There are lots of ways to create an eco-friendly wedding—choose your dress, rings, and favors correctly, and you could drastically decrease the carbon footprint of your wedding. But if you want that sustainably minded lifestyle to last long after you say "I do" you should consider creating an eco-friendly wedding registry too.
The pros are clear: You'll make it easier for you and your future spouse to live sustainably (because these registry items will furnish your new life together); the guests who buy you wedding presents could be inspired by your environmentally-conscious approach; and you'll be helping the environment.
"With sustainability and environmental awareness at an all-time high, more and more people—and engaged couples—want to do their part to help save the planet," says Lizzy Ellingson, cofounder and chief creative officer at Blueprint Registry. "A wedding registry is a great way to get friends and family involved in the movement, and help you decrease your carbon footprint in one fell swoop."
If you're already someone who lives this way, chances are you're not in the market for glass jars for bulk food shopping or an indoor composting kit, but you can still find ways to be eco-friendly in your gift requests. With a recent increase in cash registries, it's easy and more common than ever for couples to ask for money toward their honeymoon. Find a resort that is openly committed to sustainability and register for the equivalent of a horseback ride or kayaking trip while you're there.
For couples who are new to everyday practices of sustainability, this list will round out your registry with environmentally friendly gifts that you'll actually use.
For the Kitchen
If you want to sip your favorite drinks without the guilt—or host an epic cocktail party without waste—register for a few packs of stainless steel straws. Tea lovers who want to cut down on paper waste (tea bags and tags) should register for a tea bag–shaped tea infuser.
Don't want to use paper cupcake liners but not interested in cleaning up crumb-filled muffin tins? Try silicone baking cups that you can use over and over again. Unpaper towels are plain and durable enough to clean up after all your baking projects, but can be thrown into the washer and reused countless times.
Want some greenery on your windowsill—and in your food as well? Grow your own basil, parsley, or thyme with steel herb pots that will be a beautiful addition to your counter. Like gardening, composting might sound like an outdoor activity, but with an easy-to-clean compost bin that blends seamlessly with your kitchen's aesthetic, you can dispose of all your biodegradable waste from the comfort of your home.
For the Bedroom
How will you sleep at night knowing that there are so many things humans can do to decrease their carbon footprint? Hopefully on an eco-friendly bed with a sustainably-sourced wood frame. Make that bed with cozy, eco-friendly bedding made of bamboo fibers, which make it breathable and hypoallergenic.
If you've been thinking about adding some color to your room, select a non-toxic, zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint. It'll be better for your home and for the environment.
Area rugs can also add pops of color and personality to your space. This is another opportunity to choose with the environment in mind. You can find stunning organic area rugs made out of materials like sisal and hemp.
To keep your room fresh, don't reach for the aerosol can first. Instead, try out an essential oil diffuser. These natural scents rely on water vapor instead of aerosol to spread fresh, natural scents around the space.
For the Rest of Your Life
Cutting energy use is one major way we can all cut down on our carbon footprint—even those of us who have explored alternate energy sources, like tax break–earning solar panels on your roof. But another great way to lessen our strain on the environment is to cut down on our use of major appliances, and we can start in the laundry room. Register for a drying rack with enough space to air-dry your and your spouse's delicates instead of setting them to spin for hours on cool.
We're big fans of consuming more water—it's good for your skin, your hair, and your overall well-being. That said, going through paper cups or plastic bottles in droves isn't good for the environment. Instead, carry a stylish water bottle with you. You'll be taking care of yourself and the Earth at the same time.
Since we're already on the topic of wellness, have you ever considered ditching the traditional commute and riding a bike to work? Of course, this isn't ideal for many people, but if you're close enough to the office and you've been looking for a new form of exercise, register for a bike. Fit and sustainable.
Your bike will need a home too. Instead of a hunk of metal that will take up extra space and end up in the junkyard when you move, try a minimalist look: This wood bike storage is compact and effective.
There are countless items that have come on the market in recent years to help us become more responsible with our treatment of the environment. Filling out an eco-friendly wedding registry will help you start your marriage on the right foot—at least in terms of sustainability.