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Five tips for planning an eco-friendly wedding

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Planning a wedding may be stressful for the bride, the groom and the rest of the wedding party. And it’s not just cringeworthy for the wallet, although Forbes estimates the average wedding is $28,000 – the price of some people’s annual salary. There’s also the issue of trying to make sure all of the guests have an enjoyable time. Outside of a celebration to witness the unity of two people, there’s another perk of wedding planning – introducing green products to wedding guests all at once.

Here are some ideas to organize a green wedding:

Invitations: Instead of paying for really expensive one-time use paper and a fancy printer, take Earth 911’s advice and use 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper.

Catering: Talk to cooks about their shopping process and find out whether they use organic vegetables and foods. Avoid the pesticide risk in the guests’ dishes. And although chances may be slim that all of the guests will be vegetarians or vegans, don’t forget to include vegetables in the wedding meals. But if meat is chosen as a main dish, verify that your caterer uses foods from family farms, organic foods and local markets.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the United States has more than 330 million acres of agricultural land. However, overgrazing, excessive pesticides, fertilizer and abusive animal feeding procedures contribute to NPS pollution that affects water quality.

Centerpieces: As pretty as flowers surrounding the church and reception area are, if their presentation ends in the garbage can, that’s a waste of money and a waste of a gift. Encourage guests to take the flowers home to beautify their own homes. This is an easy party favor and serves a double purpose.

For candle décor, Green Space Candles gives a thumbs up to soy candles, which are made from soybean products. This renewable product consists of petroleum instead of paraffin. They also don’t have the same ingredients that lead to darkening ceilings and walls, and cancerous risks.

Silverware: There are plenty of party stores that sell recyclable plates, silverware, cups and other food utensils. Using real plates, glasses and silverware are also a way to avoid more trash, but the problem is that the cleanup process for these dishes don’t beat the convenience of using disposable serving products. One distributor, Marx Foods, even sells eco-friendly disposable heart-shaped plates.

Wedding dresses: Many designers use animal friendly material to create wedding dresses. Who needs silk when man-made nylon is just as stunning? Earth 911 also recommends eco-friendly designers, such as Conscious Elegance, Conscious Clothing, Gwendolyn Gleason, and Chrissy Wai-ching. And don’t forget to ask family members about reusing their own dress. A few pins and a sewing machine can help recycle a perfectly gorgeous dress that’ll get a second viewing.

This entry was originally written by Shamontiel on May 1 for a recycling company and is republished with her permission on Examiner.

Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all of her latest Chicago dating, sex, marriage and work relationship entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Relationships channel at the top of this page. Also, follow her "Let's Talk About Sex...Health" Pinterest board.

Follow Shamontiel's Green Living Pinterest board for more environmental news, reviews and tips.

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