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Simple Ways to ‘Green’ Your Wedding

With St. Patrick’s Day and spring right around the corner, it’s no wonder that we’re thinking green now that it’s March. Green is also popular in weddings, whether it’s one of your colors or a representation of your commitment to the environment.

Looking for simple ways to “go green” on your wedding day? Here are a few suggestions – and the good news is, some of them might save you another kind of “green” …

Location Matters

What’s the easiest way to green your wedding location? Host your wedding and reception at the same venue. If you’re planning a church wedding but not celebrating your reception there, try to choose a reception location as close to your ceremony as possible. Shorter (or no) travel time for guests means less vehicle emissions in the air.

If being green is really important to you, ask your reception venue about its recycling and composting activities. You can also ask your caterer what happens to leftover food; some donate leftovers to shelters.

Another way to green your location? Get married outdoors during the day. You’ll need a lot less electricity for a daytime tented wedding

Multi-Purpose Decorations

Can the decorations at your ceremony be used at your reception? Can the bouquets be used to decorate at the reception? Reusing and repurposing decorations saves you money and means you won’t need to buy more throwaway decorations. You can also decorate with vintage and secondhand pieces or borrow wedding accessories from your friends or family. Don’t underestimate the environmental power of “reusing.”

Earth-Friendly Flowers

The environmental impact of cut flowers is huge – and your favorite out-of-season flower can cost you a pretty penny. Many flowers are grown with large amounts of pesticides, and they need to be transported: Sometimes across the country; sometimes across the globe.

Locally grown, in-season flowers are the best option for the environment, but if that doesn’t work with your floral dreams, try these ideas:

  • Choose in-season flowers. They’re also going to be cheaper than out-of-season blooms.
  • Buy organic flowers. They will have been grown without pesticides.
  • Go flowerless! Brooch bouquets are becoming increasingly popular, and you can easily work family heirlooms into your bouquet for a personal touch.
  • Try fake. Have you seen fake flowers lately? They’re more realistic than you remember.

You can give your floral arrangements a second life by donating them to a nursing home or hospital afterward. They’ll cheer up the residents.

Spend Local

Eliminate the travel of faraway vendors and go local! Hiring local wedding vendors not only saves travel expenses for you (and the earth), but it also supports your local economy in a big way. Plus, local vendors know your location and your area best; they can help you take advantage of the unique aspects of Southern Maryland.

You can ask your vendors what steps they’ve taken to reduce the carbon footprint of their business. Has the photographer gone all digital? Does the caterer work with local, in-season produce and meat? Does the venue recycle?

The Dress

Greening the wedding dress might be the toughest part for any bride to swallow. But the truth is, those gorgeous white gowns aren’t always environmentally friendly, and they’re often not made in the U.S., which means their carbon footprint is large.

So what’s a green bride to do?

  • Buy vintage or restyle someone else’s dress. Did Mom or Grandma save her dress? You’d be amazed how a talented seamstress can give a second life – and look! – to a vintage dress.
  • Opt for natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk.
  • Buy a dress you can wear again. Sometimes a trim, a tuck, or a dye job is all your dress needs to make it re-wearable.
  • Donate your dress after the wedding. You’ll give someone else the chance to feel like a princess on her big day.

TELL US: What steps are you taking to make your wedding day greener?