In our current society where everyone is striving towards being greener, leaving a smaller footprint and producing less waste, over-the-top weddings don't really seem the most eco-friendly. With lots of lights, plates of food and tons of paper menus, invitations, save-the-dates, wedding cards etc... weddings can produce a lot of excess. So what are some solutions for all those brides and grooms who are consciously trying to be greener and more eco-friendly? Here are a few tips on how to make your festive day a bit greener on Earth Day.
1) Choose a Sperry Tent of course! Our sail cloth tents, hand-crafted center poles and flooring and custom lighting are all made from eco-friendly materials locally in Rochester, MA by Sperry Fabric Architecture. And did you know that our tent and awning production is mostly powered by solar panels? On an average day they make enough power to run the whole building! Sperry Fabric Architecture supports a recycling program re-purposing sail cloth and other materials into handbags, ice bags and even new sails! A pretty green operation all-around.
2) Choose local vendors for your table! Summer is the perfect time of year for eating local. With bountiful greens, grass-fed meat, blooming fruit trees and delicious locally made wine and spirits, any creative bride and groom can craft an all-localvore menu. And instead of importing roses from all over the world, select a florist who has close connections with local farmers growing native flowers and succulents for the perfect centerpiece and bouquet. Filling your eco-friendly venue with gorgeous local flowers in re-purposed vintage vases and rounding out your dinner with locally-made ice cream, makes your special day that much more unique and memorable.
3) Opt for an eco-friendly venue! Although a backyard tented wedding is ideal, sometimes a venue provides the perfect 'destination wedding' feel without the high cost (and large energy consumption) of extensive travel. Many venues are taking steps to create a smaller carbon footprint from using organic bedding, brewing locally-roasted coffee and heating and cooling rooms with more energy-efficient products.
4) Use family heirlooms as decorations. There are so many ways to tie the past to the present and the future, such as adding an escort table filled with photos of relatives' weddings or using a favorite book as a guest book for people to write their best wishes. Instead of purchasing pricey jewelry, you can wear vintage gems from your mother or the groom's mother. Making sure your special day is rich in family history and happiness will not only cut the cost and decrease the waste, but it also provides a special touch making your wedding different and unique. For ideas on how to incorporate family heirlooms throughout your wedding, take a look at this wedding at the Willowdale Estate this past summer.
5) Recycle and compost! Make sure to put recycling bins throughout your wedding for discarded wine bottles, empty beer bottles, used plastic containers, paper napkins and instead of trashing all the uneaten food, compost the waste! It's amazing to the see the amount of wasted food that is carted to a dumpster at the end of a wedding. Cut down on plastic bag usage and dump truck fuel costs by composting left over salads, cheeses and bread. And even better if you hold your wedding at a farm because you can share your leftovers with the full-time residents
6) Send wedding cards to a recycling foundation! So now you've received 200 wedding cards with best wishes written on the inside. Are you really going to keep all of those cards?? Instead of tossing them into the trash or recycling bin, you can send the fronts of the cards to the St. Jude Ranch in Nevada. St. Jude's Ranch for Children recycles your used greeting cards and creates new holiday and greeting cards for any occasion. Recycled cards are sold in packs of 10 for $10 to support their programs and services. The program is an entrepreneurial venture run entirely by teens providing them with the experience and confidence to embark into the job world successfully. "The program is beneficial to everyone – customers receive fun, "green" holiday cards they can feel good sending to their friends and loved ones, and the children at St. Jude's Ranch receive payment for their work and learn about basic job skills and the importance of recycling," says the St. Jude's Ranch web site. How is that for giving back and staying green?
7) Donate your flowers! Let's be real - you probably spent thousands of dollars on your wedding flowers. Instead of carting all those blooms back home, call in an amazing org like The Reflower Project or Bouquets of Kindness. Or you can extend your wedding day bliss and donate the flowers yourself to a local nursing home or hospital. This is a great way to share the joy and love of your wedding day with those who need a little extra sunshine in their day.
These are just a few ways to be a little more green on your wedding day. Happy Earth Day!
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