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Green Weddings

Green Weddings

September 8, 2007 —

No expense should be spared on your wedding day, right? It's a once in a lifetime event—hopefully—so if you can't put on a magical event for family and friends on your wedding day, then when can you?

This is the common sentiment of today's brides and grooms—according to the numbers, at least. In fact, the average cost of an American wedding is nearly $30,000—a 73 percent jump in the last 15 years—according to the Fairchild Bridal Group, the publisher of the leading bridal magazines. Multiply that times millions of weddings every year, and "tying the knot" adds up to a $125 billion-a-year industry. And a whole lot of environmental impact.

According to Climate Care, the average wedding emits 14.5 tons of carbon dioxide, compared to the 12 tons emitted by the average person during an entire year. For couples whose vows include working together for a more just and sustainable world—why is this any more corny than professing your love in public?—a greener wedding does not necessarily mean spending more money or adding extra stress to an already stressful situation.

Environmental and socially responsible alternatives can be the easiest items on the wedding planner's checklist. For starters, you can print the invitations on recycled paper and avoid "dirty gold" and conflict diamonds in rings. If you're a fan of organic food, then why not insist that the menu is loaded with pesticide-free produce and free-range meats? It's not hard to set up separate bins for cans, paper, plastic, and all those bottles of champagne. All the axioms of ethical shopping, like supporting local vendors and keeping it simple, certainly apply when you are splurging on a big event.

Fortunately, traditional wedding planners are becoming more prepared to handles these requests, and there are a growing number of planners who specialize in organic and green weddings. There are quite a few resources to help you get started, from books like Green Weddings That Don’t Cost the Earth to’s ‘green weddings’ page.

It's your big day, and it's your chance to set the direction of your life-long journey as a couple. By putting a little thought into the ethical implications of the event, the beauty of the ceremony will take on an even deeper meaning for the bride and groom, and all the guests.

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