With the average wedding costing anything up to £25,000--far more than would be needed for a deposit on a property--and omitting an amazing 14.5 tons of CO2, it's little wonder that an increasing number of couples are looking at green wedding alternatives; not only will they be helping save the planet, they'll probably be saving money too.
But it isn't always easy to know where to start when planning a green wedding. Should you go the whole hog and have a 100% environmentally friendly wedding or should you just drop a few elements of the celebration in favour of green alternatives? The answer, of course, is that you should do whatever you feel most comfortable with.
The following are just a few ideas that can help make your special day more environmentally friendly.
Hiring your wedding dress and suit means that one of the main expenses will be drastically cut while you'll be "re-cycling". If you don't like the idea of wearing something that's already been worn, ask around as some wedding outfitters have brand new hire clothes available and while these will cost more than standard hire clothes you'll still be making a huge saving on what it would otherwise cost to buy new. If you aren't happy to part with your dress, an nice alternative is to buy a vintage dress.
Re-Cycled Invites and Similar
Invitations, table cards, order of service sheets and other printed paper are all available from most suppliers in re-cycled, unbleached card. To further save on paper, choose postcard style invitations (no envelopes). Use the invites to inform your guests that you'll be holding a green wedding and, after the ceremony, gather in your order of service sheets to be recycled.
Although this may work out more expensive than standard catering, not only is organic food is a more environmentally friendly option, it's a healthier choice too.
Flatware and Stemware
By renting glasses, dishes and cloth napkins you'll avoid having to use harmful, disposable alternatives.
To reflect that you're holding an environmentally friendly wedding, use wildflowers in your bouquet and as decoration. Some florists specialise is wild flowers so do ask around. Potted plants also make lovely, living centrepieces. After the wedding they can either be given away as gifts or used in your own home.
Rose petals have become an increasingly popular alternative to paper or foil confetti (foil is especially damaging to the environment) but there are other alternatives available to use at a green wedding. Native wild flower seeds can be used but it's important you don't buy standard birdseed as these mixes contain invasive plants that aren't native to the area and can therefore cause havoc with the eco-system.
Blowing bubbles at an environmentally friendly wedding is a fun alternative to petals. Bubble fluid can be made at home by mixing washing-up liquid or baby shampoo with water and can be stored in recycled containers. Make a few pans of bubble mixture beforehand to be certain of the correct mix and leave the liquid overnight to thicken.
Instead of giving favours you could give your guests a hand-made card decorated with pressed wild flowers. The card should read something like: "Thank you for joining us today. A donation to charity has been made in your name." Another nice idea is to wrap a bulb in a piece of muslin and tie it with jute. Add a note explaining that they should plant it in a pot or garden as a lasting reminder of your day together.
Choosing just a few environmentally friendly options is better than making no changes at all and, who knows, your green wedding may be the catalyst needed for others to make some green adjustments to their lives.