What is it about weddings that inspires so many people to make bizarre and wasteful choices? Setting aside the fact that so many people choose bad mates, who in their right mind really thinks that anyone needs a little ceramic swan or tiny pastel colored bucket? Don’t these future brides and grooms choosing hideously colored bridesmaid dresses, useless favors, and hugely elaborate invitations know that those things will more than likely end up tossed in the trash at the next spring cleaning?
There is an alternative! Books like Green Weddings That Don’t Cost the Earth offer easy-to-use suggestions for eco-friendly weddings. And there are plenty of other ways to hold a wedding that is elegant, refined, and beneficial to others. Here are five:
1) Choose dresses that can be used again, by both bridesmaids and bride. Brides can choose a color and then let bridesmaids choose a cut if they purchase through retailers like Alfred Sung. A bride that’s not concerned with preserving her dress might consider a simpler style that can be dyed for post-wedding use.
2) Or, make a young girl’s day by donating your wedding or bridesmaid dress to the Glass Slipper Project. The I Do Foundation accepts dress donations, sells them and gives part of the proceeds to charity (and uses the rest to support themselves).
3) The I Do Foundation also has a charity registry. If you, like me, have all the pots, pans, plates, furniture, and linens you need, you can invite your wedding guests to give to others in your name in leiu of a traditional gift.
4) Give your guests something cool to remember your wedding by that they will also be able to use. Thanks to the miracle of mass production, favors needn’t be some tacky tchatchka. Mini photo albums, heart-shaped measuring spoons, and plant-a-cards can all be procured fairly cheaply these days.
5) Make your wedding eco-friendly as suggested above. Use bulky recycled unbleached paper and natural elements like pressed flowers to create invitations. These, I’ve found, turn out so dang classy. Buy your gown from an environmentally friendly source. Consider growing your own bouquet at home. And, of course, throw birdseed instead of rice.
Now, I’m not saying that most weddings are wasteful any more than any other big party is wasteful. Or that anyone should ever include bulgar wheat or tempeh in their wedding plans. But, if you’re creating the foundation for a life lived in harmony, why not take some extra steps to include others in that harmony?