It’s A Nice Day For A Green Wedding: Advice for the Socially Conscious Bride
Save the Date…and the Planet!
Start with the invitations. Nowadays, there is a wide variety of recycled and tree-free paper, including handmade, colorful and artistic materials. Ask your stationer if they can print your invite using soy-based inks, which put less pollution into the waterways. By using reply postcards and nixing the inner envelope and tissue, you’ll use less paper altogether while saving on cost.
You don’t have to sacrifice glamour to both look good and do good! Erase the picture in your mind of a “Bride in Birkenstocks” with a wreath of dried flowers on her head. The modern bride wears her “green” with panache. Most designer gowns are already made of a natural fiber—silk! Other green—er, white—options are hemp/silk blends and organic cotton, which go well with Victorian, Renaissance, or garden weddings.
When shopping for your wedding dress, keep in mind the popular green adage “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.” Rent your formal wear instead of buying, and you’ll save money and conserve resources at the same time. A simple and heartwarming way to “re-use” a dress is to tailor a hand-me-down to your modern sensibilities. Vintage is still hot, and bridal boutiques like “Paris 1900” in Santa Monica specialize in gowns and accessories delicately preserved from bygone eras. What better accompaniment to a vintage ensemble than estate jewelry? Often more interesting and less expensive than its modern counterparts, estate jewelry avoids the politically charged stigma sometimes associated with the mining of precious gems. If you inherited an engagement ring, it can be reset to suit your taste. (Or follow the newest trend in jewelry—cultured diamonds. They’re socially acceptable and absolutely flawless!
You probably never thought of your wedding gown as “recyclable,” but charitable organizations like Brides Against Breast Cancer sell quality secondhand gowns or new dresses donated by designers. Give them your own gown after the wedding (who really ever wears it again?) and you’ll help raise money for a worthy cause. If you simply cannot bear to part with your dress, then use an enviro-safe dry cleaner.
Gifts That Keep On Giving
Another way to express your concern for the world around you is to choose an eco-aware gift registry. GreenFeet.com and Gaiam.com, to name a couple, offer green housewares, such as organic cotton bedding and barware made from recycled glass. Already have all the towels and toasters you need? Then ask your guests to contribute to your favorite cause. Attractive gift cards are available from charities like TreePeople and Heifer.org, which helps others help themselves by purchasing farm animals for needy families.
For wedding party gifts, order cuff links or jewelry from one of the many online sites that donate their proceeds is a good place to start. You might even “select a cause appropriate for each recipient”:http://www.gearthatgives.com/. Does your maid of honor love elephants? Then a contribution to the World Wildlife Fund is just the ticket. Be sure to include a card that lets each recipient know you were thinking of them in this special way.
Why not forgo the candied almond wedding favors and give your guests something that will last: packets of wildflower seeds imprinted with your names and wedding date, or adorable miniature plantings, available from TreeInABox.com, also with personalization. Another option is to make a small charitable donation on behalf of each guest, perhaps printed on their place cards. The gesture is much more meaningful than chocolate kisses will ever be!