If you’re saying “I Do” this year, congratulations! Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking, and in all the to-do it’s easy to forget that our weddings can have a huge impact on our environment, and the world.
Eco-weddings (which are also often called fair trade or “ethical” weddings) are becoming the newest trend as more couples try and minimize the negative impact of their celebration, and focus on having a sustainable and mindful event.
Don’t worry, though. It’s not as difficult as it might sound! Having an eco-wedding simply means you’re aware of the environmental and social impacts of your celebrations. Here are a few tips to help get you started…
Having an Eco- or Fair-Trade Wedding…
- Make sure your rings are fair-trade and conflict free. Most jewelry comes from countries like Africa, where the profits from the gold and diamonds fund groups that commit horrible atrocities in that country. Getting your jewelry from conflict-free sources, like Canada, means you’re not contributing to war or terrorist groups.
- If you’re going to give your bridesmaids or groomsmen gifts, then why not give them ethical, fair-trade gifts? Handmade purses or jewelry from our shop would make a great choice because the sale of each bag goes to help women in India and Nepal get out of poverty and live a better life.
- When choosing a dress, try and find a designer that uses sustainable, fair-trade fabrics. Or, you could minimize your impact on the environment buy purchasing a used gown. RecycledBride.com is a wonderful resource for finding (and selling!) used wedding dresses, jewelry, bridesmaids gowns, table decorations, and more. You can also find some stunningly beautiful vintage and fair trade gowns at TheWayWeWore.com.
- You can also help reduce your impact by calculating your wedding’s footprint through TerraPass. This unique calculator will help you see just how much carbon dioxide your event will put into the atmosphere. The good news? You can help offset this negative impact by making a donation through TerraPass to fund renewable energy sources. You can see the calculator here.
- When it comes time for your reception,think about the environment. Put out recycling bins for plastic and paper products, and use reusable dishes and cloth napkins. You could also serve fair trade coffee with the wedding cake!
- When decorating for your reception, think local and think natural. Instead of decorating with exotic (and expensive) flowers flown in from thousands of miles away, why not put out pots of local wildflowers, or even potted ferns or moss? Bamboo is also a wonderfully sustainable way to decorate because bamboo grows incredibly fast (up to two feet per day!).
- If you’re putting together guest bags, then get creative. Use fair trade chocolates, soy candles, and other eco-friendly gifts!
As you can see, putting on a fair trade or eco-friendly wedding doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, it often saves money. At heart, a fair trade wedding is all about looking at your actions and how they’re going to affect the lives of people around the world, and the environment we’re all living in.