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How Green is your wedding? Eco-friendly ideas & suggestions.

How green is your wedding?

No, we are not talking about a green color scheme.
What sort of an impact is your wedding having on the environment?
Couples nowadays are trying to find ways to be eco-friendly when planning their wedding. Here are a few suggestions as to how you can do your bit for the environment by making your wedding a little bit more eco-friendly. 
Just think if every couple included 1 or 2 eco- friendly options into their wedding, it will go a long way towards helping out our environment.

Eco friendly wedding tips: 

Venue:
Find a venue that has a good recycling program and that sources local suppliers.
Discover a venue that is close to home, that way you will be cutting down on the distance that you and your guests will need to travel to get to the venue and thereby reducing your carbon footprint.
Even better yet, have your ceremony & reception at the same location.
Have the wedding early in the day to avoid have to use extra electricity for lighting. 
Caterers:
Choose a caterer that sources seasonal, local ingredients from local growers, that way you are supporting producers and again reducing your carbon footprint.
Ensure that fish and other protein are not on any endangered lists.
Choose local and or organic wines and beers. 
Find ones that practice Eco-friendly production process. (Recycled bottles etc…)
Package and have guest take home leftovers. Don't waste!
Flowers:
Ensure your flowers are in season and are grown locally.
Use native plants, flowers and greenery.
Use home grown flowers or potted plants as centerpieces.
Add the bouquets into the centerpieces and also use any ceremony flowers in the reception.
Replace a flower boutonniere with an alternative, such as feathers or fabric flower. 
Have guest take home any flowers or bring to a hospital for others to continue to enjoy.
Cake:
Choose a baker that supports local suppliers and uses organic ingredients.
Rent the cake stand or borrow one from family or friend.
Pick a bakery that has the LEED designation or practices eco-friendly methods.
Transport:
Encourage guests to car-pool to your wedding.
Hire a bus to transport guests to the wedding - great idea if your venue is out of town.
If possible, encourage your guests to use public transport to your 
If you do hire cars to take you and your bridal party to the wedding, choose hybrid options. 
Photographer:
    Choose a photographer who uses rechargeable batteries.
    Choose a photographer who has albums printed locally or better yet upload all photos         for a digital wedding album.  
Stationery:
Email invitations to your guests instead of posting out invitations.
If you send out invitation, ask for an email R.S.V.P.
Choose recycled paper to print your invitations and thank-you notes on.
"Save the Date" invitations can be & emailed to guests. 
Favors:
Give guests a native plant or seedlings which they can plant at home.
In lieu of favors, make a donation to your preferred charity.
Decor:
By using a party rental company you are effectively re-using - this can include tables, chairs, tablecloths, signage, etc. While many of these products are imported, they are being used again and again and therefore reducing further imports.
Reuse decor items from other brides (great finds on-line such as craigslist)
Bridal gowns & bridesmaid dresses:
Opt for a pre-loved wedding dress or bridesmaid dresses.
If you are using a local dressmaker, check whether material can be locally sourced.
Find antique jewelry or rings and you can always have them redesigned.
Search for items at your local thrift shops, you are re-using and supporting a local charity.
Suits:
The groom and groomsmen can rent their suits, this way they are being re-used.
If you are buying a suit, source a local manufacturer.
Ties or other items can be rented or found at local thrift shops for the guys too.
Borrow ones from fathers, uncles, family and friends.
Gift Registry:
You can nominate a charity of your choice and ask guests to make a donation to that charity, instead of giving you a wedding gift. 
Let guest know that their presence to your wedding is a gift in itself; especially if they come from out of town.
Other green wedding ideas:
Plant a tree as part of your wedding ceremony - to symbolize the putting down of roots and the care and attention a sapling requires, just like a marriage, before it can grow and flourish. Resell or donate items that are left over from your wedding to other brides or charity shops.
And by all means, tell your guests about the eco friendly initiatives you have included in your wedding to raise awareness.

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