Keen to minimise your carbon footprint when you and your partner join in wedlock? Well, here are some tips and pointers for the ultimate green wedding.
Use email for invites, set up a website for responses and to give details of directions, gift lists and accommodation. Make sure anything printed is on recycled paper.
Most dresses use non-biodegradable polyester and are flown in from Far East factories, often with poor work conditions. Go for natural, fair-trade materials (for example, from Joanne Mackin) or get a vintage dress – and donate it to charity afterwards.
Most cut flowers are imported long-haul by air and are treated with pesticides and fertilizers. Go for local, organic, seasonal blooms.
Food & drink:
The more local, fresh and organic, the better. Insist that imported wine and food is fairtrade. But if you must have Champagne, don’t feel too bad – it doesn’t have that far to come.
Transport & Accommodation:
Keep the ceremony, reception and hotels as close together as possible. If it’s more than a stroll between venues, consider using coaches so you don’t have 50 cars all driving about. If you’re really serious, skip the bridal car and turn up in a taxi. You could even consider a traditional horse and carriage.
OK, if you need the toaster and bed linen, this is your chance. But set up a wedding list with an ethical supplier. And if you don’t need the gifts, ask your guests todonate to a charity.
Mining is polluting and energy-intensive. Go for antique, secondhand or a family heirloom. Or as it is a vey special occasion you could splash out on bespoke rings such as these hand crafted by Stephen Einhorn. Not only are they created with ethical gold, but incorporate wood which has been reclaimed from the oak the Romans used to build the first London dock!
If it must be new, use recycled gold or metal, like the Platinum bands from Green Karat. If there are diamonds, ask about the Kimberley Process which ensures you aren’t buying stones used to fund wars.
Paper confetti contains dyes and bleach; foil won’t break down. Go for dried flower petals, rice, or even bird seed so our feathered friends can enjoy your day too.
The point is to relax for a couple of weeks after all the stress of the Big Day. A cottage in Cornwall might be as good a place as any but if you must add the extra stress of flying to Florida, Barbados or Koh Samui, consider coughing up for carbon offsetting.
• Originally published in GreenerLiving magazine in May 2007