Certified Green?

Apparently, a traditional North American wedding will generate an average of 50 to 200 tons of CO2 and up to one-third metric tons of solid waste in the form of food and stuff. And gold and diamonds that aren’t humane can be responsible for the permanent loss of health and death of up to six individuals from a third world country. Yikes, right? The the Live Green, Live Smart Institute sure thinks so — they’ve introduced a green wedding self-certification program brides and grooms can use to be sure their weddings have less of a negative impact on Momma Earth.


You can’t argue with the fact that weddings can be very, very wasteful, and many couples don’t know where to start when they decide to plan a green (or greener) wedding.

According to the Live Green, Live Smart Institute┬« Executive Director and founder, Peter Lytle: “This is the first green or eco-wedding certification program introduced globally. For several years we have been looking at what motivates a couple to live a sustainable lifestyle and stay committed to it. Our initial research indicates that couples that start their relationship with low-impact, green weddings are making a social and moral commitment to stay green for the long-term. What was important to us is they appear to go on and remodel homes and apartments or build new green homes, further reducing their footprint. We also believe these couples are becoming mentors and peer leaders, fostering their friends to go green with their weddings.”

“The thing that was missing with green weddings was an agreed upon set of guidelines and a way to certify the wedding as green or eco-friendly. As an environmental research and certification organization we spent hundreds of hours focused on what makes a wedding green and what couples had done to green their weddings. The result is a comprehensive set of guidelines and a free certification program which we are letting any person or organization use or reproduce.”

Honestly? There are so many ways to be green — and a lot of disagreement about what exactly ‘green’ means — that brides and grooms should just go ahead and do whatever they can to make their weddings as environmentally friendly as possible. When it comes right down to it, the things you do at home to minimize your environmental impact are the same things you can do when planning your wedding, e.g., serve locally-sourced foods, keep trash and waste to a minimum, and so on. I think that taking the time to certify a wedding just adds more work to the bride-to-be’s otherwise full plate. Going green is great, after all… going overboard is a recipe for wedding stress!

12 Responses to “Certified Green?”

  1. Oh good grief. The tyranny of the greenies. Next they’ll be telling women to have their babies in the wood in the interest of reducing their carbon footprints. Oh wait. They’ve already told women to stop having babies altogether because babies are bad.

  2. Bitter says:

    I had to look. It was painful, but I was just so curious. Please, if you haven’t clicked, don’t.

    First, let’s establish that they need to hire an editor. They believe that decorations should be editable. Only later did I realize they meant edible. The ability to make edits or change something is hardly the same as being able to eat it – and that does make a difference when they are trying to give credibility to any kind of certification process.

    Second, I did it knowing the general ideas of our plans even if details aren’t yet known. Somehow, this couple made up of unrepentant SUV drivers who readily mock shenanigans like this scored a “Gold” level of certification. It wouldn’t take much more to reach “Platinum.” That was my first clue the “certification” was bunk.

    In taking the test, there’s no rhyme or reason for their point system. I got as many “offset credits” for things like making the honeymoon the primary vacation that year, walking at some point during the trip, and knowing “social issues” about an area as someone who chooses to take no honeymoon at all. (I was assuming a trip around Europe for a few weeks. It’s hardly a carbon-neutral trip idea compared to staying home for a long weekend.) You get as many points for using their logo on your printed items as you do for not printing any announcements at all and sending them electronically. I’m not an environmentalist, but even I can do the math on that one and realize which is better in terms of “saving” the earth.

  3. KTB says:

    I’m studying sustainability in school right now, but would never dream of “certifying” my wedding. We’re supporting local business, our rings are from a vintage jeweler, we emailed save-the-dates, our invitations consisted of an invite, reply postcard and a map, and the ceremony/reception are at the same venue to cut down on driving.

    I feel like I’ve more than done my green duty here!

  4. Twistie says:

    I don’t consider these people very Eco-involved. They strike me much more as opportunists latching onto the buzz word of the day to try to make a name for themselves. If the sexy word of the day was ‘androgynous’ or ‘conspicuous comsumption’ or ‘polar bear steak’ I could see them doing much the same thing in the name of that word.

    As others have pointed out, living easy on the earth doesn’t require certification…particularly not to the tune of printing extra bits of paper in order to prove that you’re being Green.

    Rest easy, Class-Factotum, ‘the greenies’ are not tyrannizing you. After all, you have no obligation whatsoever to pay attention to this silly site…and as I said, I don’t think they’re honestly all that green.

  5. Julie says:

    Yeah, the certification is ridiculous. Without trying to have a “green wedding,” a term I hate to begin with, ours is “certified” platinum. I think anyone holding a relatively low-key affair and generally trying not to be wasteful would probably score well. But, as Bitter said, the scoring criteria is completely nonsensical to the point that whatever score you come out with is meaningless anyway.

    Moral of the story: be nice to the environment, don’t be wasteful, and don’t take illogical websites seriously.

  6. Oops, is my tendency to over-dramatize showing? ­čÖé

  7. rabrab says:

    I’m laughing so hard at this. Our wedding only rated 38 — just barely Silver, and most of those points came from the fact that both rings were ones that we already owned, and both of us wore clothes we already owned and would wear again. But we had upwards of 200 guests, the location was near the home of only about four of them, (everybody else traveled at least 150 miles and some traveled across the country.)

    But here’s the thing — we got married at the national meeting of an organization that both of us and most of our friends belong to — they would have made the same trip even without the wedding happening. The pre-parties and the reception were all potluck, (so no points for “organic or locally sourced foods”. The waste from all of them filled one trash bag (no points for composting or donating). The whole weekend was BYOB, so no points for anything alcohol-related — there was champagne, and home-brewed beer and and wine and cider, some purchased, some home-made. We didn’t use any wedding planner, nor did we do any “green research” (this was 17 years ago — there was no place *to* do “green research”. No points for the announcements, either — we had it included in the newsletter that announced the meeting.

    Despite all this, our wedding was probably really “greener” than some that ranked Platinum.

  8. AmazonPrincess says:

    Based on the comments I’m not going to bother clicking on the website, but I do want to mention something that I think is pretty cool and “green.”

    My future Step-Father works for Zap! here in Sonoma County, and so when he and my mom get married next summer the getaway car, and the shuttles to the wedding site from the hotel for out-of-town guests will be all electric cars.

  9. Twistie says:

    That’s so cool, Amazon Princess!

    BTW, I grew up in Santa Rosa, so I know the area well.

  10. HurricaneDeck says:

    Any website that continues to perpetuate the myth that rice kills birds gets a BIG THUMBS DOWN!!

  11. jstar says:

    i’m confused. my first comment has apparently been removed?

  12. jstar says:

    ugh, oops, never mind, i just don’t know how computers work apparently.