Go from a white wedding to a green one
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White may be the traditional wedding colour, but green is on everyone's minds these days.
Below are some tips on how you can walk down the aisle in style â€” without leaving a big carbon footprint.
Save the trees
"Traditionally, most people want to send out a paper invitation, but one of the options we recommend for our clients is to do it web-based," says Amalia Ward, of Talen Events. Create a website devoted to your special day where guests can respond to e-vites. Not only does this cut down on waste, it makes it easy to track RSVPs and provide your guests with updates.
Prefer paper? Opt for invitations that are handmade or made from 100 per cent recycled paper. Some companies, such as BH Consulting and Design in Pickering, Ont., even offer plantable invitations â€” seeded paper that your guests can plant, water and grow. "And there's no machinery used to make them, other than a blender," says owner Brenda Holdsworth.
A range of online vendors offer chic wedding gowns and tuxedos made from natural fabric. Rai-Lynne Broach, designer at Tennessee-based Threadhead Creations, makes her clients' dresses by hand, using natural fibres including hemp and bamboo. "Because it's natural, it's breathable and a lot more comfortable," she says.
Ward recommends a second, budget-friendly option: Go vintage. Buy from a local thrift shop, or have a family member's old wedding dress tailored for you. As for bridemaids, reconsider the need for identical, brand-new dresses. Instead, have them wear their own dresses, with matching shawls or jewelry for symmetry.
Think organic, go local
Flowers, an essential element of any wedding, are another area in which you can get eco-friendly. Ward encourages couples to seek out fair-trade and organic florists. Use locally-grown flowers rather than out-of-season blooms, which may have been flown in from other areas of the world and grown with dangerous pesticides.
Similarly, choose an organic or local caterer. Edible placecards are another creative way to go organic and save paper. The Sweet Impressions bakery in Winnipeg offers custom-made cookies, inscribed with each guest's name, which couples can request as a Green Menu item. Besides organic and vegan options, placecard cookies are wrapped with 100 per cent biodegradable cellophane and cotton ribbon.
One of Ward's eco-conscious clients chose a venue within walking distance of guest accommodations, cutting down on excess transportation and air pollution. If that isn't possible, consider holding the ceremony and reception in the same location. Outdoor weddings are a great way to conserve electricity, and couples can use organic soy candles at night to create a romantic mood.