Planning Your Green Wedding – Environmentally Friendly Wedding Ideas

Check out this interesting fact from the Green Bride Guide:

“There are almost 2.5 million weddings each year in the United States, with an average of 150 guests each. When you add up all of the food, flowers, favors, etc., the environmental impact is enormous. In fact, the average wedding produces 400 pounds of garbage and 63 tons of CO2!”

I want to give credit to the Green Bride Guide for all the content for this post. They came out with a brilliant little booklet called A Pocket Guide To Planning Your Green Wedding, and this is where the following 11 steps to plan your green wedding came from…I just added some visuals to their brilliant ideas.

Now let’s start planning your green wedding:

1. Invitations

  • Seed packets or plantable paper invitations allow guests to watch your love bloom come spring time.
  • Edible invitations surely won’t go to waste. Check out the Candy Wrapper Store – this site allows you to customize your own candy bar wrapper invite.
  • Use recycled or vintage materials to create a unique invitation.
  • Virtual invitations (You can still send paper invites to your guests who aren’t computer savvy.)
  • Make your own invites and print at home.

This is a little long, but a cute idea for a Save The Date invite!

2. Wedding Attire

  • Find a designer that has an Eco-Couture collection.
  • Choose a veil made from sustainable fabric.
  • Buy a previously owned gown.
  • Browse thrift stores for a vintage gown.
  • Wear shoes you already own or will use again.
  • If you are buying a new dress consider donating it, selling it, or passing it along to a family member.
  • Make your headpiece from heirloom jewelry or vintage materials.
  • For your bridal bouquet (and even bridesmaids) opt for a brooch bouquet – whether you use new brooches or heirloom pieces to create your masterpiece – you can keep this piece forever and hand it down! www.lionsgatedesigns.com

Our local feature: Brooch Bouquets by Lionsgate Designs

Marie of Lionsgate Designs takes pride in her hand-crafted brooch bouquets and bridal party accessories. She sends them all over the world for brides to enjoy. A Brooch Bouquet is the bridal bouquet that will last forever! A bride can pick from Marie’s thousands of unique brooches that come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, come to Marie with her own pieces for the bouquet or mix heirloom pieces with new items. Whether the final product is an heirloom piece or a brand new creation, the bouquet will sparkle as she carries it down the aisle and will become an heirloom piece her family can cherish forever.

3. Jewelry

  • Choose a conflict free diamond.
  • Buy gems that are sustainably mined and Fair Trade.
  • Search your families’ treasures for an heirloom diamond.
  • Go with a semi-precious stone like amethyst, turquoise, citrine or jasper.
  • Wooden rings are lovely – inlaid with recycled silver.
  • Go antiquing for old-fashioned settings.
  • Matching ring tattoos are a rising trend… (but you better be SURE he/she is THE ONE).
  • Gold, silver, or copper can be recycled or melted down to form new rings.

4. Flowers

  • Avoid conventionally-grown imported flowers; they are toxic to people and the planet.
  • Buy organic and local!
  • Mix herbs, wild grasses and succulents into your bouquet.
  • Silk flowers can be used long after your wedding or can be resold.
  • Go for a minimalist look and have bridesmaids carry a single flower.
  • Design a custom brooch bouquet for your big day, and enjoy it for years after the wedding or pass it along as an heirloom piece. (We have a studio on site!)

Our local feature: Bella Calla

Lilli of Bella Calla flowers is the perfect example of a florist who does her part to “go green” (and we’re not just talkin’ stem color). Lilli buys locally whenever possible and is a raving fan of succulents. PLUS – she has her own awesome Flower Truck and can bring her shop to YOU! Check out her WEBSITE or find her on FACEBOOK to see how she can help plan your environmentally  friendly floral spread! 

5. Ceremony & Table Decor

  • Rent organic tablecloths and linens. (At Lionsgate you get to use our linens!)
  • Choose soy, palm, or beeswax candles.
  • Light the dance floor with LED lights or rice-paper lanterns.
  • Choose a location with a lot of natural/built in beauty so you don’t have to do a lot of decorating.
  • Use local and seasonal items to decorate, such as pine cones for a winter wedding.
  • Reuse the ceremony flowers at your reception.
  • Make dessert the centerpiece by placing a mini-cake or cupcake tower on each table.
  • Have your favors double as place cards by putting your guests’ names on them.
  • Use recycled and reusable objects, such as wine corks, to hold your place cards.
  • Go thrift store shopping for vintage items to incorporate into centerpieces.

6. Favors

  • Steer clear of plastic, disposable, and ‘kitschy’ favors.
  • Edible favors hardly ever go to waste!
  • For a spring wedding, give guests personalized seed packets, a boxed bulb or a small potted plant.
  • Make a donation to your favorite charity  in honor of each guest, and let them know about it. (In the sock picture below, the tiny text says: “In addition to this favor, a donation has been made in your name to Dress For Success.”).
  • Give guests reusable bamboo thumb drives with your wedding playlist as a personal memento.
  • Share your families wealth of recipes with min-cookbooks.
  • Send guests home with homemade jam, chocolates, candies or whatever your specialty may be.

7. Food and Drink

  • Ask your caterer/cook to use local and seasonal foods.
  • Use organic and GMO-free food and humanely raised meat in your meals, and offer some vegetarian and/or vegan dishes.
  • Investigate recycling and donating options in advance, and make a plan for post-weddings clean-up.
  • Offer organic beer and/or bio-dynamic wines.
  • Have your wedding catered by your favorite restaurant. This can save you money and allows you to showcase a cuisine that is meaningful to you. Here’s a cute idea: if you had your first date at a classy establishment that you both love – have them cater! (Lionsgate Center leaves the catering choice up to you… and we have the staffing if you go with a drop-off option!)
  • Make your own beer and/or wine to serve at the reception. This also makes a great favor!

8. Dessert

  • Offer guests organic or Fair Trade teas and coffees.
  • Have an organic/vegan cake as an option.
  • Ask you bakery to use all-natural, organic, and local ingredients whenever possible.
  • Ditch that (tacky) one-time-use cake topper in favor of flowers or something that has real meaning to you both.
  • Instead of a huge cake that will get stale or be thrown away, have a few small cakes.
  • Cupcakes can be as gorgeous as cakes and are a trendy option right now because there’s less waste.
  • Cake pops are another fun option that can be made with local and/or organic ingredients.But do check with your baker, these can be a pain to make.
  • Set up a classic candy station with take-home goody bags as an activity. Even the adults will love it!
  • Dessert buffets offer guests variety and portion control.

9. Music

  • Go unplugged! Hire an acoustic band, music ensemble, or steel drum band (just make sure there’s still a mic to make announcements to larger groups).
  • If you hire a DJ, ask that they not distribute plastic disposable toys.

10. Photography/Videos

  • Avoid disposable cameras.
  • View your photographer’s proofs online, and only print your favorites! Show them off as a keepsake album made of recycled/tree-free paper and fibers.
  • Make sure your photographer will give you the rights to the digital copies of your photos (without spending an arm and a leg).
  • Use a photo-sharing website to exchange prints with wedding guests…often times you will want to look at the shots your guests captured with their smartphones or digital cameras!
  • Create digital albums and slideshows to share with your friends and family after the event.

Our local feature: All Digital Photo and Video

All Digital Photo and Video

All Digital does photography, videography and photobooths complete with props. The thing that sets these guys apart is the relationships they develop with their clients. Photography – especially wedding day photography, can be a very intimate thing. To get the right photos and feel comfortable in front of the lens your photographer needs to be a good fit for you and your honey. All Digital sits down with their clients for as long as it takes to get to know the couple so they can match them with a photographer that will bring out the best in them on their big day. In an effort to go green, All Digital is just that – all digital. They have given up plastic film and rather than print the hundreds of images they capture of an event – produce DVDs. Their staff ride-shares to events, they recycle, and they shut down all of their computers at night (the little things really do add up).

Send Off

11. Gifts and Registry

  • If you are outdoorsy types, register for adventure gear. From recycled polyester sleeping bags, to fine wooden canoes, there are green and sustainable options for almost everything these days.
  • Consider registering for a piece of art you love.
  • Experience true eco-luxury. Create a personal gift registry on the Green Bride website (www.greenbrideguide.com/registry). Shop for quality sustainable alternatives for everything from luxury organic bedding to recycled glass dishes and beyond.
  • Choose appliances with good Energy Star ratings. They use less electricity , so they’re better for the environment, and they will cost you less to run.
  • Set up a pledge page in honor of your marriage, and raise money for the cause of your choice.

Make sure to check out the Green Bride Guide site for inspiring ideas and great resources.

At the Lionsgate Center we try to do our part to reduce our carbon footprint. We recycle any recyclable materials that pass through, and by owning a lot of our own stuff we squash the need for our clients to use disposable items at their events…disposable items that may end up in landfills. With over 80 colors of table linens, a large collection of centerpiece options, plates, flatware, and glassware our clients don’t need to rent or buy any of these basics.

Have you seen what some brides and grooms bring in? And even what some venues offer? Disposable may be cheaper but it’s just not okay…

While these disposable items allllllmost pass as the real-deal, the second a guest picks up their fork to take a bite of cake, or raises their glass for a toast, your secret will be busted! Now, I know we are in the 21st century, and the “rules” of weddings have changed over the years, traditions have loosened up, and brides are thinking out of the box, BUT – using real tableware is still not something that’s up for compromise. Using disposables at a wedding is tacky, and with more and more people concerned about the environment…the very tableware your guests are using to shovel in your delicious food and drink will leave a bad taste in their mouths!

Long story short:
Find a venue that owns a lot of their own “stuff” (tables, chairs, linens, tableware, centerpieces, etc.) – this will save you the hassle of renting or even buying, and Mother Earth will smile down upon you on your wedding day and perhaps bless you with good weather!

The Lionsgate Center is a Colorado wedding venue, and although our address pinpoints us in Lafayette, we are also really a ‘Boulder wedding venue‘ and a ‘Denver wedding venue‘. Our beautiful facilities are located between Denver and Boulder, and provide beautiful garden charm in the city. For your out of town guests – we are very convenient to reach from the airport and there are excellent accommodations nearby. If you’re looking to show your out of town guests a true “Colorado experience”  great things to do, see, eat and experience lie just to the South of us in Denver and just to the North in Boulder. Let us help you plan your indoor wedding or outdoor wedding. With over 20 years in the industry we will take the stress out of your planning process and have a lot of fun along the way!

www.lionsgatecenter.com

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