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Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: Three Ways to Go Green for Your Wedding

January 8th, 2010 Posted in Planning

Eco-Friendly Ideas that Can Also be Cost-Effective

The truth is – weddings, by nature, are not eco-friendly, nor are they economical. Excess pollution and waste are big by-products of these expensive celebrations, from the fuel burned by the limousine to the aluminum cans and glass containers for the liquor. Despite the recent trend to “go green,” there are still very few resources available for earth-conscious couples, especially those with limited funds. Typically, options like organic catering and recycled stationery come with a steep price, one that may just not be feasible for brides on a budget. However, there are a few ways that your wedding can be both eco-friendly and cost-effective. Read on for a few tips on how to reduce, reuse and recycle on your special day – without spending a fortune.

Reduce.

Reducing waste is a great way to both minimize your wedding’s carbon footprint and save some extra cash. Begin by eliminating the things that are most likely to get thrown away, such as invitations, trinket-type favors and disposable flatware. Consider these cost-saving alternatives instead:

China and Flatware: Instead of using disposables utensils for your reception, or even renting more expensive, but reusable, china and glassware, go completely with finger foods. Have a cocktail-style reception, and curb waste while cutting expenses.

Favors: Instead of one small gift for each guest, consider making a lump sum donation to charity in the name of everyone you have invited. Doing so will allow you to better control the overall amount that you spend, and will eliminate excess waste as well.

Invitations: Instead of sending out traditional invitations, try using an Internet-based service such as Evite.com. Despite the haughty disapproval of many etiquette experts, this has recently become an acceptable alternative among more earth-conscious crowds. And one big bonus – it is free!

Reuse.

Reusing items for your wedding is a wonderful means of saving money, and of eliminating excess too. Consider these three eco-friendly ways to re-purpose old décor, dresses, and flowers for your wedding, and see how cost-effective going green can truly be.

Décor: Instead of shelling out a bunch of cash to buy new decorations, look for creative ways to spruce up your venue with objects you already own. Go for eclectic elegance with mismatched vases and votive holders, or even simple strands of holiday lights. The savings can be substantial, and because you are likely to need the items again, there will be nothing to throw away.

Dresses: Instead of a brand new gown from a bridal salon, consider wearing your grandmother or mother’s old wedding dress. This was once a time-honored tradition, and has recently gained back some of its former greatness in response to the vintage trend. Alterations aside, your attire will be free, and the negative environmental impact will be next to none.

Flowers: Instead of accruing a huge expense for separate reception, rehearsal dinner and even shower arrangements, reuse your centerpieces for every celebration. This cost-cutting technique tends to increase the singular “feel” of your theme by stinging the floral elements together, while also decreasing the amount of flowers that inevitably end up in the dumpster.

Recycle.

Since there will likely be some things for your wedding that you will just have to buy, such as accessories, alcohol and printed products, the only way to lessen the ecological effects (and recoup costs) will be to recycle. When thinking about ways to reduce excess waste – and expenses – for your wedding, remember these tips:

Accessories: Wedding accessories like flower girl baskets, ring beater pillows, and bridal toasting flutes can cost a couple a small fortune, just to end up in storage or the trash. Save your accessories from a similar fate, and earn back a percentage of their expense, by advertising them on sites such as craigslist.org or recycleyourweddin.g.com.

Alcohol: Stocking your bar with alcoholic beverages normally means that there will be a large number of leftover bottles and cans. Keep them out of the landfill and eve recoup a little of their cost by recycling the aluminum and glass. Ask your bartender and guests to assist you by not throwing their empties away.

Paper Products: A lot of paper can be wasted at a wedding, from the escort cards and menus to the place cards and programs. After the reception, recycle these items to reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint and help conserve the earth’s natural resources. There may not be a big monetary reward for your efforts, but the environment will certainly thank you.

2 Responses to “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: Three Ways to Go Green for Your Wedding”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Patti Lew, Heidi Hughett. Heidi Hughett said: RT @SFGreenWeddings: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: Three Ways to Go Green for Your Wedding http://bit.ly/7mCT9R [...]

  2. So adorable post! Thank!!
    So glad to have found this blog.

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