A Trend That’s Taking Root

By Kate Harrison, Green Bride Guide

Did you know that the average wedding produces 400 pounds of garbage and 63 tons of carbon dioxide? With 2.2 million weddings a year, the impact of weddings on the earth is undeniably significant.

Today’s generation is increasingly aware of its impact on the environment. Fewer people are interested in throwing elaborate events at the earth’s expense. The rapidly growing green wedding industry is showing today’s couples that they can have a wedding that represents who they are and what they believe in without sacrificing style or budget. Hosting a green wedding not only allows couples to conserve resources and support sustainable businesses, it’s also a way to infuse one of the most important days of a couple’s life with meaning and purpose beyond their union.

Whether your client wants to include just a few green elements in the wedding décor or make a statement with a carbon-neutral wedding featuring local organic food and a peace silk dress, you can find everything you need to pull it off with panache. There are more and more eco-friendly options available each day for eco-conscious couples that wish to make their wedding more sustainable.

Planning a green wedding
At its core, planning a green wedding is about conserving resources. Being green means thinking about the impact of each detail, each choice, on the planet and substituting reusable and sustainable products for disposable items when practical. This does not mean that green weddings have to cost more. In fact, many eco-friendly choices can save your clients money. For example, buying local, organic, and seasonally appropriate blooms instead of imported roses means fewer chemicals in the water, is a better choice for worker health, and decreases the carbon footprint of an event. It can also save your client more than $1,000. Similarly, using a wedding website to post directions, hotel information, and activities reduces paper waste and cuts the cost of printing. The bottom line is that no matter what the style or budget, there are easy ways you can decrease the impact of an event on the planet.

A tiny drop to a flood of green
Whether your clients are planning to have an intimate affair or a gala event, you can incorporate eco-friendly details.  Simple green choices include selecting eco-friendly invitations, using local flowers, and booking a venue that can host both the wedding and the reception to eliminate the need for transportation between the events. A more elaborate green wedding might also include eco-conscious clothing, an organic menu, and even a green honeymoon. An important role for wedding planners in any green event, is ensuring that everything that can be reused, recycled, and donated is set aside and handled appropriately.

The latest and greatest in green
The hottest trend in green weddings is including do-it-yourself (DIY) elements. Many brides and grooms have realized that creating their own wedding décor, jewelry, gifts, and even homemade desserts cuts down on costs and is a great way to avoid buying mass-produced products that leave a substantial carbon footprint.

Another eco-chic trend that saves on waste is having gourmet cupcakes, baked with organic ingredients, for dessert instead of cake. Guests are more likely to finish a cupcake, and the leftovers can easily be brought home to enjoy later. Candy stations with delicious sugary treats are also very popular. You can buy candy in bulk, place them in reusable glass jars, and give guests recycled paper bags or boxes to fill up and take home.

Wedding co-ops are another popular way to have an impact. In a wedding co-op, brides pool their resources to buy generic items that can be reused—such as glasses, vases, folding chairs, tablecloths, and napkins. Couples can create a co-op with their friends or join a community online. When the last wedding is over, the co-op resells the items and splits the money evenly. As a wedding professional, you can offer rentals of generic items that can serve the same purpose and provide you with additional income. You can also suggest couples buy generic items used on eBay or Craigslist and resell them after the event. Any form of recycling makes a difference.

When it comes to gifts, charity registries are a popular alternative for couples that do not want another stand-up mixer or wok for the kitchen. Instead, they ask guests to donate money to a charity close to their hearts. This is a simple way for couples to use their weddings to give back. However, because many guests want to buy something tangible, it is important to encourage your clients to create at least one gift registry to ensure they get things they will really use. Resources like Green Bride Guide’s affiliate program makes promoting eco-friendly alternatives for everything from pans to bedding to your clients a win-win-win.

Get certified and go green
There are many great resources for planning a green wedding available online. Wedding planners interested in becoming certified Green Wedding Professionals should visit www.greenbrideguide.com/classes.

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