Saturday, August 2, 2014

Green Weddings 101: How to Make Your Wedding Eco-Friendly (Part 2)

In the first part, we’ve tackled what a green wedding is and what it entails. Now here’s the main question: how to plan a green wedding? There are several aspects of a wedding to look at – from the invites down to the Philippines catering provider. Nonetheless, there is a surefire way of making an aspect as green as possible. Here are the practicalities involved in planning a green dream wedding.


Invitation


Weddings cannot be completely paperless. Impossible! You will need papers for save-the-date, seating program, RSVP card, seating card, menu card, thank you card, maps, guestbook, etc. Old-style paper-making is not only an energy-intensive process, but it also produces chemical wastes.

While invitations are not the sole aspect where papers are needed, the choice of the right paper products is mostly consider for such. Some sustainable options for invitations are recycled papers, DIY invite kits and tree-free milled papers. Some use postcard-like or one-page invites with detachable response cards.

If you are going to let a local printing service provider to do your invitations, make sure that it is using chlorine-free and plantable or recycled papers, vegetable or soy-based inks and eco-friendly printers.

Some couples go the extra mile to use the Internet instead and send out electronic invites to their families and friends. There are couples who create their own wedding website and put all the information there. For instance, if you have guests traveling from other countries, you can put information about green hotels or transports in your area.  

Attire


Wedding dresses contribute greatly to waste as well. In pursuing a sustainable wedding, the couples may choose to have their dresses borrowed or rented. If they opt to buy the dresses, they make sure that the dresses are manufactured by companies that advocate green business practices. The dresses themselves must be made from organic fibers like hemp silk to ensure minimal impact during production.

Nonetheless, there are bride-to-be’s who chose to wear vintage or re-purposed gowns instead of buying a new one. Some brides alter their wedding gowns so they can be recycled into new dresses or can be worn again.

For the entourage, the dresses are usually designed so they may be re-worn in the future. One-time use is never a principle of green weddings. Actually, there are eco-couture designers who clearly understand how the environmental conscience thinks.  

Unique recycled accessories may be worn by the females.

Reception


Wedding venues set the tone of the event. Some couples choose a same-venue ceremony and reception while some choose to provide eco-friendly transportation. However, there are those who pick a local spot for a reception like an art gallery, organic farm, heritage park or botanical garden. Some choose outdoor settings to minimize the need for décors. The natural backdrops will serve as your décor minus more cash to spend on it.

Some couples even arrive either on a horse-drawn carriage or rickshaw although another popular option is a hybrid car.

Make sure that the venue has comprehensive recycling processes or facilities.

Flowers


Weddings are not complete without flowers. When picking flowers for the wedding, however, a conscious choice should be those that are grown locally, seasonally and organically without using any fertilizer, pesticide or other chemicals in nurturing them. These not only release harmful chemicals, but they may also contaminate drinking supplies and waterways.

Local flowers are commonly chosen as there is no need for long transports; the longer the transportation, the higher the amount of gas emitted to the surrounding. The couples often pick organic florist as a supplier other than growing the flowers that they intend to use on their wedding.

Some brides may collaborate with their florist to come up with simple designs that require less number of flowers or faux flowers that can be used as décors later after the wedding ceremony.

Yet another practice is deciding early on what to do with these flowers post-wedding. The couples may replant the flowers if possible or donate it to the local chapel or church for ornamenting the altars. Hospitals also accept donated flowers.

Decors


Décors are present on both the ceremonies and receptions. In reducing one-time utility, some couples choose to use the same wedding ceremony décors on their receptions. Buying more flowers than usual is thereby eliminated.

For other couples, selecting ‘pre-decorated’ venues is preferred such as forest parks and farm resorts. They also use seasonal décors such as gathering sea shells nearby to decorate the place during summertime. For all-time earth-friendly appeal, decorate the venue with twigs, berries, live plants, etc. Whatever décor you have in mind, location and season are good sources of inspiration.

There are weddings that made use of stylish glasses as centerpieces. They just stuck them with ornamental stones and few stalks of flowers. For candelabra centerpieces, choose soy-based or beeswax candles.
Have the flower girls throw organic rose petals or biodegradable confetti. Refrain from releasing butterflies. 

Gifts


An average wedding can have as many as 200 guests. Each guest spends from $20 to $100 (₱500 to ₱4,000). Soon-to-wed couples ask their guests to buy gifts for the local charity dwellers. Or, they create a registry full of earth-friendly items from gardening supplies to organic linens to organic restaurant certificates and more. You may register with stores that sell eco-friendly products.

You may ask for small contributions for a green honeymoon as well. Just be discreet because majority of us Filipinos regard asking for money as downright tacky.

Parties


Bachelorette and bachelor parties are still big these days. Keep the sustainable theme going by going local. Most couples forego the parties, but if they decide to have one, they can choose a local destination and have the caterer serve local foods and drinks.

The bachelorette party can be conducted on organic spa treatment houses. Or, they can spend the day learning how to make wedding bouquets and other arrangements or DIY aisle runner. Any low-impact activity will do such as camping. The same goes with the stag party.



That’s all for Part 2. You see you’ll never run out of choices on planning a green wedding. We’ll take a look at other equally important components of a wedding in the last part. 

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