How you get from here to there is sometimes an afterthought. Destinations are easy to remember: I was at home this morning, I’m at work now and I’ll probably be at the grocery store later today. That period in between — the time we spend driving or biking or walking — tends to fade into the background.
At the same time, many of us recognize transportation as a big eco-issue. Whether you fly, drive or take the bus, your transportation choices inevitably affect the environment either in a positive or negative way. So whether you’re traveling in style in a stretch limo or taking the subway to your wedding destination, how will you make sure Mother Earth is as happy as you are on your big day?
Green Wedding Transportation
Challenge: Let’s say your wedding will have 150 guests. Many of those guests are probably couples, and some of them are families, so you may have something like 50 cars driving separately to your wedding. But that’s not all. What if you picked a reception hall that’s 20 miles away from your wedding chapel? The environmental impact of those 50 cars zooming around every which way for your big day could be substantial.
Solution: Your first, most obvious course of action is probably to keep all of your locations close to each other. That means keeping your ceremony site very close to your reception site. Fortunately, many wedding halls have reception halls at the same location. If you have a really beautiful reception hall, you can have all of your guests go straight to their dinner tables and hold the ceremony right there for everybody to watch. If you’re having a back-yard or garden wedding, why not put up a tent and hold your reception in the same area?
If you have out-of-town guests staying in a hotel, try to make sure that their hotel is close to your ceremony location. You can make this easier by setting aside a group of rooms in a hotel to be reserved by your guests. Many hotels offer this service. Your guests won’t have to do any research, and you can pick the hotel closest to where your event will take place.
Another great option for keeping all those cars off the road is renting a bus for the big day. You can have the bus pick up your guests at their hotel, drive them to the ceremony, and, if need be, drive them to the reception and back to the hotel at the end of the night. This is convenient for numerous reasons. First, you won’t have any guests getting lost or not understanding your directions. Second, if you’ll be serving drinks at your reception, your guests will be safe getting back to their hotels. Third, and best, the environmental aftereffects of numerous cars on the road for your event will be swept away.
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with great public transportation, use it! Who says brides can’t ride the subway? You can even bring your photographer along and get some great shots.
The best way to save on transportation costs is to have a small wedding and only invite your very closest friends and immediate families. My wedding had less than 30 guests, and while I was standing in the chapel getting ready to say my vows, I could look out at the pews and see the faces of the people who I really wanted to share that moment with. My dad, my sister, my best friend from college — they were all right there, and I didn’t have to search for them in a sea of coworkers’ and second cousins’ faces.
Because transportation probably won’t be the most memorable part of your wedding day, it may serve you well to focus your energy elsewhere. Ten years from now, you may recall the taste of your wedding cake or the song you first danced to as husband and wife, but you probably won’t be thinking about how incredible your ride was. If transportation is a minor detail for you, you can spend the bulk of your time making sure that the important parts of your big day are special. Then, on a slow day, decide on your favorite eco-transportation option and book it.
If you’ve missed one of the first two blogs in this series, you can go back and read them here:
Lindsey Siegele is the Senior Web Editor at Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Find her on Google+.
Photo by iStockPhoto/Simone van den Berg.