There are hundreds of ways to plan a green wedding that minimizes waste, reduces the typical carbon footprint of a wedding and recycles food, clothing and decorations. The trick is finding a caterer, venue and event planner that has experience and expertise in the area of sustainability and eco-issues.
Choose one location to hold both the ceremony and the reception, reducing the amount of travel for the bridal party and guests. If that isn’t possible, provide a shuttle service and eliminate the number of vehicles on the road between venues. Select a venue centrally located for your guests. All of these ideas will reduce emissions created by your special day.
Furthermore, reserve rooms at eco-friendly hotels for guests. Basic practices to look for include a linen reuse program, low-flow faucets, LED lights, guestroom recycling and use of recycled paper products, according to Global Stewards.
Save-the-dates, invitations, response cards, maps and thank-you notes can use quite a stash of paper. More and more couples are reducing the amount of paper by sending one paper correspondence and then referring guest to a website or event page for more details. Some choose to go entirely paperless. There are a lot of sophisticated e-vite sites that deliver beautiful electronic correspondence and manage responses and thank yous as well.
One of our floral partners, Erin Hornstein of Plum Sage Flowers in Denver, said most people think flowers are “green” no matter what. In reality, most flowers are grown in a tropical location, trucked to an airport, flown to the U.S., trucked to a wholesaler and trucked again to a local flower shop. That creates a huge carbon footprint. Plum Sage focuses on using locally grown flowers as much as possible. In addition, replant trees and plants for long-term use.
A tip a lot of brides don’t think about is asking the florist to use recycled vases and pots. Erin said most florists have these on hand for use and it can save money and reduce waste. Green weddings should use flowers that haven’t been sprayed with pesticides and fungicides.
Select a caterer that is willing to use local ingredients as much as possible, to reduce the number of emissions created by shipping foods. Serendipity, for example, works with several local farms for vegetables and meat. Green weddings can make it easier for the caterer to choose locally by selecting in-season menu items.
Going beyond ingredients, as if the caterer composts food waste and recycles as much as possible. If they don’t, they may not be as “green” as you hoped. Brides can also ask the caterer to provide recycling and composting at the reception.
Green Wedding Resources
These are just a few of the areas where brides can make green decisions. For more ideas, check out a few of these resources.
Serendipity is Denver’s only caterer that has received the Certifiably Green Denver certification. Call a Serendipity event coordinator to help you plan the beautiful, green wedding of your dreams.