Modern brides-to-be are focusing more and more on minimizing the carbon footprint of their special day, so beyond something borrowed and something blue, they are leaning toward a touch of something green.
Here are a half-dozen ways to lower the environmental impact of your wedding without sacrificing style.
One of the easiest ways to reduce wedding waste is to opt for trendy, digital “e-vites” over paper invitations.
Though shockingly untraditional, digital invitations are far from offensive in today's “plugged-in” society, says Central Point wedding designer Shelly Dunlap, owner of Exclusively Yours Weddings. For older relatives who might take offense, or who aren't online, send a simple invite printed on recycled paper.
For floral arrangements and bouquets, avoid impacts of shipping and unknown foreign chemicals by choosing flowers grown locally and, if possible, organically.
“We use local flowers whenever we can in order to have fewer miles on the flowers that come in and because it is greener,” says LouAnn David, owner of Ashland's Flower Tyme.
For added sentiment, add wildflowers or roses from a relative's garden. Other green options are to create centerpieces from potted green plants or herbs, using recycled containers.
“I had a bride who went to flea markets and got a different vase for each table,” says Davis.
“She had an old-fashioned vase, an antique pitcher, a Mason jar. It was a beautiful, outdoor, summer wedding reception, and no new glass was used.”
If the wedding will include a meal, support the local economy and offer more healthful fare by buying fresh, local foods. The Rogue Valley offers an array of locally made wines, world-renowned cheese and chocolates and an endless supply of organic vegetables and meats.
Another way to be environmentally correct is to minimize trash from the meal, so forgo paper and plastic in favor of real dishes.
“A lot of people have gone to plastic instead of paper because they're a little sturdier when it comes to buffet dinners, but you can be a little more eco-friendly — and it's even fancier — if you just step toward real dishes,” says Dunlap.
One of heftiest costs in any wedding is bridal wear, which is virtually useless after the photos have been snapped. But vintage and previously worn bridal wear is becoming popular. Some charities, such as Brides Against Breast Cancer, raise money for good causes by selling used gowns.
Medford entrepreneur Louise Kish, who started her online business, www.experiencedweddingdress.com, last summer, says interest is on the rise.
“I started this because, for 28 years, I've been looking at my own wedding dress in the closet, and it's something where you don't want to throw it away and don't want to give it to Goodwill,” says Kish.
Used dresses can be altered for between $50 and $75, meaning brides can, essentially, purchase a used dress for less than $200 and, says Kish, “wear a $2,000 dress on her wedding day.”
If new is the only option, consider dresses made of organic materials or shop with companies supporting fair trade.
Brides who want to minimize the global impact of their wedding jewelry will have to do some research. Gold and silver mining are among the more polluting industries on the planet. One way around that is to add “something old” into your wedding by having a family heirloom re-created.
When it comes to stones, most diamonds imported new into the U.S. are certified conflict-free under the Kimberly Process, says Rogue Valley Coin and Jeweler's Andrea Hutto.
For additional options, online jewelers like Green Diva (www.greendivabridal.com), offer jewelry from suppliers, miners and cutting workshops that practice fair trade and abide by environmental standards.
If you're considering a carbon-neutral getaway, travel websites such as Travelocity and Expedia offer programs that let travelers purchase carbon points to offset their honeymoon. Newlyweds can calculate wedding and honeymoon impacts at websites such as www.nativeenergy.com and www.terrapass.com.
Going green in every aspect of a wedding may be nearly impossible, but any bride and groom can find a few simple ways to embark on their new lives together with some healthy planetary mojo.