Greening up your wedding is not just an idea for Earth Day, it's important for the planet. Considering most marriages are the starting point for creating a new family, whatever you do today will impact your future children’s lives tomorrow.
Whether you’re making one eco-gesture or a hundred, every little bit counts. Here are some great eco friendly wedding ideas to help make your big day as green as it is glorious.
The InvitationsSeeded Paper
For any eco-wedding, recycled paper invites is a must, but there’s one type of recycled paper that really has a greener edge: seeded papers! These contain tiny flower or herb seeds that sprout when buried in the earth. Designed in a variety of colours, sizes, fonts and styles by companies like Botanical Paperworks, paper doesn’t really get more planet-friendly than this.
And while of course sending an e-invitation to guests isn’t the most romantic of gestures, it is growing in popularity.
Sending out electronic invites is so convenient, I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do it–guests could RSVP online with a simple click. The invitation can also be customized to show pictures of the couple.
These little delights left on the tables are what guests will take home with them to remind them of your big day.
An original idea would be a succulent for each guest to take home - they make beautiful and colorful table decor! An example can be found here http://thesucculentsource.com/collections/wedding-favor-all
Another example - why not give guests a heart-shaped seeded card they can hang on a branch to feed the local birds? And guests will always remember your wedding if they plant a tree in their garden to commemorate your big day, so you could offer them small cedar or pine sapling. Another option - to take seeds packets home like the ones here at http://www.americanmeadows.com/seed-packet-personalization
And small individual pots of plantable herbs or small flowers can be enjoyed by guests year round.
This is the easy bit–there are endless options for creating a wonderful centrepieces, from using locally grown flowers in pitchers to long branches of evergreens. Guests can find their seats by searching for their names printed on seeded paper (like the above invitations), or even written on smooth, locally sourced pebbles.Try to avoid table cloths, as these need washing, and that uses energy. Instead, keep it bare with polished wood, or for an added decorative touch, use strips of eco-friendly burlap or hemp to show guests where their table is.
Of course you can have an eco-friendly wedding cake but never think that you have to compromise on style or quality just because you want to take care of the environment. There are a few tips you can follow to make sure that you get the exact cake that you want for your big day. The first tip is to go for organic ingredients. Even if you’re having your cake made for you by a bakery you can specify that you want them to use organic. Don’t be afraid to ask if they offer an organic option, many do, they just don’t advertise it. You could also consider a vegan cake without worrying about compromising the taste.
The next step is to make sure that you have chosen a local bakery that will use locally-sourced ingredients. This means that neither the ingredients nor the bakery will be creating a huge carbon footprint by bringing items halfway across the country or even from other parts of the world.
For your cake decoration you can opt for candied flowers – organic of course! – or fresh flowers. Consider edible herbs and other leaves as part of your decoration or go really offbeat and decorate it with costume jewelry that can be used again. If you do want to have flowers as a decoration then you can consider growing your own so that you know they have not added to the carbon output of your area.
For ingredients that are not grown locally you can opt for Fairtrade instead. Not all areas have farms that grow things like bananas, nuts and cocoa beans so when you need thinks like chocolate you can purchase Fairtrade so that you know that they have been grown ethically and that those working there are working in good conditions and receiving fair pay.
Don’t forget that you need to add an eco-friendly wedding cake topper too. Reusing a topper that a friend (or relative) had is one option or you can have one made from sugar. Remember that in many cases cake toppers are only used once and are often forgotten about afterwards. You can make your topper sustainable and very personal to you if you give it a little thought.
What are you going to put your cake on? You will need to have some sort of cake stand and it is a good idea to find one that has been made from recycled materials. You could also opt for a vintage cake stand or one that you know will be used again.
To make sure that you are not making a huge impact on the environment, you can also take care to have a wedding cake that is not too large. Consider the number of guests that are going to be at the wedding and the extra pieces you might want to send to those who can’t make it on the day and plan for that amount only. Three tiers may look great but you could be left with a lot of cake that isn’t needed!
Last but not least, the nature inspired wedding venue...
Nothing screams Earth Day like a beautiful outdoor wedding, but it doesn't have to be Earth Day to enjoy all the nature around you. Here in Virginia Beach, an obvious venue would be the beach itself, complete with beautiful sunsets and rolling waves. But that's certainly not the only option - no matter where you live, there are certain to be gardens, parks, mountains, lakes, forests or even caves. Imagine a beautifully lit forest under a canopy of trees? Or a beautiful sunny garden surrounded by rows of flowers? Even an old rustic barn could be a unique and beautiful wedding venue...have the wedding outside while overlooking picturesque mountains, then use the barn as your reception area. And have you ever thought of a cave wedding? Most people don't, but imagine the low lighting, candles everywhere, glowing stalactites and the silhouettes of the people who love you the most. Or perhaps you have a winery nearby - rolling vineyards with a panoramic view over a serene lake...stunning!
No matter what venue you choose, and the options are limitless, make it special, make your own, but don't forget to stop and smell the flowers...and enjoy your day to the fullest.