Nineteen percent of all marriage proposals happen over the holidays, according to the Fairchild Bridal Group, publisher of Modern Bride magazine.
If you were one of the couples who got engaged last month, you may be wondering if it’s possible to plan a green wedding while sticking to your budget. From plantable invitations to pre-owned wedding dresses, Earth911 has compiled the most simple and stylish ways to keep your big day both planet- and budget-friendly.
1. The venue
Whether you choose a bed and breakfast, museum or botanical garden as the location for your special day, you have plenty of options when looking for a great wedding venue with an Earth-friendly twist.
But just because a venue isn’t part of a green membership organization or hasn’t undergone environmental certification, it doesn’t mean the site doesn’t operate in a sustainable manner. When you’re scouting for locations, ask the staff if the facility has any eco-minded initiatives: Is it a historic building that has solar panels on the roof, or a golf course that is also a bird sanctuary?
You can also ask a potential venue if they will accommodate your special green requests: Can the restaurant design a local, seasonal menu, or will the banquet hall make sure to recycle all the waste from your wedding?
2. The invitations
Once you’ve selected a venue, your next task is to order the save-the-date cards and invitations.
Despite the growing popularity of electronic invitations like Evite for birthday parties and other informal events, invitations through email may not feel formal enough to match the significance of a wedding. If you’re having a casual backyard wedding, an Evite might be appropriate, but make sure your great-grandma and other non-tech-savvy relatives receive the invitation.
A more formal, but electronic way to send invitations is to use Paperless Post, the web-based stationery company with customizable e-cards that rival the quality of their conventional paper counterparts sent through snail mail. All Paperless Post cards come with an electronic envelope that the recipient clicks to open and view the card “inside,” giving your guests the excitement of opening an envelope and discovering a unique invitation.
Though not free, sending save-the-dates or invitations through Paperless Post will cost a fraction of the price you’d spend to buy and mail standard cards, so you’re saving money, as well as natural resources.
But if you’re not ready to buck tradition and go completely paperless, you can still make your invitations eco-friendly, using tree-free paper that doesn’t deplete the planet’s forests. Both Paper Culture and Pear Tree Greetings allow you to customize sleek, modern invitations and save-the-date cards on high-quality, 100-percent post-consumer recycled paper. Or check out Botanical PaperWorks’ memorable wedding invitations made with a special compostable paper, embedded with seeds, that sprouts wildflowers or herbs when planted in a pot of soil.
Your wedding’s paper trail doesn’t end with the invitations, however. Look for recycled paper options when making your wedding programs, menus, place cards and thank you notes. And try to reduce your use of paper whenever you can: Replacing paper place cards and menus with reusable versions like chalk boards, and eliminating paper goods not necessary for your wedding (do away with wedding programs if you’re having a simple, straightforward ceremony that doesn’t require explanation, for example).