You’re getting hitched! You’ve already picked out the perfect ring following the 4 C’s to a T – reCycled or reClaimed, ethiCal, and Conflict-free – so now it’s time to start planning the 4 green F’s of your wedding. Food, Flowers, Favors and Fotography.
I’m no expert on getting married — I’ve only done it once. But I do have a knack for finding ways to go green, even with some of our most wasteful traditions.
Worried about budget and the rumor that being green costs more money? The average wedding costs around $25,000 (according to multiple internet sources). We did ours for less than $12,000 with several green elements and a guest list of more than 200. Let’s get started.
Much of it travels 2,000 or more miles to get to us here in Indiana. Find a local caterer who will integrate locally sourced ingredients into your wedding feast. Speaking of feasts, that’s who catered our wedding — Feast from Bloomington. Other green gourmets that I’ve grown to love are Avec Moi and The Juniper Spoon.
If you’re working with a specific caterer because of your venue, be sure to ask if they can source locally. It’s likely that at least some of the ingredients can be found nearby and there are plenty of Indiana farmers who would love to share their bounty on your big day.
Looking for a way to serve your guests with style and sustainability in mind? Vintage Violet is a new company in town that rents vintage tableware, furniture and accessories for events. From wine glasses and dinner plates to bud vases and candlesticks to a birdcage or vintage suitcases, you’ll be able to outfit your wedding without buying new.
Yet another well-traveled element of the traditional ceremony, cut flowers typically come from South America where they’re grown with nasty pesticides and other chemicals then dipped in preservatives so they stay “fresh” during their travels. Meanwhile, there are thousands of flower varieties that are native to Indiana and some growers who are committed to preserving their beauty.
Harvest Moon Flower Farm is a small, sustainable, year-round flower farm near Spencer, Indiana. They harvest flowers the day before your big day to create fresh and seasonal bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, and other arrangements. And they’ll even dry and rework your wedding flowers into arrangements and wreaths to enjoy after the honeymoon is over.
J P Parker Flowers is another locally-owned florist with shops in Franklin and Indianapolis. Their Needham, IN, farm is known for its crop of 20,000 peony stems and 300,000 sunflowers annually – not to mention hydrangeas, delphiniums, larkspur, zinnias, coneflowers, mints, herbs and other greenery. J P Parker does not use pesticides and encourages their local bee population. As for the flowers that they don’t grow, they work with a distributor that is conscientious about their sourcing.
Another option, the path that I chose, is to cut your own flowers. Though it took a lot of faith in Mother Nature, our early-May day was fragrant with lilacs and lily of the valley. I can’t imagine having spent my wedding morning any other way than clipping beautiful flowers with my best girlfriends.
This is one area that can be the most wasteful – of our resources, money and time. Do your guests a favor by not giving them something that they’ll feel guilty about not wanting to keep! If favors are a must, get creative and think of items that are a useful reflection of your green self.
Since our cats and dogs are such an important part of our lives (and our dog, Miles, was our ring bearer), we made a donation to the Humane Society of Indianapolis in honor of our guests and gave locally made, organic dog treats from Pet Lover’s Organic Bakery (Westfield, IN) and cat toys and organic nip from Purrfect Play (Chesterton, IN). Leftovers definitely didn’t go to waste with our 4-legged family!
Other ideas: seed packets from Nature’s Crossroads Seed Company in Bloomington, organic truffles from Litterally Divine Toffee & Truffles in Carmel, locally-made lip balm from Herbal Art in Fishers, or even reusable shopping bags in your wedding colors.
If you’re having a green wedding, shouldn’t you capture each moment in a green way? There are a couple of local wedding photographers who take their commitment to the environment as seriously as your commitment to marriage – they go beyond digital proofs and recycling.
2 Pedals Photography offers a discounted Green Wedding Package for couples who commit to using at least two other green vendors or demonstrate how they’re going green on their own. As vegans, they offer animal-free, earth-friendly albums and an additional $200 savings to those committing to an animal-free wedding and reception (though I think dog ring bearers are acceptable).
Olry Photography is a husband and wife duo that are certified members of Greener Photography’s Leadership Circle, demonstrating an advanced commitment to greener business practices, greener products, and to leading the way to change in their community and the industry. They power their home office with 100% Green Energy (through IPL) and use rechargeable batteries in their equipment.
Now, repeat after me:
I <state your name>, take you, Earth, to be my lifetime companion. I promise to love you unconditionally, to honor and respect you, for better or for worse, in good times and in bad, in coldness and in warmth, to love and to cherish, from this day forward, until death do us part.
You may now hug a tree.