Low-impact Options for a More Sustainable Wedding

Reader Contribution by Marissa Hermanson and Larson Jewelers
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If you’ve made a vow to reduce your carbon footprint, you and your sweetheart can embrace sustainability on your big day, too. From saying “no” to shipping to cutting back on travel, you easily can throw a low-impact wedding celebration with environmental and social responsibility considered. Here are a few points of entry.

Choose sustainable rings. The most sustainable option is an heirloom or thrifted engagement ring and wedding band. But if you have your heart set on buying brand-new rings, consider skipping diamonds and other stones in favor of artificial diamonds and lab-grown gems, which cut back on the carbon waste. Bands made from alternative metals, such as titanium and tungsten, are created with fewer resources than solid gold. They’ll look just as beautiful on your hand and help you save precious resources.

Start a charity gift registry. Consider eschewing wedding gifts and consider a registry website where you can create a cause or charity that your wedding guests can give money to as their wedding gift. Pick a cause like environmental conservation, or choose an organization like a local wildlife refuge. You could also use an online fundraising platform to raise money and then donate it to your favorite charity yourself after the wedding. To encourage guests to donate to your cause, be sure to list the URL for your charity registry, on your save the date, or wedding invitation.

Skip the destination wedding. According to The Knot 2016 Real Weddings Study, couples are continuing the trend of saying “I do” away from home. More than 340,000 destination weddings occur each year, with around 89 percent in the U.S. and 11 percent outside of the country. While the idea of a warm, exotic locale may sound romantic, having all your guests travel around the world for your nuptials is taxing on the environment — and not to mention everyone’s wallets. Choose a venue where most of your friends and family are already located. Or, if you and your partner live in another city, consider having your nuptials back in one of your hometowns (or wherever the majority of your guests reside). That way, you’re the only ones who have to travel.

Cut back on transportation. To avoid guests driving from venue to venue and creating unnecessary carbon emissions, host your ceremony and reception at the same locale. For instance, throw your wedding bash at a botanical garden where you can say “I do” in the garden, enjoy a relaxing cocktail hour on a nearby terrace, and then celebrate with a tented reception on the property.

To ensure your wedding bash is eco-friendly, encourage guests to carpool or use a pooled ride service. Or, consider providing a shuttle, bus or other group transportation from the hotel to the venue as a thoughtful way to get guests from point A to B. A single bus ride with 50 guests is less taxing than 50 cars on the road. If you’re having your wedding in a city, encourage guests to use public transportation.

Plan a ‘Mini-moon’ or ‘Tiny moon’. Instead of a grand getaway across the country or overseas, consider a romantic retreat nearby to celebrate your newlywed status. Just because you are honeymooning nearby doesn’t mean you have to skimp on romance or experience. Hole up in a cabin or head to the nearest beach or mountain resort to enjoy your new chapter together. Or, if you really want to stay nearby, embrace the latest trend by having a “tiny moon” — a relaxing weekend staycation — at a bed and breakfast in your city.

Marissa Hermanson is a wedding expert and writer forLarson Jewelers, an online jeweler offering sustainable wedding rings like titanium wedding bands. Marissa has been published on The Knot, Southern Living, Cosmopolitan and more.

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