Doing our part – however small – to save the environment is a step in the right direction. And earth-loving brides everywhere are choosing to tie the knot in a more eco-friendly way. The push for recycled, organic, do-it-yourself green wedding fetes is growing in popularity as more couples want to do their part for the environment. And for couples on a budget, an eco-friendly wedding helps you save a little cash in the process.

Many couples erroneously believe that a green wedding equates to tacky, bohemian, and an overall sacrifice of quality. If done properly, your own green wedding will be just as elegant or upscale as you want it to be, though more environmentally conscious of course. Many bakeries are now experts at whipping up organic, eco-friendly wedding cakes that are just as beautiful as their non-organic counterparts, while locally grown flowers are likely even fresher than exotic arrangements that have been flown or trucked in.

So, when it comes time to plan your big day, consider some of these eco-friendly wedding ideas to help the earth in your own way.

Invitations: Many stationary and bridal supply companies now offer green wedding invitations and save the date cards on 100% recycled paper or tree-free paper products. Some of the more gung-ho green wedding experts recommend getting rid of the paper altogether by using electronic invitation programs. This is probably not the best idea; your guests will enjoy receiving something in the mail that informs them of your wedding day. And as far as etiquette goes, electronic invitations are a little impersonal. For a dual purpose invitation that encourages your guests to put their green thumbs to work, select stationary companies sell invitations with seeds imbedded into the paper, so guests just plant your green wedding invite and wait for it to grow! Another option is to send pretty postcards (made from recycled paper of course), which will cost you a lot less in postage prices.

Green Wedding Bouquet

Green Wedding Bouquet

Flowers: Those pretty flowers you see at every wedding are, in fact, likely quite toxic. Sprayed with dozens of chemicals to prevent insects from eating their beautiful blooms, these flowers are that not great for the environment, and even the workers who handle them on a daily basis have fallen ill. And if you order birds of paradise, gardenias, or other exotic flowers that must be shipped from abroad, you’re permitting yet another truck, loaded with diesel fuel, to get on the road. Instead, choose seasonal flowers that are homegrown, thereby supporting your local farm subsidiary. Another great green wedding idea is to grow your own flowers, though you’ll have to start months in advance. If you choose this method, you can keep the flowers in the pots, leaving them just as they are – simplistic, but elegant centerpieces.

Dress: A quick search online for ‘green wedding dresses’ will turn up dozens of websites offering eco-friendly wedding gown material, and if you’re willing, you can have your green wedding dress made from hemp, cotton, or silk – organic of course – just for you. You can also re-fashion a vintage wedding dress, taking it to an alterations specialist so it fits perfectly, or purchase a simple, white cotton dress while holding your own homegrown bouquet of tulips. Some designers, such as Adele Wechsler’s Eco Couture and Tara Lynn Studios, are finally catching on and creating whole lines of eco-friendly wedding dresses with one thing in mind – helping the environment and using earth-nurturing materials.

Refreshments: The food is perhaps the easiest part, and many guests will appreciate the fresh taste of organically made dishes at your eco-friendly wedding! Many catering companies can usually comply with your request to make the food wholly organic. You can also opt to make the food for your green wedding yourself (with the help of some trusty friends who know their way around the kitchen). Organic wines and beverages are also available on the market at many stores around the country. And if you want to go all the way, you can set up tables with tablecloths made from eco-friendly material.

Reception Venue: Choose a location close to the wedding ceremony. Not only will your guests appreciate a spot that limits driving to the nether regions, but you’ll also avoid the extra pollution of 200 cars on the road for 15 to 20 minutes. One estimate puts this amount of travel at 6,014 pounds of carbon dioxide (1). To calculate the carbon footprint of your wedding for various modes of travel, try terrapass.com and plug in the required information to find out the impact your own eco-friendly wedding has on the environment. If you elect not to register for gifts, many couples decide to place a donation jar in a strategic place asking guests to contribute to an environmental charity or cause that’s close to the couple’s hearts.

Save the Earth without Sacrificing Beauty

Green Weddings Earth

Green Weddings in Pittsburgh, PA

Other options, such as candle centerpieces (which double as lighting) and weddings bands recycled from older jewelry pieces, are just a few additional ideas that add a unique twist to your eco-friendly wedding bash. From purchasing a secondhand wedding dress to using tree-free, green wedding invitations, there are limitless ways to celebrate your love the green way. And whether you choose to infuse your eco-friendly wedding day with just one or two green elements or host an entire day in honor of the earth, make sure it’s a special day between you and your loved one that you’ll remember forever.

Sources TerraPass.com

This post contributed by Cherie Johnson.