Greening your wedding doesn’t automatically mean emptying all the green from your pocketbook.
There are countless innovative ways you can have an eco-conscious wedding celebration — ways that go far beyond a hand-crafted wedding dress or an organic meal.
In this eco-guide, learn how we minimized consumerism and pulled off a fabulously green wedding by incorporating family heirlooms, repurposing everyday objects, growing our own organic flowers, questioning the must-haves…and much, much more.
Think ”Household” Items, not ”Wedding” Items
If you’re aiming for a green wedding, no doubt you’ve already made the mental shift away from wedding-specific products with commercial appeal. It’s important to remember that no matter how fair trade or sustainable a product might be, one-time-use items are never green. Think outside of the cliche wedding box. Instead of browsing shops for green wedding items, broaden your perspectives. Choose items you would need to purchase anyway – ones that fit your home’s style and can be used again after the wedding day is over.
We picked up some small rectangular black metal storage baskets from the clearance rack of a local store, and used them to display the programs and packets of bird seed. No one guessed their original purpose –for CDs and DVDs– and after the wedding, the baskets were put to use in our living room.
Our living room sofa is now also proudly sporting the red damask fabric –purchased from a local discounter– that was the colorful focal point of our cake display. Two large bold flocked candles that accented the gift table now brighten up our bedroom decor.
Invest Time, not Money
Not everything is about purchasing. One of our green goals, after all, was to lower spending and reduce consumerism. These astoundingly beautiful organic flower arrangements literally blossomed out of time and love, and were infinitely more stunning than vasefuls of commercial flowers pulled out of a florist’s cooler.
In the months and weeks leading up to the wedding, my fiance’s mother transformed her backyard into a glorious flower factory. She planted –from seed– rows and rows of cosmos and zinnias in our wedding colors. Similarly, every spare planter in my container garden was overflowing with the same flowers.
While the time investment was substantial –hand watering the seedlings every day under a parched California sky– the rewards were breathtaking. Clusters of these arrangements tucked into the nooks and crannies of our outdoor wedding site brought unparalleled life and vibrancy.
If you look closely at these photos, you might recognize the vases from their previous lives as glass peanut butter jars and organic juice bottles. The key to keeping such a do-it-yourself element from feeling tacky is consistency; notice that the pattern on the vases is the same as the one infused elsewhere throughout the decor, such as on the programs.
This is an excellent example of how the principle of consistency can keep do-it-yourself projects far, far removed from the dreaded tackiness that frightens many people away from taking on such projects themselves. Too many disparate elements, and you will lose the “look”. Maintaining a consistent theme between items, on the other hand, keeps the atmosphere pulled-together and sophisticated.
Stay tuned for Part Two of “Eco-Guide: How I Turned My Wedding Green”
What do roses from last Valentine’s Day, pounds of aquarium sand and an herb supplier have in common? Catch the next installment of this eco-guide to find out. Plus, slashing paper usage in your invitations and RSVPS without slashing your style. And still to come — examining what you already have before buying more.
Images used with permission of B. Sarah Klein Photography