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Guide to a Growing Trend: The Green or Ecological Wedding
Does it seem like the phrases "ecology" and "wedding" could hardly have less in common?
With the average wedding costing well over 15 thousand today, one would think so. And yet, the "green" or ecologically-friendly wedding is gaining momentum across the nation.
Lower impact and a smaller environmental footprint doesn't mean austere. The green wedding can be hauntingly romantic, with its outdoor setting, its focus on living plants, and its more casual gown (often made of hemp) that brings to mind fairies from ages past.
Even the ecology bride herself forms a contrast with more conventional weddings. Even on her big day, her fresh face couldn't be farther from the heavily made-up cover girls of bridal magazines.
When it comes to more functional aspects, the green wedding has three main goals:
1) Do No Harm
The green bride tries to avoid products or activities that could compromise the environment. For this reason, butterfly releases are rare (vendors aren't always careful to ship butterflies only to appropriate, native environments). Similarly, she steers clear of beeswax candles, styrofoam or soft plastics at the reception, and subtitutes reuseable glass and porcelain. (Brides are often surprised to discover the caterer may not charge much more for this service.)
Many green bridal couples are vegetarian or vegan. In metropolitan or college-town communities, this provides a great excuse to serve dazzling ethnic foods at a reasonable cost.
Many environmentalists respect hemp because unlike cotton, it can be grown without pesticides and returns most of its nutrients to the soil. When the green bride buys a new gown for her ceremony, she often looks to fabrics made of hemp. Surprisingly flexible, hemp can go upmarket ("hemp satin") or relaxed (cottony separates that can be worn after the wedding).
2) Patronize Earth-Friendly Vendors
Flower petals in paper cones are environmentally friendlier than bubble solution in plastic containers, and require minimal clean-up. The trick is finding petal suppliers that don't use pesticides. These growers are more popular in the U.K. than the U.S.
Green brides might also distribute harm-free favors, such as sachets made of pesticide-free herbs, live flowers, tree seedlings, or small packets of organic tea. In fact, some brides register at charitable organizations instead of department stores, and contribute to environmentally-active organizations instead of handing out favors.
3) Reuse, Recycle
Even the most traditional wedding brings opportunities for reuse/recycling. For example, leftovers from the reception can be delivered to food banks, and flowers dropped off at hospitals or rest homes. The green bride often takes this a step further and chooses recycled paper for invitations and Save-the-Date cards, for example. She might also re-use a wedding gown (her mother's ideally, or failing that, one from a thrift or vintage store). Otherwise, she might opt for a new gown that isn't too formal so she can wear it after the ceremony. Separates are perfect -- a lovely lace top goes great with her favorite pair of jeans!
Just as at the grocery store, eco-friendly doesn't necessarily mean cheaper. Ecology brides are sometimes surprised to discover their weddings cost 10K, 20K and up, just like those of their more traditional sisters.
Still, when she looks back on a wedding that opted for more "nature," less formality, and less conspicuous consumption, the green bride might find it was time well spent - and maybe even hope that a guest or two was inspired to follow in her footsteps.
About The Author
Blake Kritzberg is the proprietor of: http://www.favorideas.com. Visit the site for easy, elegant, unusual, and affordable wedding favor ideas, wedding favor FAQ, and free wedding screensaver.
Learn more about "green weddings" now at:
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