dress can get you a classic look at a fraction of the price.

4. Pick your venue
Choosing a location that is as close to as many of your guests as possible will reduce your wedding’s impact in a big way. But once you’ve done that, you might also want to consider what type of venue you will be using. If you are not tied to a particular church, synagogue, mosque, or rammed-earth eco-dome, why not consider supporting your local community garden, farmer, LEED certified building, or other worthwhile project? One TreeHugger and his soon to be treehugging wife will be tying the knot at Celebrity Dairy, a local low-impact dairy farm in North Carolina that, conveniently, does excellent green-minded catering. Not only will your wedding serve as a useful source of revenue for the chosen local hosts, it can also raise awareness of their work and send a strongly personal message about the issues that you and your partner care about.

5. Greening transportation
So, you’ve picked the venue, now how will you and your guests get there? Try to provide as much information on transport options as possible. Let them know that you’d really appreciate it if they arrived by train, bus, bike, or at least by carpool. You could even include a link to travel guides like Seat61 in the invitations. If you are a little ways out of town, why not provide shuttle buses—that way you don’t have to worry about drunk driving either. It may also be a good time to educate your guests about alternative fuels: “what do you mean this bus is running on used veggie oil?” And while your own transport is likely to be a small part of the overall footprint, it certainly sends a big message. Pictures of the happy couple arriving on a Christiania Bike or G-Wiz electric car will preserve the eco-propaganda value of your wedding for some time to come.

check back tomorrow for Part 2 of this series!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

a really neat place I found to buy great green wedding gifts is Fresh Heirlooms. they have candle holders, clocks, unique fruit bowls, and a bunch of home decor handmade from 100% recycled materials. i love that place!

Creative Montage said...

Thanks so much for sharing this! I'll be sure to add it to Part 3 of the series!