Photo by Meg Smith/BRIDES
Hemp dresses and tasteless tofu cakes were yesterday's attempts at putting an eco spin on weddings. Today, you can get married in an enviro-friendly way with elegance and sophistication.
Exchange rings made of recycled metals, or hunt for heirloom jewelry, says Danielle Venokur Greenberg of dvGreen, a sustainable event-design firm.
Guest gifts and their packaging are often destined to live forever in a landfill. Give a favor that gives back to the earth, like burlap-wrapped saplings tied with twine.
Avoid costly and less-than-eco-friendly cut flowers; instead, display potted plants or blooms, and encourage guests to take them home to replant. Or think out of the garden and arrange seashells, recycled-paper flowers, or bowls of seasonal fruit.
Hop on a bicycle built for two. Want a ride with a motor? Avoid gas-guzzling stretch limos and make way for fuel-efficient hybrids like Priuses, says green-lifestyle expert Danny Seo. And rent a bus to get guests to and fro, so no one has to drive a car.
Save trees by sending invites printed on recycled paper or sustainable materials, like bamboo. Other easy ways to cut down on paper: Skip inner envelopes, and use postcard RSVPs.
Organic cotton is the go-to fabric for green brides' wedding dresses, but forget the hippie look—today's designs are stylish and formal. Try annatarian.com. Or rework your mom's dress into a current style.
Choose a site that's already decorated (a restaurant, a mansion)—the less you need to spruce up the place, the less you'll need to throw out once the party's over. Or incorporate natural materials like rocks and moss, or recycled goods, into your look.
Seek out locally grown produce as a way of supporting nearby farmers. And talk to your caterer about arranging for leftovers to be donated rather than thrown out.
Marry locally rather than far away, since all that fuel-intensive air travel for you and your guests creates a big ol' carbon footprint. Your heart is set on destination I do's? Make the wedding tiny, and save the big party for your return home.
—Lauren A. Greene, BRIDES magazine