Thursday, July 31, 2014

Green Weddings 101: How to Make Your Wedding Eco-Friendly (Part 1)

Green is a popular option for wedding color motifs in the Philippines. However, green weddings or eco-friendly weddings have yet to grace the industry, but they aren’t totally unheard of. In fact, environment-friendly favors are widely used on local weddings especially due to the abundance of sustainable raw materials like abaca (Manila hemp) and recycled Kraft paper. In some instances, environment-friendliness is evident on organic catering services wherein the provider serves dishes made from locally grown ingredients.

If you are planning a full-pledged eco-friendly wedding in the Philippines, congratulations! In here, you’ll find ideas, insights and tips on how you can further please Mother Earth. Let’s start with discussing what a green wedding is. Be reminded that the discussion will be divided into three parts. 

Eco-friendly wedding defined

An eco-friendly wedding refers to any wedding wherein the couple attempts at decreasing the overall impact of the event. Sustainable alternatives from invitations down to the dresses are integrated. 

Further, these weddings are characterized by the conscious resources consumption which may span the processes of choosing sustainable wedding receptions, deliberately ignoring traditional practices that are considered unsustainable (like buying diamond rings) and recycling wastes accumulated during the event. 

Couples who are living a green lifestyle want their weddings to reflect such lifestyle and what they truly care about. For them, green wedding is not only a continuum of their eco-conscious lifestyle, but also an opportunity where they can raise awareness on the importance of sustainability in both our daily existence and during celebrations. 

Basic principles of green weddings

One of the key concepts in having a sustainable wedding is ensuring that most of the items used will not become waste quickly. This may include disposables and ornaments. 

Green weddings take ‘something old’ and ‘something borrowed’ seriously since couples usually prefer recycled or rented items to go with the wedding instead of buying them new. In this way, the amount of waste can be controlled.  

Despite the glee of the event, weddings leave behind tons of wastes that may have long-term impacts on the environment which should not be the case. Did you know an average wedding generates 400 to 600 lbs. of garbage?

Other core values are evident on planning the wedding itself. The main concern is preventing and reducing harmful environmental impacts directly or indirectly through proper choices of resources. In the US alone, the equivalent of American weddings is 8.3 million of cars driving annually, producing 63 tons of carbon dioxide in the air. 

Aside from transportation itself, transport of textiles, papers and flowers and other materials contribute to this figure. 

Reasons for choosing a green wedding

Eco-friendly weddings are beneficial environmentally, socially and economically. Below are some of the reasons why it is so. 

Environmental benefits

Every year, there are 2.3 million weddings occurring in the US (about 6,200 weddings every day). In the Philippines, there are about 600,000 weddings every year. Each of these weddings will generate tons of carbon dioxide and pounds of garbage due to bleach (dresses), chemical treatment (flowers), toxin (makeup and other skin care products), etc. Not to mention, the footprint of mining (diamond and other jewelries). 

Millions of trees are cut down to make stationeries. The processes involved in producing them also pollute the environment. So, you may use plantable papers. Yes, there are plantable papers or papers infused with seeds so they would grow as beautiful flowers or plants. The papers will be on your guests’ backyards and not on landfills. 

Imagine what good it can be if each of these couples would make just one green choice for their weddings. That’s 2.3 million green choices yearly! Now, imagine the greatness it might result to if these 2.3 million couples choose to have an eco-friendly wedding. 

Social benefits

The average wedding budget is $20,000, $1,000 of which goes to the wedding rings. Evidently, the wedding industry is a $72 billion industry. Green weddings are opportunities themselves in supporting the causes and advocacies of firms which embrace socially responsible practices. Even your guests will be educated on the importance of supporting the green economy, changing the way they think about their choices and purchases. 

Economic benefits

Going green saves any couple lots of money. Given today’s economy especially here in the Philippines, this is reason enough to put sustainability on every aspect of your wedding. Simple substitutions and decisions will do such as choosing a wedding venue closest to most of your guests so the impact of traveling will be reduced. 

Aside from all these benefits, green weddings are always unique. The weddings are a good way to show family and friends just how exciting and meaningful the eco-lifestyle can be. Oh okay, wedding planning is often an energy and time-consuming process that leaves very little room to think about environment and sustainability. However, having a green wedding doesn’t mean doing more work and spending more cash. It is the reverse actually!

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