Our collective image of the ideal wedding has changed a lot over the past few decades. What was once a massive affair in the ‘80s and ‘90s, a huge ceremony complete with every luxury that the couple could afford (and some that they could not), has been scaled back by economic realities and a shift in personal preferences. Today’s couples are looking for a more personal wedding with less of an impact on both their own lives and the environment.
Here are some tips for making your upcoming wedding a great event for your family and for the earth.
Use Ethical Diamonds
The engagement ring is definitely the centerpiece of any modern wedding, but there are many so-called blood diamonds on the market. Blood diamonds are mined and then sold to finance some war effort; usually one engaged in by a warlord or some other unsavory sort of person. It goes without saying that these diamonds are acquired under morally reprehensible conditions and to purchase them is to aid a terrible cause.
For these reasons, the only morally correct choice for a diamond engagement ring is a conflict free diamond. These gemstones are sourced responsibly come from regions where they can’t be used to finance the ambitions of warlords or terrorists. This means that they are ethically mined and ethically sold, with a focus on the consumer rather than on the sinister going-ons behind the scenes. When you go for a conflict free diamond, you’re declaring to the world that war has no place in a ceremony dedicated to love.
Weddings, especially ones held outdoors, can end up using a lot of stuff. There’s a nice city park down by the Boise River, near my apartment. Whenever I walk or ride my bike through there I can always tell when a wedding has just taken place. In spite of anyone’s best efforts to clean up, there are always going to be a few disposable plates and utensils, scraps of invitations and programs, and floating bits of confetti. For this reason it’s important to stock up on eco friendly items as much as possible.
‘Green’ paper plates are hard to come by, but you should keep an open mind towards unconventional solutions like dining on large banana leaves. It’s a bit easier to be responsible with decorations, invitations, and programs, just be sure to source these things from environmentally responsible printing companies. You can even keep up the green attitude past the wedding by getting wedding photos and albums printed on recycled paper.
Another way to “go green” actually involves going the opposite direction from finding things that are compostable or biodegradable. Instead of counting on things which can get left behind why not make them permanent and worth hanging onto after the wedding?
For example, rather than getting a handful of thin paper sheets to cover your tables, why not invest in a set of French tablecloths. Not only will their weight keep them from blowing loudly about in a slight breeze, but using more substantial artifacts like these is a great way to make sure that nothing goes into the trash and clogs up landfills.
This same thinking can be applied to other wedding items. Instead of using chairs of dubious quality made with harmful plastics, why not bring out a set of wooden chairs? An eco friendly wedding can use things from the environment too! Think of it this way: you wouldn’t give your fiancé a disposable ring, so why treat the rest of your wedding like something that’s going to be thrown in the trash right after the event? Tell me your ideas for a green wedding in the comments!