Sustainable Weddings… Inconvenient or Fabulous?
Chances are you have come across at least one article entitled something along the lines of “Here’s How to Reduce your Wedding Carbon Footprint”. The idea of hosting a sustainable wedding is no longer “a new idea” — but rather one that is, in many progressive cities like Vancouver, expected, at least to some degree. It has become quite the hot topic of conversation for over two decades due to an increase in the concern for the effect global warming is having on our planet. The realization that a wedding, although significant and deserving, is part of the problem (because of the high consumption of goods and polluting it brings with it) is troubling. More and more couples are choosing to make their weddings environmentally friendly! And with that we give you Sustainable Weddings…Inconvenient or Fabulous?
Sure, the idea of peeling away the proverbial layers and understanding better the power of sustainable choices can be daunting, but incorporating sustainability into one’s wedding is much easier to do than one might think. And there are even sustainable options to include without the need to sacrifice luxury or beauty!
Considering the amount of time we spend on the road in our cars attending to wedding details pre and post event, the travel emissions expended through guest travel and honeymoon voyages, and the endless hours spent on our computers researching wedding options and printing all the necessary documents along the way certainly add to the footprint.
A great way to help make your wedding low-carbon is reducing the gas emissions released into the environment by choosing to work with vendors that operate close to your place of residence. Or at the very least close to the venue at which your wedding is to take place. It’s a great opportunity to #supportlocal. You will likely need to visit your vendors and venues several times leading up to the wedding and opting to work with ones close to home will limit the amount of time spent in your car driving and thus cut the amount of gas emissions being radiated into the atmosphere. And also save you time! You might also consider hosting your ceremony and reception at the same venue to cut down on travel emissions on the wedding day itself.
There are many ways to do your part in making your wedding more sustainable.
Sustainable Weddings… Inconvenient or Fabulous?
~ by Genève McNally
Did you know?
If your plan is to host a large scale wedding, but you still want to be conscious of your environmental footprint, consider hosting the wedding at a designated eco-friendly venue. Here are 5 eco-friendly Vancouver Wedding Venues that DreamGroup loves to introduce to our clients:
- Fairmont Waterfront **or any of the Fairmont properties.
- VanDusen Botanical Garden
- UBC Botanical Garden
- Grouse Mountain
- Vancouver Convention Centre
Food & Drinks:
Hire caterers and work with venues who “operate green” by recycling and offering sustainable food options like using local and seasonal produce, chemical-free organic foods, offer fair trade, organic coffee and tea, and ones that incorporate food products like free-range chicken and sustainable seafood like wild salmon into their menu options. Vancouver offers no shortage of caterers that present a focus on sustainable practices including Savoury Chef, Forage Catering, Savoury City, Chef Laura, Pacific Coast Catering, Truffles Fine Foods, Lazy Gourmet, and Potluck Café Society (with a focus on local DTES support initiatives). These are just a few of the restaurants, caterers, and venues making noticeable efforts to reduce their environmental footprint.
Another way to not be wasteful is to offer a plated dinner over a buffet.
Green Table, a local group dedicated to promoting sustainable food related businesses, is a great resource! Furthermore, you can elect to offer locally harvested wine and beer which is not difficult considering the wealth of world-acclaimed wineries and breweries situated throughout BC.
Hire stationers that work with recycled papers where possible and who make use of the environmentally friendly vegetable or soy based inks. There is an excellent variety of stationary products that fit the recycled/Eco-friendly category and they aren’t the brown and natural coloured papers we have associated with recycled papers of the past. There are so many choices these days!
Try and create multi-purpose paper elements — i.e. have printed menus that also act as place cards with the guest name printed at the top, or instead of menus for each person opt for 2-3 standing menus placed on each table.
Another fabulous option that will definitely reduce your carbon footprint and almost certainly increase efficiency and as an added bonus save you money is to send save-the-dates, invitations, and thank yous via e-mail. Paperless Post is a DreamGroup FAV.www.paperlesspost.com. It’s user friendly, has great templates, easily customizable, and offers a great way to track guests RSVPs and share information. There are many other options available for online Invitations these days. Check out our Blog post Wedding Websites You Must Know About.
Be sure to mention to your guests the efforts that have been made to make your wedding sustainable. It’s a great opportunity to educate your family and friends!
When you think “sustainable” you may not immediately think about how this correlates with the “wear it once” dress and wedding day attire. There are a few ways to say “Yes!” to your dress while keeping an eco-conscious mindset. Work with local dress designers who place an emphasis on using sustainable materials like raw silks and cotton and who themselves support local. Another savvy idea includes choosing a dress designed as a two piece (or separates as they are often referred to) which allows the pieces to be more easily re-worn after the wedding. Local boutique Pure Magnolia caters to both these concepts.
There’s also the option to buy a sample sale or gently used wedding dress (only worn once haha!). Both good for the environment and the pocket book. Many dresses end up in the landfill because they get upstaged by the latest and greatest models. Most local bridal shops feature annual sample sales to clear out older inventory and floor models, Meta Marketplace (if you have the time and energy that is), or attend The Original Bridal Swap and scoop yourself up a fabulous sample sale gown at an incredibly reduced price (we’re talking $300.00-$1500.00 for dresses usually priced at $1200.00-$4500.00).
In the event you aren’t the sentimental bride who doesn’t feel the need to own her wedding dress you could consider renting one! Vimo Wedding is one local boutique that offers dresses for rent.
Buy environmentally conscious jewelry. Go vintage or redesign an existing family ring or opt for a lab-grown diamond! Check out this great article from local jeweler Cavalier on lab grown diamonds.
Out of Towners:
Ask guests that are flying in to consider purchasing carbon offsets (a.k.a. “environmental credits” – visit www.climatecarbon.com for more information) for their flights to counterbalance the gas emissions being spent during their trip. David Suzuki lists companies where offsets can be purchased. If you are uncomfortable asking guests to incur these extra costs, you may wish to purchase them on those guests’ behalf in lieu of favors.
Recommend nearby hotels, preferably ones that offer in-house “green programs” and follow sustainable environment practices, to out of town guests so that they do not need to drive far distances to and from the venues.
Vancouver boasts the highest percentage of “green hotels” than any other city in the world. source: Daily Hive Vancouver
Encourage guests to rent hybrid or fuel-efficient cars or to buddy up with other guests and carpool on the wedding day. Carbon Free Mobility with ZEROCAR is one cool option – Rent a Tesla for your wedding!
Flowers & Décor:
There are so many ways to include sustainable floral and décor elements in your wedding plan.
- Select locally and/or organically grown flowers to make up your table arrangements and bouquets.
- Use potted flowers or plants as the centerpieces like orchids, hydrangea or roses.
- Rent instead of buying where you can!
- Buy + Sell décor at The Original Bridal Swap.
- Make use of the venue’s in-house tables, chairs, linens, dishes, etc. when possible. Cuts down on transportation and fuel emissions.
- Focus on enhancing the Venue over completely overhauling the look and feel.
- Make use of existing beautiful garden florals as your ceremony backdrop instead of bringing in floral arches.
- Repurpose florals and décor from the ceremony to the reception if able to be done discreetly.
- Setup a floral wrapping station at the wedding allowing guests to take home the florals at the end of the night! Guest will LOVE this!
**Pinterest offers a HUGE database of photo inspiration on how to incorporate environmentally friendly elements into your wedding.
And when you are done… sell them at DreamGroup’s The Original Bridal Swap.
This is one area where every couple can make their weddings more sustainable by offering guests thoughtful nature based products like like organic chocolates, teas, or honey as their thank you gifts. Couples may choose to purchase tree saplings that are indigenous to the BC area to give to their guests with the message to plant them somewhere special in memory of the couple’s wedding day. Another idea is to make a donation in each guests’ name to your favorite charity in lieu of a favor. Try one of these two deserving charities — the Canadian Cancer Society or BC Children’s Hospital.
Check out this article 17 Green Wedding Ideas for an Eco-Friendly Celebration for more ideas!
And look at it this way, since climate change is a global issue, any type of emission reduction or environmentally friendly effort (big or small) you make today will have a positive effect on our planet as a whole tomorrow.
We all have the power to create a positive effect on the environment in some way and what better time to do than when starting a new life together! There is a wealth of information on sustainable products, local green businesses, and the efforts being made to lower gas emissions and neutralize the carbon dioxide being put into our atmosphere daily.
Article by DreamGroup’s Geneve McNally