Eco-Friendly Wedding Series No. 8: Green Wedding Gifts and Eco-Friendly Wedding Favors

Reader Contribution by Lindsey Siegele
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I think it was somewhere around month six of wedding planning that I started begging my husband to run away with me and elope. Of course I was looking forward to my wedding, and I couldn’t wait to walk down the aisle. But the stress of planning has a way of seeping into all aspects of life, and I began to wonder if this was worth all the hassle.

I assure you that, while I still contend that eloping would have been perfectly fine with me, our wedding day was worth any damage I might have incurred. Celebrating your union with your friends and family will only happen this one time (unless you’re a celebrity — then it can happen with all the bells and whistles every year).

So far in this eco-friendly wedding series, you’ve learned how to find the most eco-friendly rings and stationery. I’ve talked about green transportation, venues and wedding dresses. In my last two blogs, I covered the topics of wedding décor and, my favorite, food. Now that you know more about how your wedding can give back to, rather than take away from, Mother Earth, it’s time to finally figure out the best ways to give gifts to one another.

Green Wedding Gifts and Eco-Friendly Wedding Favors

Challenge: Despite your best efforts to be creative, your guests may not be quite as excited as you are about “Him + Her Forever” beer cozies or monogrammed picture frames, and nobody wants their wedding favors to end up in the trash.

Solution: There are a number of fun and creative ways to thank your guests for attending your wedding that won’t hurt the environment. You may have already guessed that my favorite option is food. Send your guests home with your mom’s homemade cookies or candies from your local chocolate store. You can wrap everything with paper or let your guests grab them on their way out. Gifts that disappear within minutes are the epitome of earth kindness.

Here are some other ideas for green wedding favors that your guests will love:

  • Make a donation to your favorite charity or environmental organization in your guests’ names.
  • Give each of your guests a seedling to plant when they get home. Their growing tree will always remind them of your special day. (Remember, if you have guests who traveled long distances for your wedding, they probably won’t be excited about trying to take a seedling on an airplane. Give them seed packets instead.)
  • The seed bomb trend is sweeping the nation, and many of these couldn’t be cuter. If you’ve never heard of seed bombs, they’re small balls of packed dirt or clay with seeds inside. Your guests can plant the bombs in their gardens or go rogue and toss them in vacant lots around town to grow. It’s hard to describe how cool seed bombs are, so visit seller visualingual to see their beautiful seed bomb pouches. Guerilla Gardening explains the seed bomb revolution.
  • Forego wedding favors altogether. Favors are by no means necessary, and your guests probably won’t even notice their absence.

Challenge: Either you’ve been living with your significant other for so long already that registering for a vacuum cleaner hardly makes sense, or the typical china-and-candlestick registries aren’t for you.

Solution: These days, there are a lot of great options for unique wedding registries. You can register for something creative, like donations to your favorite environmental organization or conservation group, and spread the wedding love. The I Do Foundation has even made it easy by allowing you to create an online registry for donations to one or many non-profits. Their environmental non-profit list includes the Rainforest Alliance, the National Wildlife Federation and the National Resources Defense Council among others. You can even pick a charity that isn’t on their recommended list.

Throughout the wedding-planning process, it can be easy to get bogged down by the details. Remember, your wedding should be a joyous occasion filled with love and laughter. I hope that your special day is beautiful and that your union brings you joy for many years to come. Have a happy, eco-friendly wedding!

Lindsey Siegele is the Senior Web Editor at Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Find her on .

Photo by iStockPhoto/GrenouilleFilms.