Bride and groom

Green up your wedding

Whenever you throw a party, it’s hard not to notice the aftermath’s waste. Paper plates, plastic cups, glass bottles and used napkins all make their way into a heaping pile of trash. Your wedding is supposed to be the party of a lifetime. Wouldn’t it be nice to make your way into marital bliss without the guilt of environmental damage?

These eco-friendly wedding ideas can help you cut waste and lower your carbon footprint as you take the walk from boyfriend and girlfriend to man and wife.

Seasonal pies

A seasonal spread

When you want a fruit or vegetable for your celebration that's out of season, odds are it will be grown in one part of the country and carted to another in a fossil-fuel burning truck. Limiting your reception's spread to fresh, seasonal and local ingredients will help reduce your carbon footprint, support the local economy, keep within your seasonal wedding theme and provide insanely fresh produce. Really, it's a win-win! But your meal doesn't have to consist of a raw veggie feast. The produce can be turned into tempting recipes and delicious local pies, as exhibited by Atlanta, Georgia's Avalon Catering above.

Local wine

Local spirits

Even beer and wine can be found locally. Look to the brewery or winery down the street to provide spirits. Often your neighborhood supplier will be willing to negotiate prices, where national brands typically have one fixed price for your booze needs. Be on the prowl for alcohol made with organic ingredients to reduce environmental impact as much as possible. If you want to go extra-local — literally in your own backyard — you can homebrew your own beer and wine in the months leading up to the wedding using fresh, local ingredients and organic supplies from your local homebrew shop.

Borrowed wedding dress

Something borrowed

Odds are you'll rent everything from tables to silverware, so why not rent your dress? Dress rental and retail services like Rent the Runway and PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com allow other brides to vet a dress before you take the walk down the aisle for shape, fit and quality. The same dress gets to be worn more than once, giving it a unique story for each new blushing bride. No extra materials are needed to create a new dress for dozens of brides, and renting and buying pre-owned garments can be extremely cost effective! Plus, since rentals are temporary, it can count as your "something borrowed!"

Green decor

Reusable décor

Take a trip down any thrift store aisle and you'll see dozens of wedding décor items that the bride and groom had no reason to hang on to. And if there are so many wedding accessories in thrift stores, just think of what the landfill looks like! When shopping for wedding décor, think about how it would fit in your home. Will that photo frame on the buffet table make a great fit on your bedroom vanity? Would that flower vase bring together the colors in your kitchen? Having some forethought about what you're buying will greatly reduce your waste in the future.

More ways to go green

Tips to finally organize your recycling
Take the paper towel-free challenge
Slowly going green: Stop wasting water

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