Virginia wedding

Make Your Wedding a Green One

February is quickly drawing to a close. Punxsutawney Phil saw no shadow, so according to legend an early spring is coming for us! That means the dawning of this year’s wedding season is upon us. Now, more than ever, efforts to incorporate green-living and low footprint ways of making it through this world permeate everywhere from the loudest media to conversations held softly in tidy little cafes. People are cutting the plastic straws, bringing their own mugs to coffee shops, and skipping water bottles in favor of more renewable, ethical choices that offer less harmful solutions.

So, if you’re interested in green living, how do you incorporate this into your weddings, especially when weddings typically produce an astronomical carbon footprint? We’ve compiled a few answers to address problems, big and small, to help you minimize the impact of your big day. Keep in mind that there’s not really a perfect solution: minimizing your footprint is more about making as many conscious choices as you can, rather than making perfect choices always.

Keep It Together
The first and easiest thing you can do to lower the environmental impact of your big day is to hold your ceremony and your reception in the same place. Why? Because keeping the entirety of your guests in the same spot for the whole day cuts down immensely on the fuel emissions required to move everyone from one spot to another. If this just isn’t an option, consider providing some sort of shuttle service to limit the number of vehicles needed for transportation. That’s right—bus it, baby. A ride full of happy, celebrating wedding guests would be a blast.

Oh, and for those of you with destination weddings: be thoughtful about your choices! Instead of choosing a resort that is encroaching on wildlife habitat, maybe find a national park with a venue that can host! This way your venue fees are contributing to the maintenance of a beautiful national treasure.

Check Your Decor Choices
This is a very simple move that can hold long term impacts for the ecosystems surrounding your wedding. Avoid things that do not biodegrade. This means no balloons, no mylar, no plastic-based ribbons, no floral foam and no glitter. Yep, no glitter babes. Here in Virginia, we live at the base of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. What this means is that everything that slips into our water runoff here makes it into the Chesapeake Bay, which contributes about $33 billion into the state’s economy each year. Balloons eventually make it into waterways and fisheries, harming wildlife. Same with glitter— the stuff is impossible to clean up or contain, and it ends up as microplastics in our rivers, bay, and oceans. And the fish ingest it. If you simply must have the sparkly glitter effect somewhere, opt for biodegradable glitter instead.

What’s On the Menu
There are a few ways to address this element of reducing your wedding’s impact on the environment. The most encompassing way is to serve an entirely vegan menu. Vegan eating has been on the rise in popularity, with celebrities like Joaquin Phoenix, Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth and Natalie Portman all using their platforms to champion the lifestyle. With all of the press and an increased public desire to find more sustainable ways to feed the world, vegan recipes and foods have flown off the charts in taste, creativity and style. Even the Great British Baking Show has featured vegan episodes, so you know your cake won’t suffer for the choice. Having a vegan menu eliminates the entire carbon footprint associated with raising the animals needed to provide the meats, dairies and other animal products for the meals. This is a huge impact. And your tastebuds definitely do not have to suffer.

A vegan menu not for you? That’s okay too! Instead, make a portion of your menu vegan or vegetarian, maybe only serving a meat element for the main dish. Remember, this is about small, thoughtful choices that add up! Another big impact option is to talk to your caterer! Verify that they’re using ethically and locally-sourced ingredients wherever possible. Choosing in-season ingredients is another small choice that could make a big difference. It might even cut down on your catering costs, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

Flower Power
When it comes to your floral arrangements, go local! As with most local options, this will decrease your carbon footprint in fuel emissions from shipping alone. Another perk of working with a local florist is it tends to be easier to request specific blooms, such as locally sourced blooms. For Nature Child brownie points, you could research flowers most desirable to pollinators. That way, you’re basically paying to support a crop helpful to butterflies and bees! It’s a win-win for everyone.

This list is by no means exhaustive— wonderful people everywhere are constantly coming up with fresh, beautiful, and creative ideas to lower their eco-impact without sacrificing the beauty, taste, or romance of their big day. Hopefully, this gets you a little inspired to do some research and see what you can come up with!

The author: Leslie Crews

Leslie is a Content Development Strategist with The Blurban Planner Co., LLC. Her travel blog is dedicated to divulging the best-kept secrets of successful small-to-mid-sized businesses around the globe. When she’s not jet-setting to Paris or travel blogging in Reykjavik during layovers, she’s running in the sand with her Great Dane, Beauregard, behind her beach side bungalow on the Willoughby Spit.