Hosting an eco-chic wedding

If you’re interested in hosting an eco-friendly wedding, simply start by having the ceremony and reception at the same venue — thus eliminating all that driving for everyone.

If you’re interested in hosting an eco-friendly wedding, simply start by having the ceremony and reception at the same venue — thus eliminating all that driving for everyone.

If you are taking your vows at a religious venue, find a reception venue within a mile or two of the ceremony — or better yet, one you can all walk to.

Green weddings are a huge trend, so here are five ideas for hosting a more eco-chic wedding:

1. Go Local

If your venue allows you to bring your own alcohol, bring locally brewed beers and locally grown wines.

This cuts out the shipping emissions and supports local businesses. Don’t be afraid to haggle with these businesses, either.

They will get exposure to everyone at the wedding, so use that to your advantage when negotiating prices.

2. Go Natural

Many flowers in floral arrangements are shipped all the way from South America, Asia and Europe, so the pollution impact from the shipping is high. In addition, you have no way of knowing what kind of environmentally harmful chemicals are used on the flowers. Instead, use flowers that are in season and grown naturally in your area.

For example, if you live in the South, pick magnolia flowers from local trees and float the blossoms in vases on tables for centerpieces. Wildflowers from a friend’s garden can also add a unique, personal and beautifully natural touch to your wedding. If you want a more structured look, do an Internet search for “organic florist” in your region.

3. Favours, Favours

Favours are a nice touch to any wedding, but they usually just get shoved in a closet — or worse, adding to already overflowing landfills. If you were planning to spend, say, US$5 per favour on 200 guests, instead spend $1 each for tiny live pine trees that guests can plant. Take the other $800 you would’ve spent on favours and donate it to a local or national forest, a save-the-animals foundation or some other organization.

4. Send E-vites

This tip may be shockingly unconventional, but sending electronic invitations will save a great deal of paper.

This will also keep more money in your pocket. If you have relatives or friends who don’t use e-mail, make your own simple invitations to send to those few people.

Also create an online wedding website where you can feature your wedding style as well as maps to venues, menus, photos, etc.

This will be a perfect electronic touch to your eco-friendly big day.

On your wedding website you can also feature a section on all of the ways you are making your wedding green so guests will know why they didn’t get a paper invitation in the mail.

5. Attire

The bridal gown sets the stage for the whole day. But since the bride is only wearing it once, it’s OK to wear one that’s vintage or already worn.

If the money saved doesn’t sell a bride on this idea, maybe this one will: Try a charity like “Brides Against Breast Cancer,” where sample gowns and donated previously worn gowns are auctioned and all proceeds go to breast-cancer research. Recycling dresses is a great eco-friendly choice.

Remember: Even if you can only do one or two of these green options, every little bit helps! Considering there are approximately 2.1 million weddings in the United States each year, if every bride can make a few eco-chic changes, then collectively the impact will be huge.

The writers are co-founders of Buttoned Up, a company dedicated to helping stressed women get organized. Send ideas and questions to For more columns, go to

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