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Tips for an Earth Friendly Wedding

Happy Earth Day, Anaheim Brides. In the midst of the "it's all about me" moments of wedding planning (believe me I had more than my share of these!) be sure to step back and ask yourself if you can be a bit more Earth friendly with your celebrations. The carbon footprint of most weddings is rather... huge; I mean h-u-g-e, so here are a few tips on how to be a little kinder to our planet while still creating a true celebration of love.

1) Work with Eco-conscious wedding vendors. Be guided by event professionals who run their business with our planet in mind. When interviewing potential wedding vendors, ask them for suggestions on how to design an earth friendly event. If they have no suggestions, maybe it's time to interview the next candidate. Google "green or eco-friendly wedding vendors" and you will find many vendors that are prepared to help you "go green" on your wedding day.

2) Choose a beautiful environment for your celebration. The more beautiful the natural landscape, the less decorations you need to make your wedding a visually stunning event. A beach, a field of poppies, a park, a forest, require little to no embellishment. Less embellishment - less carbon footprint.

3) Go Local - If you hire people and purchase products produced close to your wedding venue, there is less gas used to get them to your celebration. Also consider how far your guests must travel when designing an eco-friendly wedding. Destination weddings are fun but clearly not eco-friendly if you have 150 guests on planes. Encourage car-pooling or coordinate transportation services that will bring your guests to your celebration in one bus instead of many, many cars.

4) Go Organic - Ask your caterer to use pesticides-free products while creating your wedding menu. Products from local organic farmers is the best choice for taste and guilt-free celebrations.

5) Recycle - Ask your wedding venue and caterer what they will do to recycle waste from your wedding.

6) Use the internet -  Shopping on-line saves gas. So do your wedding planning on-line as much as possible. Ask your wedding vendors to send you information via the internet. It not only saves paper but it is a more efficient way to maintain documentation of proposals and contracts.

Make your own wedding website to keep all your guests informed of all things wedding.  This is a great way to save paper and postage. You can even ask your guests to RSVP (and select meal choices) on many of the wedding website templates that are available.

You may even consider making e-vites; if not for your "official wedding invitations," consider for all the other celebrations surrounding the big day (Engagement Party, Bachelorette Party, Rehearsal Dinner, Post-Wedding brunch, etc.). There are such cute on-line Save-the-Date and Thank You cards that can include your personal love story and photos. Just ask yourself, "how can I save a few pieces of paper and yet still stay in contact with my friends and family."

7) Share your video and pictures on-line. Work with photographers and videographers that can help you share their work with your friends and family on-line.

8) Purchase or rent pre-loved items -  Clothing, jewelry, decorations, furniture, and dishware all can be found on many websites, garage sales, thrift stores, antique/vintage shoppes, and rental companies.

9) Multi-purpose - Purchase wedding decorations you can use again. Potted plants used as altar and table centerpieces can be used to decorate your own home or patio; or give them as thank you gifts to your family and friends. My grandfather created a wedding garden from my wedding flowers that 20 years later is still beautiful. Use framed pictures as decor; you have the pictures, they are hanging on your wall, now just take them to your wedding for not only great centerpieces but great conversation pieces.

Having your bridal party dress in clothes that they can really (I mean REALLY) wear again, is another way to reduce waste.

10) Plant a tree - At my wedding my husband and I planted six trees in honor of those who had made such a positive impact on our relationship (the people who brought us together, my parents, and a few other significant people). We then donated another tree to this regional park every wedding anniversary, in essence creating our own "grove of love." This took away a little (just a little!) of the guilt I had for the huge paper wedding invitations we sent. We coordinated everything through the park system with just a few phone calls and of course a generous donation.

11) Eco-conscious Favors - The most Eco-friendly favor is no favor at all. If you can't fathom not offering your guests a little take-away, consider something that they will actually use and not throw away. Be conscious of the packaging (is it minimal and bio-degradable?) as well as how the product itself was made.

There are so many great websites to help you plan an Earth Friendly wedding; here are a few of my favorites:

The Green Bride Guide

Eco Wedding - A Resource Guide for Ecologically Aware Weddings

Earth Friendly Weddings

Wedvert: The Modern Bride's Guide to a Green Wedding 

and for all things weddings... go to BridesKnowBest

Photo courtesy of Emin Photography

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