Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sustainable Weddings…A Convenient Truth

The idea of hosting a sustainable wedding has become quite the hot topic over recent months due to an increase in the concern for the effect global warming is having on our planet. The realization that a wedding, although significant and deserving, is adding to the problem because of the high consumption of goods and polluting it brings with it, couples are choosing to make their weddings more environmentally friendly by incorporating several eco-conscious elements into their wedding day.

Incorporating sustainability into one's wedding makes sense considering the amount of time we spend on the road in our cars attending to wedding details pre and post event, the travel emissions expended through guest travel and honeymoon voyages, and finally, the endless hours spent on our computers researching wedding options and printing all the necessary documents needed in carrying out a successful wedding. There are many wonderful ways to do your part in making your wedding more sustainable, here are just a few:

Vendor Selection:
A great way to help make your wedding low-carbon is reducing the gas emissions released into the environment by choosing to work with vendors that operate close to your place of residence or at the very least close to the venue at which your wedding is to take place. You will likely need to visit your vendors and venues several times leading up to the wedding and opting to work with ones close to home will limit the amount of time spent in your car driving and thus cut the amount of gas emissions being radiated into the atmosphere. Alternatively, host your ceremony and reception at the same venue to cut down on travel emissions on the wedding day.

Food & Drinks:
Hire caterers and work with venues who “operate green” by recycling and offering sustainable food options like using local and seasonal produce, chemical-free organic foods, offer fair trade, organic coffee and tea, and ones that incorporate food products like free-range chicken and sustainable seafood like wild salmon into their menu options.

Many local caterers and restaurants, like The Butler Did It Catering Co., are making efforts to reduce their environmental ‘footprint’ by initiating in-house Sustainability Programs -- visit Green Table for a complete list of these local companies. Furthermore, you can elect to offer locally harvested wine and beer – which is not difficult considering the wealth of fabulous wineries and breweries situated throughout BC.

For items like invitations, programs, place cards, seating charts, menus, and thank you cards hire stationers that work with recycled papers where at all possible and who make use of the environmentally friendly vegetable or soy based inks. These days, there is an excellent variety of stationary products that fit the recycled/eco-friendly category and they aren't all the brown and natural coloured papers we have associated with recycled papers of the past.

Contact local invitation design expert Crissy Giesbrecht of Par Avion Design to create your perfect eco-friendly invitation. Another fabulous option that will take your stationary needs to the next level is to send save-the-dates, invitations, and thank yous via e-mail “story cards” as created by local design entrepreneur Doris Blanchet of Nova Terra Studios visit – to view the fabulous selection of template and customizable designs. Be sure to mention to your guests either on the back of the invitations or programs the measures taken to help make your wedding sustainable. It’s a great opportunity to educate your family and friends!

Out of Town Guests:
Ask guests that are flying in to consider purchasing carbon offsets (a.k.a. environmental credits – visit Safe Climate for more information) for their flights to counterbalance the gas emissions being spent during their trip (David Suzuki lists companies where offsets can be purchased). If you are uncomfortable asking guests to incur these extra costs, you may wish to purchase them on those guests' behalf in lieu of favours. Recommend nearby hotels (preferably ones that offer in-house ‘green’ programs) to your out of town guests so they do not need to drive far distances to and from the venues. Encourage guests to rent hybrid or fuel efficient cars or to buddy up with other guests and carpool on the wedding day.

Flowers & Décor:

Select locally and/or organically grown flowers to make up your table arrangements and bouquets. Have potted flowers as centerpieces which can be given away to “one lucky guest” at the end of the night or transplant them into your garden to be enjoyed daily. Reclaim items that your friends may have had at their weddings like corks used as place card holders, etc. Instead of cut flowers use rocks and/or seashells and all natural beeswax candles to create that perfect centerpiece.

This is one area where every couple can make their weddings more sustainable by offering guests edible delights like organic teas or honey as their thank you gifts. How about delicious organic chocolate favours made locally – Sweet Thea offers some wonderful options. Couples can choose to purchase tree saplings that are indigenous to the BC area to give to their guests with the message to plant them somewhere special in memory of the couple's wedding day.

Without question, it is everyone’s duty to try to create a positive effect on the environment in some way and what better way to celebrate the uniting of your families by doing your part to ensure that future families have a healthy planet on which to live. Explore your options… The Internet provides a wealth of information on sustainable products, local ‘green’ businesses, and the efforts being made to lower gas emissions and neutralize the carbon dioxide being put into our atmosphere daily. Visit or The Knot for articles and additional ideas on increasing wedding sustainability. Look at it this way, since climate change is a global issue, any type of emission reduction you make today will have a positive effect on our planet as a whole tomorrow. What could be simpler and more rewarding than that?

1 comment:

Ali said...

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