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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Green Wedding Planning (Part II)

Here’s the second round of our green wedding planning ideas.  The more research we do, the more creative ideas we find that we hope to incorporate.  There are so many great resources out there!

ProblemThe flower industry imports many exotic flowers for special events, such as weddings.  The chemicals (fertilizers and pesticides) used to grow flower crops can be terrible for the environment, and our health.
SolutionFind a florist near your venue that can supply you with local, seasonal, and organically grown flowers for your celebration.  Using local flowers will further reduce the carbon footprint of the wedding, and again, support local businesses (we also read that the cost may be one third or one half that of flowers coming from overseas – wow!).  Only place organic flowers as decorations on your cake – you don’t want to be eating those toxic pesticides!  Another option: forego cut flowers in your centerpieces and instead provide live plants for local guests to take home and plant.

ProblemBridal gown fabrics are often made with bleach and non-organic materials, while tuxedos are cleaned with harsh, environmentally toxic chemicals by the dry-cleaning industry.
SolutionThere are many options for the stylish bride and groom who care about the planet.  For the bride, try going vintage and buy or borrow a recycled dress.  If you want a dress that’s all your own, choose an eco-friendly designer that makes dresses with natural fabrics and dyes (think cotton and hemp).  After the wedding, you can select an eco-friendly dry-cleaner to preserve your dress, or sell or donate your dress to a charity so that it gets more than one use.  For the groom, have him choose a suit or tuxedo made from natural materials, preferably one already in his closet, borrowed, or rented.  If renting, find a rental place that uses eco-friendly dry cleaning.  Another option is to ask your bridesmaids to pick out one of their favorite dresses from their existing wardrobes and see if you can pull together a fun and whimsical color palette.

ProblemYou’re probably aware of the human rights issues stemming from the diamond industry (if not, the movie Blood Diamond is an entertaining way to learn more), but the mining of our precious metals and stones contributes to a staggering amount of pollution as well.
SolutionFind a jeweler that makes wedding rings from recycled materials or give a facelift to a family heirloom.  Be sure to talk to your jeweler about conflict-free stones for your rings. (Try this or this to start)

That pesky carbon footprint
ProblemAs we wrote last time, our guest list is highly international, and therefore our carbon footprint is… not small.  Yes, we feel guilty about this, but the people we love are scattered across the globe!
SolutionSince teleportation has still not been invented, we’ll be offsetting the air travel of our guests with carbon credits.  Amy did a quick estimate of our emissions based on the number of people we *think* will join us on our special day and the cities they’ll be traveling from (used an emission calculator provided by Terrapass).  Our guests will travel thousands of miles to and from our wedding on airplanes, amounting to over 73 metric tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent).  There are other sources of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the wedding, but airplane travel is by far the largest contributor to our wedding carbon footprint, not to mention the easiest to quantify.

We still have more green wedding ideas!
What are yours?


  1. Lab-made diamonds are another possibility, especially if you're open to the idea of a colored stone (white diamonds are much harder to make than yellow or blue). I admit I have no idea what sorts of emissions are generated by the manufacturing process, but at least they're guaranteed to be conflict-free.

  2. Great point! While this is not a peer-reviewed source, Andy Martin has done a bit of homework on the topic (click on the 'Nitty Gritty' tab for more detail). Looks like lab-made stones are better than mining new stones, for ethical and environmental reasons!

    Aside: Andy also used Terrapass' carbon emissions calculator in his analysis.