Planning a Green Wedding
We are proud to be 100% carbon-neutral for our entire operation! To see more about our environmental policies, see our Green Weddings page.
Offsetting Your Wedding's Carbon Impact
One of the easiest ways to decrease the adverse effects of your wedding on the environment is to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to offset the electricity used and the travel emissions from your guests. If you're unfamiliar with RECs (sometimes called Green Tags), they are tradable certificates that represent electricity generated by a clean, renewable source (such as a wind farm). In order to offset your carbon impact, you would purchase RECs in the proper quantity and then "retire" them -- meaning that you agree to never actually claim the electricity they represent. This has the effect of adding clean electricity to the country's power grid and reducing the demand for energy produced by traditional sources.
Think of it like this -- suppose the demand for all the electricity for everyone in the country is an empty drinking glass, which is currently filled to the brim with energy generated from traditional sources (coal-fired, nuclear, diesel, etc.), represented by water. Now, suppose you have a bag of marbles you bought -- these are your RECs. They represent clean energy that has already been generated, and if you purchase it but don't use (retire) it then someone else is able to do so. If you want to decrease the amount of water in the glass, you have to replace it with some of your REC marbles. The more marbles you put in the glass, the more water spills out of the glass, changing the balance between traditional and renewable energy. In the real world, instead of creating an overwhelming energy surplus (spilled water), the traditional power plants just generate less electricity (and less pollution). You can find out more about RECs and carbon offsets at NativeEnergy's website by clicking here.
More Ideas for Green Weddings
There are a lot of other things you can do to make your wedding more environmentally friendly. Here a just a few:
- Host your reception at an eco-friendly site
- Hire vendors and suppliers that support sustainable practices
- Minimize the amount of driving you, your guests, and vendors need to do
- Ask your caterer to refrain from using plastic cups, and to separate and recycle waste
- Work with your caterer to use local and/or organic foods in your menu
- Ask your cake provider to use local and/or organic products to make the cake
- Give a green wedding favor -- ie. a charitable donation to a green cause
- Make charitable donations an option on your registry
- Use the I Do Foundation for you registry and donate a portion of wedding purchases to a green charity
- Don't ask for items in your registry you don't need or that are unfriendly to the environment
- Use local and/or organic flowers
- Use recycled materials for invitations, placecards, ceremony programs, etc.
- Select bridal jewelry made from recycled precious metals
- Purchase a vintage or previously worn wedding dress
- Select a wedding album made from natural materials
- Use organic soaps and recycled paper towels in the restrooms at the reception
- Use soy candles
- Take an ecotourism honeymoon (and purchase GHG offsets for your flight)
- Perform a symbolic tree planting during the ceremony
- Donate leftover food instead of throwing it away
- Use "fair trade" products if you will have a coffee station
Green Wedding Resources
There are many great resources online for ideas and tips on hosting a green wedding. Here are just a handful of them:
- Wedvert - Formerly Portovert, an online magazine-style guide to green weddings.
- Great Green Weddings - A site with advice, tips, and links to green wedding ideas and resources.
- World Wildlife Fund Green Weddings - Information on creating a registry with a portion of the proceeds going to WWF, as well as green wedding ideas.
- The Knot Green Weddings - Green wedding tips and advice from the publishers of The Knot.
- Sustainable Weddings - Website dedicated to green weddings, with lots of links to articles, books, and websites.