Nice day for a green wedding

Weddings are often hugely wasteful, but they don’t have to be

From clothes to food to invitations, there are ways to turn a wasteful wedding green.

From clothes to food to invitations, there are ways to turn a wasteful wedding green.

Photo By David Robert

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Weddings can be gross, though lovely, spectacles of waste. What begins as two people wishing to officially and publicly state their love and commitment basically becomes one big fancy party.

Couples who want their wedding to reflect their eco-conscious values can make some modifications to make theirs a greener wedding.

The No. 1 way to greenify a wedding has little to do with recycled or organic anything. It’s more about cutting back—on party favors your guests will (sorry) throw away anyway, on the guest list, and on making your wedding a one-or two day event rather than a weeklong extravaganza of rides in stretch-Hummer limos. But even if couples want all the trimmings, eco-alternatives exist for nearly everything.

A visit to the Oct. 21 Bridal and Beauty Expo at the Reno Convention Center showed that, while few local vendors market themselves as “green,” some are willing to work with couples to provide more eco-friendly options, be it recycled paper invitations, beeswax candles or organic eats.

Food: Make it organic, local or a combination of the two. Even caterers and bakers who don’t call themselves organic may work with you to create an organic meal. (The fee may increase because of it, due to organic food’s often higher price tag.) And for crissake, don’t serve it on Styrofoam plates.

Invitations: Most printers carry stock made from recycled paper. But the cheapest, most eco-friendly way to send invitations, or at least save-the-date cards, is to do it online. Options include the free to a number of fancier websites that charge about $12 for 100 invitations.

Gifts: If you already have all the saucepans and gravy boats you need, let guests know you’d prefer they donate to one of your favorite charities.

Clothes: The “but you’ll only wear it once” line is a rationale both for getting something simple and for getting something fabulous. If you’re more practical-minded, look for vintage dresses and suits. A number of former brides also sell their used-once dresses on Craigslist and Ebay. Brand new clothes made with eco-friendly fibers are another possibility.

Flowers: If possible, grow your own. Or, if the season fits, buy sustainably grown flowers at the farmers’ market; you can arrange them yourself, or take them to a florist. The fewer miles flowers have to travel, the more gas saved and the fewer chemicals sprayed to preserve them. And keep an eye out for organic-flower vendors.

Gas: One of the biggest sources of waste is often overlooked: gas for transportation. Host your wedding where the least number of people will have to travel, or arrange it so guests carpool. If your wedding is far away, you may want to limit your guest list to reduce the number of people arriving by airplane.

Honeymoon: Maybe nothing that won’t require a passport will do. But if you simply want a romantic getaway, try to find something closer to home for your honeymoon. It’s both more economical and requires far less fuel to get there.