As someone who shops at Whole Foods, gets huffy when her fiance doesn't recycle properly, and opts for chemical-free, organic everything when possible, it just occurred to me -- three months into planning our wedding and after booking our venue -- that our wedding should be as green as possible. Call me crazy, but it kinda kills me to think of serving tons of food that will go to waste, or serving fish that was shipped from way overseas, creating a nasty carbon footprint, when there's perfectly lovely local fish nearby.
Thankfully, there are plenty of easy ways to "green up" a wedding. Here, six simple tricks that won't necessarily cost an arm and a leg -- and might even save you money!
- Donate or keep the leftovers. If you, like me, can't stand the thought of tons of lovely uneaten food getting chucked even before the DJ has packed up his gear, you can make arrangements to donate the food to a nearby shelter. Or you can ask the caterer if you can keep the leftovers. (Definitely not an option at every venue, but it might be at some.)
- Go locavore. This one's a biggie. As I mentioned, why should you have Alaskan salmon served at a Miami Beach wedding? Similarly, you might be able to get awesome beers from a local micro-brewery. And for local food producers, you can check out networking sites like Local Harvest.
- Skip the flowers from far away. Sure, exotic flora from faraway places are gorgeous, but decor grown right down the block -- perhaps at a community garden -- could be just as beautiful. What's more, choosing locally grown flowers could end up saving you over $1K!
- Do research on the little things. No need to crazy, but did you know even little chocolates that you give away in the gift bags or as favors could involve slave labor? Eek! I certainly wouldn't want that kind of cocoa anywhere near our celebration. Free-trade all the way.
- Choose eco-friendly tableware. If your venue doesn't provide the plates and glasses and you can't rent them, you could opt for "disposable" plates, which are also easily handwashed and reused and biodegradable cups (try Ellie's Eco Home Store).
- Pick a sit-down dinner menu instead of a buffet. By choosing a plated meal over a buffet, you can prevent food waste, because if the food is prepared and served based on the actual number of guests. You will also have fewer dirty dishes, which reduces the amount of hot water and detergent needed to clean them.
Did you or do you plan to do any of the above (or anything else green) for your wedding?