9/30 Five Non-Hardcore Green Wedding Tips That You Might Actually Use

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Green is definitely a big wedding thing these days.  And, while most people would love to have a green wedding, there are also a lot of things that most people aren’t going to do either. Like, you might buy vintage wedding rings or a pre-owned dress (says the wedding planner who had both), but you’re probably not going to send out plantable invitations. Which leads to another challenge: Getting your wedding guests to join in the greening too. That doesn’t always work. And a lot of green options can be expensive, too. Seeking out soy based-inks? Hemp silk bridesmaid dresses? Taking the train to Vegas for your bachelorette party rather than flying or driving? Seriously? Greening can be simple, and it can cheap, and it take very little extra effort on your part. In fact, it might save you some. Here’s what’s really worked with my brides:

It’s easier than it looks.

ThePaperThePaperThePaperTHEPAPER!!!

Gah! And it’s flying out in all directions! You’d send out e-invitations but you’re worried about your older relatives who don’t have email. Plus, the invitations are soo … pretty. Yeah, I know. 1. Sign up for a free wedding website that gives your guests the option to RSVP online. Put the wedding site address on your invitations, plus a contact phone number or email. That’s two less pieces of paper that you’ll have to buy per household, plus the cost in return envelope stamps that you can put towards the cake. Or the bar, for that matter. I know what you’re thinking: what if everyone doesn’t RSVP online? Truth? Everyone isn’t going to send an RSVP card in, either. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to track down stragglers either way, so you might as well err on the side of your bank account and the environment. 2. Seek out e-options wherever else you can. I wrote about this a while back. Make cloud computing work for you. When you get a contract, upload into Google docs or the online storage of your choice. I’ve even taken a picture of my signature and turned into a jpb so I can insert it into pdfs and docs, but not everyone is the security daredevil that I am! Weddings can be VERY paper heavy, minimize where you can. Scan and email, baby. Speaking of which, get as many of your guests’ email addresses as you can. They will come in handy, trust me! 3. Ditch the place cards, and use a seating chart on an easel, or in a frame or on a mirror or … . Etsy has a ton of choices, too. My last couple that did this had their guests sign the chart, too, and it’s hanging on their wall right now. Worried about your guests forgetting their food choices? They will. Make sure your caterer and/or venue manager has a list of guests by table and entree. ALWAYS BACK-UP. 4. What can you recycle and where? Ask your venue if they have recycling cans and if so, to use them. Have your DJ announce that guests can take the centerpieces home, or offer the leftovers to a local friend or family member that gardens. I hear roses make good mulch. If you are going to have place cards or programs, print them on recyclable paper — and then recycle them. I’ve even carted away this stuff for my brides — they conveniently pick up on Mondays in front of my house. This goes for aluminum cans, bottles, and paper goods too. Don’t head for the black trash can if you can get to the green one.

Gas emissions vs. Your Wedding

People love their cars. It’s a problem. We relish the freedom to come and go when and where we please, polluting the air, enriching the oil companies, and otherwise destroying the planet. We mean well, bless our hearts. 5. Wedding websites are a good place to encourage your guests to carpool, if they’re up for it. That gives them more time to spend with folks they haven’t seen in awhile, and saves time and gas. If you can swing it, rent a shuttle that will take your guests back and forth from the hotel, and emphasize that it can be used by guests that aren’t staying at the hotel too. This will also cut down on the drunk driving. It’s a Win-Win, and probably not as expensive you think. But really,  it’s mostly about the paper.

So, what other easy ways have you found to green up your wedding? Are you looking for more options? Let us know in the comments below!

Liz
Liz
Liz Coopersmith is the owner of Silver Charm Events, a wedding planning service in Los Angeles. She's also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and the author of "DIY Your DOC: Do-it Yourself Wedding Day Coordination." Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Kate

    It might be hardcore, but we're having compostable plates, utensils and cups at our rehearsal dinner and reception. In the end, it will be cheaper though!

  • Kate

    It might be hardcore, but we're having compostable plates, utensils and cups at our rehearsal dinner and reception. In the end, it will be cheaper though!

  • Kirsten

    British couples could get their flowers from Wiggly Wigglers – locally grown and seasonal rather than airfreighted in from Kenya. Cheaper too.

  • Annie

    Also, check out Whole Foods for good prices on flowers and usually local as well. Thanks for posting this, I love trying to green things while wedding planning… It's hard but you can change things if you think about it! We didn't send out save the dates and used e-mail/facebook/phone calls to let our guests know about our wedding website that contained lots of info about our wedding.

  • Annie

    Also, check out Whole Foods for good prices on flowers and usually local as well. Thanks for posting this, I love trying to green things while wedding planning… It's hard but you can change things if you think about it! We didn't send out save the dates and used e-mail/facebook/phone calls to let our guests know about our wedding website that contained lots of info about our wedding.

  • Yeah, we have some great organic florists in Los Angeles, too and every little bit helps. Keep the tips coming!

  • Kate

    Branch home has the cheapest prices I’ve found for compostable plates, cups and utensils: branchhome.com. They also have a great all-in-one party pack perfect for 75 guests or so at only $115 I believe.

    Sustyparty.com is based out of Brooklyn and also offers a service to pick up/drop off your used compostables after your event.

  • Liz A.

    We're actually one of the brave ones doing electronic invites. We're using glosite.com and they're awesome. We also just sent out soy-ink recycled paper postcards that I had made at greenprinteronline.com. They turned out beautifully and perfectly. We're using wine/liquor/mineral water bottles for our centerpieces that will have fresh flowers from a local flower market, but everyone can take then home and then recycle them when the flowers are dead. Our big expense is our caterer who's using dishes (trying to be green by using real dishes) and is a local, organic caterer and that to us is important.

    Basically trying to stay as local as possible and reduce any and all paper and extraneous waste as we can. And when we use paper we want it to be recyclable and or recycled. 🙂

    strawberryice01 at yahoo dot com

  • Jessica K

    We're going for plantable seed paper invitations since we're printing our own, and local/pesticide-free/in-season flowers from the market. I had a friend who tried the email RSVP suggested to little success, but I guess it's worth a shot.

  • lizcharm

    Where did you find the paper, or did you make that, too?

  • I have told people before that photography is eco-friendly by nature, given that it's a one-time cost that lasts you a very, VERY long time.

    • Marisa

      As is videography!

  • Marisa

    I'm doing the compostable utensils and plates, too! I've found several sources but not have decided which to go with yet. Amazon.com had the best deal, but http://greenpaperproducts.com/ specializes in the stuff and also has small quantity ordering options. Another good one: http://bgreentoday.com/

  • Erica

    I spent a long time collecting mismatched china and silverware on sites like Craigslist. Why purchase new things that have to be manufactured when there are things out there that can be reused and passed on!