Each one of the 2.5 million weddings in the United States this year will produce an average of 62 tons of carbon dioxide and 400-600 pounds of garbage. That’s a lot of waste! But if each couple just made one eco-friendly choice for their wedding, those numbers would drop dramatically. And for anyone concerned about the future of our planet, smaller numbers would be a wonderful way to go!
If you’ve been following my green wedding series, you’ll already have discovered some lovely options for Eco-Chic Wedding Gowns, Eco-Beautiful Flowers, and Eco-Stylish Wedding Invitations. And this week I’ll be showing you ways in which you can choose an eco-friendly wedding venue.
Just as with flowers, many of you may be thinking, “How can a venue not be eco-friendly?” Unfortunately the answer is, in lots of ways. But it’s not always the fault of the venue itself. It might be the distance guests have to travel to get to the venue. Or having the ceremony and reception in two different places requiring guests to travel from venue to venue. Also, with indoor ceremonies and receptions there’s the energy it takes to light the space. Then on the flip side, you have to think about the gas, pollution, and expense it will generate if you have to rent tables, chairs, or even tents if you choose an outdoor venue. So it’s good to weigh both sides.
But, with a little creative thinking, you can minimize the damage in all of these scenarios and be on your way to a greener wedding in no time.
Think beyond traditional wedding venues. Look into unique locales such as a nonprofit spaces, organic farms, botanical gardens, museums, art galleries, or historic buildings. Public gardens and parks are other great options as is your own backyard or the yard of a friend or family member.
A Public Garden, Park, Beach, Lakeside, or Mountaintop
Let the natural beauty be your decoration. Going with an outdoor setting such as a public garden, park, beach, lakeside, or mountaintop will allow you to take advantage of such a venue’s natural beauty thereby requiring minimal or no embellishments by you. Often, you can reserve an entire park or a section of one for a day. But many parks have regulations about the types of events allowed, so be sure to get in touch with authorities and discuss your options.
Your Backyard or The Backyard of a Family Member or Friend
This is the route my husband and I took. We wanted to have our wedding in our own backyard, but it would have taken a lot of work on the house and the yard in order to make it “wedding beautiful”. So we opted for my aunt and uncle’s estate in Pasadena which was already gorgeous. By choosing a backyard with a meticulous garden or an exceptional view, your need to decorate will be greatly diminished.
Want to decorate with lights strung from trees? Great! It’s a beautiful option. But to be smart about energy, be sure to look for energy efficient LED bulbs.
Get Married on a Farm
You could get married in a field on a farm and have your reception in the barn or the other way around. Farm weddings have become quite popular in the past few years and it’s no surprise because they’re really quite darling. Again, having your wedding on a farm will cut down on the need for decorations as rustic beauty is really all you need.
If you like the idea of having a farm wedding, enter ‘farm wedding’ or ‘barn wedding’ into the search field at the top side bar of the blog. I’ve featured many such weddings over the years, so please have a look for some inspiration!
Maybe an Orchard or a Vineyard?
A wedding in an orchard or a vineyard could be amazing too. Think strung white lights and lots of lanterns. Again remember to look for energy saving bulbs if you’re using electric lights or go for the real look with candles. If you work with a local owner of one of these locations, you can often bypass the rules and regulations of more strict venues.
Golf Club or Resort
If you are looking to have your wedding at a country club with a golf course, you may want to select one that’s an Audubon International Certified golf course. That means the golf course has met certain standards (gold, silver, bronze, or certified categories) for protecting water quality, conserving natural resources, and providing wildlife habitats.
Image via Artwork Network
Choose a Green Hotel
The best thing to do if you’re looking to hold your ceremony and reception at a hotel is to look into green hotels. Green hotels offer a variety of eco-friendly options such as low-flow showerheads, soap and shampoo dispensers instead of miniature bottles, and donation of leftover food to local shelters. And you may even be able to provide a larger impact on saving resources in that many of your guests may stay in the hotel as well.
Hire a Green Wedding Planner
A small but growing number of wedding planners specialize in planning green weddings. A quick “Google” search for green wedding planners in your area should help you find someone to help you orchestrate the green wedding of your dreams.
And finally, here’s a run down of some final tips!
* Choose a venue that’s close to a majority of your guests. Fuel-intensive travel by out-of-towners represents the biggest strain that weddings put on the planet.
* Hold the ceremony and reception at the same place to cut down, again, on the effects of transportation. If you choose two spots, provide transportation for your guests, or set up carpools.
* Don’t invite everyone you know. It sounds harsh, but the larger your guest list, the more miles traveled, the more food and drink consumed, and the bigger venue you’ll need.
* Forgo a far-away destination wedding that involves lots of travel and its accompanying pollution. Save the exotic getaway for the honeymoon when only the two of you need to get there.
And that’s it. I hope there are some useful ideas in here for you. The bottom line to remember is every little bit of effort towards a greener way counts!
Thanks for stopping by!