How to Create a “Green” Wedding

With all of the talk today of global warming and environmental impact the question looms: “How do we create a ‘green’ wedding? How do we put together a ceremony and celebration that will linger in our memories but leave little to no impact on the environment?

The answer, whether we like it or not, is simplicity. Create a simple wedding with your own personal touch to make your wedding memorable rather than trying to out stage last year’s big wedding productions – besides for potential protection to the environment, a simple ‘green’ wedding can save you lots of money!

Now there is no way to cover every possible situation but consider these possible scenario’s as inspiration for your green wedding:

Urban Setting for Your Green Wedding:

Plan a period themed wedding from your own city’s history. For example, 19th century wedding theme. Design your dress based around the theme – not a problem, wedding dresses are special order anyway – and remember, you don’t have to choose to emulate the rich of that period, just something representative or suggestive of the period. Choose a local hall with lots of windows within walking distance of your borough or neighborhood to hold your ceremony and reception and ask your guests to walk or take public transportation to and from the celebration. Schedule the event for midday or early afternoon so you can use as much natural lighting as possible. Hire local musicians to provide background music that might have been played in that time period. Use live plants for decor instead of cut flowers. And arrive and depart from your wedding via horse drawn carriage or on foot.

Suburban Setting for Your Green Wedding:

Find a garden setting, such as your own backyard, that you and your personal community can cultivate to create a memorable setting for your wedding and a garden setting that you and your friends and neighbors can enjoy for years to come. Put your effort and resources into creating this garden oasis full of live plants and natural beauty instead of worrying about all the normal trappings of a wedding ceremony. Choose to have a tea reception with the finger food that fits whatever theme you have decided upon.

Rural Setting for Your Green Wedding:

If you live in a small town, chances are good there’s an old chapel sitting in a weed strewn field somewhere around town. These old treasures are a great opportunity for you to build your green wedding and help the community as well. The idea is to rent the use of the grounds for a daylight wedding (perhaps you want to theme your celebration around the styles of your town’s founding fathers) and either in preparation for the ceremony pull your wedding party together to landscape the grounds in advance (see above) or to simply make the planting of trees and bushes a part of your celebration. Ask your guests to bring a live plant in lieu of a gift and make planting them a part of the fun!

In such a setting an ideal way to begin the festivities is by having your groom on horseback (or at least a horse drawn carriage) lead your guests in a procession through town toward your ceremony. Afterwards, with the new plants all in the ground enjoy the warmth of a summer evening to celebrate around a bond fire with local music with your friends and family.

Notice that none of the above suggestions involved going out and renting the biggest and the best facility available. None were held in fancy hotels. Rather they were all focused on improving your own community – the part of the world you can positively impact. You can have a cake if you want, or do without it. Likewise, photography is entirely optional depending on your own convictions about the impact of the use of the computer and printer or film processing lab.

Yes, a green wedding celebration might not be as elegant or sparkling clean as the wedding celebrations we have come to be familiar with, but with a little bit of effort it can save you money and really do something to improve the life of the community you are in.

Of course, your green wedding theme should extend to your wedding favors as well. Plantable Wildflower Favors are an obvious choice. Imagine seeing patches of wild flowers all over your community as a direct result of your wedding and the favors you expressed your gratitude with. Other choices might be hand painted ceramic pots, or even “magic” beans (bean seeds that when planted will sprout with the word ‘love’ imprinted on the sprout – these are great favors for the children), or any number of soap favors might be appropriate as well.

Your options are really only limited by your imagination. Look around for ideas for ways to celebrate your new marriage. They don’t have to be traditional, but they do have to reflect you and your values. That is what you will look back on with fondness when you think about your green wedding.

Jeanette Shinn is a wedding professional with over a dozen years experience making dreams come alive. Find tips and accessories from unity candles to bath favors at

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