Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tying the Eco-Friendly Knot, In Style

Note from Melissa: This guest post was contributed by Kate Willson, who writes on the topic of top online colleges. She welcomes your comments:

Organic Cotton and Hemp Blend
'Annie Dress' by Mountains
of the Moon
We all know that living “green” has both good and bad connotations. While it’s worthwhile because it lessens the negative impact on the environment, there are also some who view it as the antithesis of luxury. As Smart. Sustainable. Style. teaches us, living green does not mean giving up lavishness for a granola lifestyle. In fact, you can make being green a truly posh lifestyle change, and nowhere is this more evident than in the concept of a stylish, eco-friendly wedding!

A wedding is typically an expensive affair, both financially and environmentally. Guests are flown or driven in from across the country, which racks up carbon usage, and all of the things that weddings include (favors, food, etc.) can come from carbon-spewing factories as well (not to mention the toll it takes to ship them to the wedding destination!) Check out our ideas for ways to green your wedding without sacrificing an ounce of chic.

1. Keep it Local. One easy way to make a wedding more eco-friendly is to have it in a local area so that guests won’t have to travel too far to attend, instantly cutting back carbon emissions. In many towns and cities, there are loads of idyllic places in which to host a wedding. Take a tour around your city, or to nearby rural areas if you prefer a quaint and quiet wedding. If you and your partner have particularly fond memories of a certain diner, have a wedding party there to celebrate the union, which is much more cost-effective than renting out a typical large banquet hall as well.

2. Stay Small/Handmade. Sourcing all of your wedding needs from local sources or small eco-friendly companies will help to lessen your environmental impact as well. Smaller businesses tend to produce less waste because they are run on a smaller scale than larger factories. As an added plus, you’ll likely receive more one-on-one attention from business owners. Commission your wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses from a local or independent designer instead of a large, faceless clothing chain.  (MotM's Edie and Coco Dresses are both fun bridesmaid dress choices, and you can rest easy knowing that they are produced with luxurious eco-friendly fabrics and packaged and shipped in reused or otherwise sustainable boxes). Also look to communities like Etsy for handmade wedding items.

3. Go Organic. The same mentalities (choosing small, local suppliers) can be applied to food. A great way to serve up delicious, sustainable food is to choose ingredients from local or organic farms. Produce and livestock from local and organic sources typically have a much better flavor anyway, so in addition to protecting mother earth, you’d be serving your guest the most mouth-watering of dishes on your big day!

Do-It-Yourself Floral Heart Wreath
4. Do It Yourself.  Another wonderful way to make your wedding more eco-friendly is to DIY it. There are many aspects of your wedding that you can have fun tackling yourself, like making your own floral arrangements, boutonnieres, party favors, and wedding cake. With a DIY project, you’ll have more control over the sustainability of the end product. For example, if you make your own floral arrangements, opt for locally grown and in-season flowers rather than having blooms shipped in. You can also opt for beautiful wildflowers or flowers from a friend’s garden to make the perfect bouquets and center pieces. With a DIY wedding cake, you can use the suggestion for #3 (above) to ensure that the ingredients are organic and/or local. When it comes to DIY, the possibilities are endless, so use your imagine and experiment.

For more inspiration on greening your wedding and DIY wedding projects, check out these links:
- An Eco-Chic Chicago Wedding
- A Charming DIY Wedding in Maryland

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