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All of us have dreamt of our wedding with the perfect partner at least once in our lifetimes. Nevertheless, when the time of tying the knot comes in our life, we want everything to be perfect. In every culture, marriage is an extremely important social ritual. Thus, you’ll find weddings to be a special event with a lot of extravaganza-laden rituals in almost every society. On an individual level, a wedding is of course a very special event as it comes only once in one’s life. Thus, you want it to be as special as possible, from the perfect color palette to the choice of music and everything between. That’s exactly why the wedding industry is as big as it is today. People spend a lot on their weddings just so that they can be as special as possible. Everyone is out there trying to construct their dream weddings from scratch. And this is true for every culture. And there is nothing wrong there.
However, think of all the food that is thrown away, the flowers that are left to wilt and perish, and the paper and plastic things that are thrown away to decompose indefinitely. Is all of this wastefulness necessary for the social declaration of two consenting people in love? Quite a few ecological experts are now asking people to modify their lifestyles, especially those in developed countries so that we can sustain the use of resources without damaging the environment beyond the point of no return and running out of our stockpiles.
Although, one challenge to this effort by climate activists is the individualistic mindset that has dominated the western world since time immemorial. The question simply asked is – “Why should I sacrifice my big day?” Nope. We're not advising you to disregard your wedding planner and put your plans in a box with a heavy heart. There are so many sustainable solutions available nowadays that changing one's lifestyle is relatively simple. The concept of making more prudent decisions without sacrificing your "dream wedding.” However, wedding planners are now stepping up their game by giving out attractive deals to people who opt for sustainable weddings. They are also making sure that the razzle-dazzle of the wedding is not toned down due to its sustainable nature. Before we get into various ideas for sustainable weddings, let’s see what sustainability means in the context of our society.
Sustainability and Society
Environmental sustainability refers to conserving natural resources along with their ecosystems so that they can be used sustainably at the present as well as in the future. This term has to do with planning the future. The impact of human activity on the environment isn’t easily perceivable. The relationship between our actions and the state of our environment is quite complex that involves delayed reactions and indirect effects. In simple words, what we do today impacts nature, but the effects of the impact become visible later. Moreover, the effects of our actions are quite complex and aren’t easily traceable. For instance, during the Green Revolution in the USA, the use of DDT almost drove the Bald Eagles to the brink of extinction. The relationship between these two events was not exactly clear, but was brought to the public eye by Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring.”
Even today, when scientists are warning us again and again of crossing the threshold from where there’s no way back to normalcy, our corporations, governments, and groups are hell-bent on clinging to lifestyles that will leave the future barren for our children. Most scientists think that a lot of coastal cities will be underwater by 2050 due to the melting ice caps. The only way to stop that from happening is to bring stellar changes in our lifestyles, hold our governments and the big corporations responsible for their environmentally-harmful behavior. In this article, we will elaborate on sustainable solutions that you can incorporate into your wedding day. It’s a noble thing to sacrifice some of the traditional elements in your wedding such as fireworks and whatnot to ensure that the event is eco-friendly.
Sustainable Solutions For Your Wedding Day
If one chooses to, there are hundreds of sustainable solutions out there for a couple to pick from, whether it is in the wedding menu, sourcing the wedding decor, or the dress. Here are some ideas, tips, and examples that will help you have a green wedding without having to compromise on the fun.
A sustainable proposal: Let’s start with the beginning of one’s wedding journey. It all starts with the proposal. So, if you’re looking to propose to your partner, it’s better if you go with sustainable diamond rings, estate jewelry, or a family heirloom. Buying a whole new ring does increase your carbon footprint quite significantly. For those who are wondering what carbon footprint is, it’s just the total number of greenhouse gases produced by an individual or a group. You can also melt the gold, refine it, and fit a pre-existing diamond into it. A retro ring looks amazing and it’s even more touching than a new store-bought ring. If you have a family heirloom, it’s even better as it carries the memories of your ancestors and has a traditional vibe to it.
The invitations: You can also make use of eco-friendly invitations for your wedding. Many vendors are now making use of recycled paper or materials like leather, wood, and upcycled fabrics. Ensure that you go with these vendors when purchasing invitations. What’s more, is that many vendors also give back to the environment for every order that they receive. Paper Culture, for instance, plants a tree for every order that they receive. Alternatively, you can also go for e-invites which contribute absolutely nothing to your carbon footprint. Moreover, with everything switching to digital due to the pandemic, it also makes sense that your invitations switch to e-invitations.
Charity or eco-friendly registry: Social justice and pro-environmentalism are interlinked and overlap quite often. To help a social issue cause or an ecological cause, you can set up a charity registry. That way, you along with your guests can help increase the funds for a particular charity or a cause. Thus, your wedding will not only be memorable for you and your guests but for everyone who gets the benefits of your registry. With registries such as these, your wedding can transcend its limit and truly mean something larger than itself.
An eco-friendly venue: This is perhaps the most important aspect that will help determine whether your wedding is truly eco-friendly or not. Venues make a lot of difference to your budget as well as your carbon footprint. Whenever you’re checking out a potential venue, make sure that you check its energy rating and whether it follows sustainable practices or not. You can tell a lot by just seeing what kind of energy resources it uses. There are also certifications such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and many more. Such certifications can help you ascertain whether a venue will help bring down your carbon footprint or not. Moreover, these days, it’s quite easy to find such venues as people are becoming more and more environmentally conscious.
The flowers: Flowers are an essential part of a wedding. However, freshly cut flowers are not eco-friendly. It doesn’t make sense to cut flowers just for decorative purposes when there are so many artificial options available that don’t involve destroying plants. Alternatively, if you’re bent on getting real flowers, you can opt for potted flowers and plants or locally sourced seasonal flowers. That way, your wedding will have greenery while itself being green in the abstract.
Say no to wasting food: This is one of the most common issues that arise during weddings all over the world. As most weddings tend to have a buffet system, a lot of food gets wasted. And the bigger the wedding, the more will be wasted. One way to counter this is to partner with a charity that helps deliver all the leftover food to the poor. There are a lot of charities that operate in this mode in almost every country. This is because weddings in almost every country end up wasting a lot of food. Another way to ensure that there is no wastage of food is to go a la carte. That way, your guests will only order what they want to eat, and they’ll also be able to enjoy a proper restaurant experience. It might also go a bit easy on your budget.
Sustainable food: While curating local, sustainable, and seasonal cuisine may seem obvious, there are numerous extra steps you can take to guarantee that you are not only providing sustainable food options, but also sustainable waste management. Consult with caterers and farmers about the available choices for obtaining local food with a lower carbon footprint. While becoming plant-based with your diet is a valid alternative, food is a personal choice, so do what you want. To reduce food waste, go for plated dinners, and if you're having a buffet, speak with your caterer about keeping the leftovers. Look into donating any extra food to a local homeless shelter or a food bank.
Renting is the new cool: Traditionally, renting is seen as something undesirable. It is seen as something that people who cannot afford stuff do. However, now that people are becoming more and more open-minded, they can perceive the huge benefits of renting instead of buying. In essence, you can have a blast at a wedding without actually spending a lot. Rent a limo along with a Gucci suit without having it dent your budget. Another upside of renting is that you will be able to greatly reduce your carbon footprint. When it comes to wedding dresses, they can be very expensive and, likely, you’ll only wear them once. So, it doesn’t make sense to spend thousands of dollars to buy one. Instead, you can just rent one for a couple of days. Moreover, by renting one, you will be able to go for a brand that you normally won’t be able to afford. Alternatively, if you plan on buying one, you can go for a second-hand wedding dress that has only been worn once or twice. Numerous sites help brides sell their wedding dresses and bride-to-be buy them.
A local wedding has its perks: If possible, opt for a local wedding. That way, you will end up using a lot less fuel. Moreover, your guests, a lot of whom will logically be from your city, will also end up using a lot less fuel. This will, however, require you to do some research on quality venues nearby. But we’re pretty sure that you will end up finding a decent venue near your city or even within it. A local wedding produces far fewer greenhouse gases than destination weddings. Moreover, the latter also tends to be quite expensive. Your wedding is not the end of your life as a couple. Thus, you shouldn’t go overboard with the expenses. Moreover, with destination weddings, a lot of your friends and family might not be able to make it there.
Thoughtful wedding favors: Wedding favors can be a great touch for the guests, making them feel valued and joyful as they leave. Wedding favors, on the other hand, don't have to contribute to the clutter or hurt the environment. Consider giving out edible wedding favors, such as cookies, cupcakes, or a snack for the ride home. A succulent or potted plant is also a thoughtful and sustainable favor because it contributes significantly to the environment. Consider making a charitable donation in your guest's name if you want to go a step further. There's nothing like a good deep and caring love to warm the heart, and we have both here!
Decorate sustainably: Wedding décor sets the tone for the event and blends the overall theme and the color choices of the event into the fine details and special touches. DIY or visiting your local thrift shop to look for mirrors, signage, candle stands, and other small touches is a terrific way to accomplish the decor sustainably. Not only will you be putting new life into the decor that you once adored, but you may also come across unique items and one-of-a-kind, as well as items that may have a story to tell. After the wedding, decide whether to donate or resell the items to continue the story. You can give flowers to local hospitals or nursing homes since, after all, who doesn't adore flowers?
Dress with a soul: The bridal gown is usually the focal point of the wedding, ensuing drama and drawing the most admiring eyes and remarks. While we understand that this is your big day, you'll look just as good in a used gown. Check out several thrift stores for used wedding gowns, and you'll be helping to break the quick fashion cycle in the process. The fashion sector has a significant impact on the environment, generating 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year and producing 20% of worldwide wastewater. There are so many secondhand shops these days, which makes finding the perfect garment a lot easier.
An environment-friendly honeymoon: Your honeymoon is also a part of your wedding. If you’ve had a sustainable wedding, don’t throw it away by hiking up your carbon footprint by going overboard with your honeymoon. Try to have fun but still have an environmentally sustainable honeymoon. This might include you having to travel by train or any other public transport. Apart from that, choose resorts or hotels that practice environmental sustainability.
In the end, whether your wedding is environmentally-sustainable or not, depends entirely upon you. There’s no bar that you have to meet. It’s all abstract. If you’ve made even some effort to keep your wedding environmentally sustainable, then it’s enough. Every one of us needs to do our part for the environment if we are to survive on this blue-green planet. Sacrificing small luxuries is the least that we can do for the survival of our species. We are not without flaws. Don't be disheartened or overwhelmed by the pressure to be "sustainable." It is the subtle improvements that can have a big influence, just as it is the small steps that lead to beautiful places. Marriages are undoubtedly eternal, but don't we wish for our planet to outlast our celebrations? And by doing so, you are not only helping to decrease your carbon footprint on the world, but you are also setting an example for others to follow. You did an excellent job!