Yes, Weddings Can Be Green!

There is nothing quite as special as planning your wedding. Elegant gowns, elaborate flower arrangements, limos, fancy foods and party favors are wonderful, but expensive and create a lot of waste, clearly impacting your carbon footprint.  A green wedding is just as lovely, and perhaps even more unique.  What makes a wedding green?

Choosing an outdoor venue is an obvious start.    A farm, the beach, a botanical garden or arboretum, your family’s back yard are all green options, and even greener if your wedding is during the day when you don’t need electricity.  If you prefer an indoor wedding, choose a green hotel with an environmental mission.

I know evites are super green, but I prefer traditional invitations which can also be eco-friendly.  Paper companies offer some clever, green papers beyond recycled such as paper made from made from cotton, bamboo, grass clippings, even recycled blue jeans, and they are beautiful!   Some papers even have plantable seeds imbedded in them.  Your guests will always remember your special day as they watch a plant grow from the invitation seeds.  Check out these tree free eco-invitations!

Choose locally grown, in season flowers instead of imported ones, which are usually heavily sprayed with chemicals and grown under horrible working conditions.  If there are some exotic flowers you want, make sure they are VeriFlora certified sustainably grown ones.  Potted plants or even edible arrangements make lovely and unusual centerpieces.  

Consider hiring a caterer who specializes in locally grown, seasonal foods.  Local food is fresher, has a much smaller carbon footprint and is more delicious.

Most girls dream of the perfect wedding dress.  A more eco-friendly and economical option to an expensive designer dress worn only once is a vintage or a pre-worn dress. Restructuring a family wedding dress into your style and taste is always a lovely tribute to a family heirloom and definitely a green choice. There are some socially conscious designers who use natural fabrics like silk or cotton.

Being green doesn’t necessarily mean giving anything up – it means being aware and going with a more sustainable alternative.

Information compiled from


10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by amy nachman on May 3, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    great ideas, betsy. also, don’t forget churches if you want to get married indoors!!! surely, they are green!!!


  2. Posted by helendriscoll on May 3, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Hi Betsy – yes yes! Tree free and 100% pcw papers are the third way. Emailing invites is such a false choice. Most of the paper we put out curbside is shipped to Asia. (more than 80%) Not used by mills in the US. So the mix is good. We’ve specialized in green weddings for 17 years now (yikes!!!) – and there are so many gorgeous beautiful eco things that can be done. Our 100% eco line is here:
    We use flax oil inks (better than soy) – and our presses date from 1884. All our designs are sold as DIY kits, so the cost is really reasonable. Best to you 🙂


  3. Posted by helendriscoll on May 3, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    HI Betsy – Yes yes! Also, plated meals are better than food stations (less waste). Rent over buying. Most of greening a wedding is waste management, and also choosing vendors that employ green practices. Also, it is a good way to educate vendors that may not have such good practices. Re paper: Yes yes! Use treefree paper whenever you can. We mix it with 100% post consumer paper (recycled paper is meaningless, must be post consumer). All the paper we diligently put out curbside gets shipped to Asia. Mills in the US use less than 10% of it. We have to convince mills in the US to use pcw fiber – which is not happening. A mill just closed a few months ago. Leaving just 2 in the USA.
    We’ve specialized in green weddings for 17 years now (yikes! Some of our couples will be hosting their kids’ green weddings soon….) These designs mix handmade treefree papers, letterpress printing (flax oil inks) and 100% pcw papers:
    Some are archival to 1000 years (important to use ephemera lovers)
    Thanks for spreading the word!



    • Thank you Helen for commenting. Good for you specializing in green weddings. Your invitations are beautiful – I will add a link to you site on the post. It’s nice to know you are there. I will keep you in mind when my daughters get married!



      • Posted by helendriscoll on May 3, 2012 at 11:09 pm

        Ha! thank you. Best luck with your new farm. Yum. Fresh herbs. You may convert to watercress pretty easily 🙂 A friend from the LA farmer’s markets has a large herb farm – 30 acres I think. She gives talks at the local schools. Told me she has great luck perking up developmentally challenged children (in wheelchairs) using herbs. The smell from mulling the herbs brings them alive….

      • How wonderful. I’m not surprised – food is medicine, the right food that is. Otherwise it can be poison!

  4. Great post, Betsy! I reconstructed a friend’s dress several years ago. I had forgotten about it till I read your post. We cut down the train and removed some of the 1950’s details. I used scraps from the dress and from her sisters skirts to cover a wedding journal in a patchwork pattern. It was the hit of the bridal shower and so much fun to make.

    Another idea for wedding favors: small jars of locally grown honey, small bunches of lavender, handmade beeswax candles or organic seed packets.

    What a fun topic!


    • Thanks! I’m glad you mentioned wedding favors. I left out ideas for favors because I don’t want my posts to be too long. So, thanks. Great idea about the wedding journal. You are quite clever!


      • It’s a great topic as wedding season approaches. Perhaps you could write a part two.

        One of the most interesting weddings I’ve been a part of was a Native American ceremony. They built and decorated a teepee in the back yard for the ceremony and reception. Great fun!

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