I’m getting married and for the last several months I have been attempting to plan the big celebration.
As the day gets closer I have found myself feeling anxious about—well lots of things really—but increasingly the environmental impact a party like this can have.
I want to have an amazing party but that doesn’t mean I have to get lazy with my morals. I’ve come up with a few easy ways to make my wedding a little more environmentally friendly but I think these tips can be applied to almost any party or celebration.
This one is great because it saves money and paper! With all the technology out there it was easy to find exactly what I wanted. Most sites walked me through all the steps so if you’re not that computer savvy (like me) they’ll hook you up. There are lots of options out there but here’s a good place to start.
*Bonus: not only does this save on buying invites in the first place but (for weddings) it you had planned to go traditional and pay for the postage on the RSVP’s this saves money on that too.
Use real plates and utensils.
This one is the easiest to do with the most significant impact. When I considered how many people were attending my wedding I did some quick addition of all the coffee cups, wine glasses, plates, forks, and knives they might go through! Using real, reusable plates and cups keeps all that waste out of the trash and landfills.
The caterer I am using for my wedding uses funky, mismatched plates and patterns, which I think adds a bit of character to an otherwise mundane detail of a big day.
*Bonus: If you consider using reusable napkins the trash cans may go completely unused!
Planing a party or celebration of any kind is a lot of work and setting out recycling bins is something that is so obvious it can easily get overlooked. It only takes a few minutes to make sure there are bins set up to recycle glass, plastic and aluminum (just set them up right next to that empty trashcan you won’t need because of all those real plates you’re using!) Plus, I happen to live somewhere that gives cash in exchange for this good deed so I could actually make some money back!
Just say no to balloons.
Balloons are fun to look at but they are nothing but they are an environmental menace. There is no good way to dispose of them and they are a choking hazard to birds, ducks, squirrels and other animals. Instead of the deadly balloon, I opted for flowers to take their spot.
For flowers, the best way to go is seasonal and local, if possible. I did a quick check to see what was in season and available locally. Not only will the flowers be fresh but they’ll definitely enhance the scene and add to all those special moments. Plus, all the pollution, money and resources it takes to get flowers from here to there will be saved.
*Bonus: I took the whole flower thing one further and I will be mixing live local and seasonal flowers with paper flowers that my mom and some of her sisters (thank goodness for my amazing family) made for the special day. The added benefit of these is that they will keep forever.
Consider going meatless.
Ok, I know, this one might be tough for some, but throwing a meatless party will not only save money (I mean consider the cost of a beef steak vs. a portobello steak) it will make a significant difference in terms of environmental impact. According to The Meatless Monday project going meatless for just one day a week minimizes water usage, greenhouse gasses and fuel dependency and cleaning up afterwards is much easier, more sanitary and the leftovers stay good longer.
*Bonus: I personally feel that going meatless for parties bring out the creative side in my cooking.
This is something that doesn’t usually come up when talking about big events, celebrations and especially weddings. It’s fun to go out and shop for the perfect dress or outfit and since I usually shop for specific events wearing the outfit again is something I overlook.
Wedding in particular are susceptible to this concept. Traditionally a wedding dress is only worn once and usually only by one person (unless it’s been handed down within a family) but with all the material and resources we have in the world it seems silly to continue to create everything new and from scratch. I find that if I look hard enough the perfect dress, shoes, hat, outfit or whatever is out there. Etsy is a great place to look for used and vintage dresses and who doesn’t love a good treasure hunt?
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Sharon Woods/Pixoto