11 Sustainable Wedding Trends for 2011

Tracy of Recycled Bride, a huge bride-to-bride network for buyers and sellers of stuff like wedding dresses, ceremony accessories, reception decor, and more wrote to me recently to ask me to share her 11 sustainable wedding trends for 2011. And I thought, why not? As you probably know, I sort of recently started writing over at Green Manolo, so sustainability is definitely a topic that’s on my mind!

1. Diamonds are no longer a girl’s best friend: Inspired by the sapphire ring that Prince William gave to Kate Middleton, alternative gemstones are all the rage for engagements in 2011. Brides will express their individual style — and avoid conflict diamonds — with rings made of colored stones like sapphires, emeralds, and rubies, and sparkly diamond alternatives like moissonite and synthetic diamonds.

2. Chalkboard chic: Stylish slate signs will take the place of paper wedding programs, seating cards, and menus. Chalkboard signs can be made to look elegant and fancy or sweet and rustic, and can be created inexpensively at home using scavenged picture frames, chalkboard paint, and a little creativity. Reducing paper waste at your wedding never looked so stylish!

3. Weddings go local: Farmer’s market menus and locally sourced favors and gifts are hip as can be this year. By doing their wedding shopping locally, couples minimize their carbon footprint, support their local economy, and delight guests with unique details they won’t find elsewhere. This trend caught fire after Chelsea Clinton’s locally lovely wedding in Rhinebeck, New York, and will continue well into 2011.

4. The “staycation-moon”: The popular staycation trend meets the honeymoon as couples skip the expense and carbon footprint associated with honeymoon travel in favor of romantic hometown adventures. Picture a week of museum visits, local theater and sporting events, park picnics, bucket-list adventures, and romantic dining — no luggage required!

5. Intimate weddings: Weddings with small guest lists create less waste, offer more warmth, and give couples tons of flexibility when choosing a location. Intimate wedding celebrations range from elegant multi-course dinners in hotel penthouses to backyard barbecues featuring local bands and brews.

6. Cocktail wedding dresses: Short wedding dresses are all the rage, and just about every major bridal designer has debuted a knee-length collection for 2011. A cocktail-length dress can be worn again, and many are just as formal and elegant as a long gown. Look for tons of short and sweet styles for sale on Recycled Bride right now.

7. Paperless Invitations: Electronic wedding communication is easier and prettier than ever, with companies like Glo offering stunning, interactive online save-the-dates, reply cards, invitations, and more. E-mail invites are less expensive than paper and help to reduce wedding waste.

8. Greener Gifting: Registries have gone green, with tons of new options for brides and grooms who want to receive ethically-made gifts and support the sustainable economy. Two of our faves are the Green Bride Guide Shop and The Knot’s Gift Registry 360, which lets couples create one centralized registry with products from any online retailer they choose. And green donation gifts, like Bluebell Giving Cards, will be popular as both wedding presents and guest favors.

9. Face Forward: Long veils are sitting on the sidelines this year, as brides forgo them in favor of birdcage styles and unique hair accessories that can be worn again. Expect to see 2011’s brides in headbands, vintage hair clips, flowers, and chic tiaras.

10. Flexitarian Feasts: Another trend inspired by Chelsea Clinton’s veggie-conscious wedding is reducing the amount of meat on the menu. This year, more couples will offer vegetable- and grain-based meal options for their guests in an effort to save money and save the Earth.

11. Wedding Recycling: More brides, grooms, bridesmaids and guests than ever are shopping and selling on sites like RecycledBride.com. Smart users enjoy the financial, environmental, and social benefits of wedding recycling, and discover the joy of sharing, saving, and passing on treasured wedding items to other happy couples.

Let me say: Thanks, Tracy! And to everyone else, go check out Recycled Bride, whether you’re planning a wedding on a budget or not!

4 Responses to “11 Sustainable Wedding Trends for 2011”

  1. lazydaisydays says:

    Wow, I’m glad to know how “green” we were when we got married back in 2007…eco-friendliness wasn’t quite all the rage then, but we made a lot of similar decisions simply because they worked for us and our personalities.

    My engagement ring isn’t a diamond solitaire (because I hate white diamonds, plus I’d probably accidentally poke my eye out with a ring like that)….our reception — to which we invited people via E-vites because we found paper invitations to be stuffy — was a backyard potluck (which also involved some amazing trout that my FIL caught locally)…we had a small, outdoor ceremony in a field in a wilderness area, with no structures or chairs or decorations and a grand total of 9 people present (just our parents and siblings)…and I wore a $40 white knee-length party dress from Target that I gave to Goodwill afterwards.

    Wow. Probably the first time in my life I was on the cutting edge of a “trend” 🙂

  2. @lazydaisydays I know the feeling! A lot of the green elements of my wedding weren’t about eco-consciousness, but rather about keeping things budget-friendly. A lot of wedding planning decisions made for other reasons can end up being green and that’s pretty sweet!

  3. Val says:

    *nod* A lot of what we call ‘green’ we used to just call ‘thrifty’.
    I like it whatever we wanna call it.

  4. Dina says:

    I love using a chalkboard with a fancy frame around it — really dresses it up nicely!