Green Weddings 101 Part 1 - Why Go Green?

With this article I am starting a series of articles about how to have a green wedding.  As a photographer with a strong commitment to the environment, I believe that you should look at ways you can limit your wedding's impact on the planet.  Depending on the size of the wedding and the number of guests, the event can create a ton of waste and leave a large carbon footprint.  To get an idea of how big of a carbon footprint is created by travel alone, take a look at the free Wedding Carbon Footprint Calculator from terrapass.  I put in an example wedding with 150 guests and it estimated a carbon footprint of 146,126 lbs CO2!   Try it with your wedding and see what you get. Going green with your dress, decorations, catering, favors, etc.. can actually save you money and give you a bigger budget for the things that won't be thrown out (like wedding photography ;) ). Here are some of the top reasons to go green with your wedding:

  1. Benefits to the environment:  There are approximately 2.5 million weddings in the United States every year.  On average, they will each produce 62 TONS of carbon dioxide and 400-600 pounds of garbage.  That's around 1,250,000,000 pounds of garbage per year total!  Some of the things that go into your typical weddings: one-time use bleached white wedding dress, chemically treated imported flowers, toxic makeup and skin care products, and mined gem-based jewelry.  I'm not saying you should eliminate all of these things; I am just trying to paint a picture.  The amount of paper used for invitations could cover the entire island of Manhattan!
  2. Social Benefits:  Making a positive impact on how we as a society treat the environment is a difficult task and it takes everyone working together.  If you make a conscious effort to support vendors and suppliers with a commitment to the environment, you have an opportunity to make a difference.  By choosing these vendors and explaining your choices to your guests, you can help change the way people think.  You also support the green economy which in turn promotes a greener community.
  3. Economic Benefits:  Going green with your wedding often saves you money.  Substituting certain items for more eco-friendly ones decreases the amount of money you need to spend to have your wedding.  Promoting car-pooling and ride sharing among your guests decreases travel costs and also limits the impact on the environment.

There are a ton of ways you can make greener choices when planning your wedding and everyone who planned a wedding made just one change, that would be 2.5 million eco-friendly changes a year!  I hope this gave you some idea about reasons to go green with your wedding.  In the following articles, I will discuss some of the decisions you can make when going green.

Credit to the Green Bride Guide for some of this information.