Congratulations! So, you’re getting married.

Did you know the average wedding costs between $25,000 and $30,000? The things you could do with that money.

An eco-friendly nuptial event can be cheaper and better for the planet. So, what better way to start your journey together, then an environmentally-friendly wedding and reception party in Atlanta, Georgia. Have a planet-conscious party for your special day and your children will thank you one day.

To get you started, here are some ideas to incorporate for your planet-friendly wedding and reception in the Peachtree State.

 Planning Makes It Perfect

Checklist Green

• Plan a green wedding checklist outlining all the venue and vendor options and things that are important to you on your wedding day.

• Do your research on environmentally friendly options for all aspects of your wedding, reception, bridal shower (drop hints for ideas!), bachelorette, bachelor parties and your honeymoon.

• And remember, the key is Recycle Recycle Recycle!

Selecting a Venue for the Planet

Marietta • Pick a beautiful outdoor location for your wedding and reception. Think green spaces – parks, arboreteums, botanical gardens, organic farms, peach tree orchards, museum gardens. Places that put you in touch with the environment and reinforce that you made the correct choice!

 Alcovy Conservation Center, Marietta Educational Garden Center (see belowTullie Smith Farm, Chukkar Farm & Polo Club

• Think about using the same venue for your wedding festivities and the reception to minimize travel. Or provide hybrid transportation for guests between locations.

• Consider  a special environmentally-friendly local spot such as a museum, gallery, loft or restaurant, café. Emory University has made an investment to nurturing a green University. Also discover the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University

• Select a venue with natural light and lots of windowsGlendalough Manor

• Make sure the wedding and reception venue is centrally located for all your guests so they can stroll over or car-pool to minimize travel emissions. Another idea is to calculate the mileage traveled by all your guests and consider a tree-planting event to offset the carbon dioxide emissions produced by travel.

Vendors that Vibe with You and the Planet

• Chat with your vendors about how they recycle, re-use and minimize waste. For caterers in Atlanta – A Dish in a Dash Catering Company

• Ask vendors if they support or donate to charitable and environmental causes

• Select one vendor for as many things as possible– tent, chairs etc, to minimize transportation for delivery and to reduce the carbon footprint of your event. Here are some local tent vendors – A1 Tent and Party Rentals

Go Green With Hotels and Transportation

Green Trash Bin • Select green hotels for guest accommodations. Ask if the hotel recycles products, uses solar energy for heating and donates to charitable causes. The Emory Conference Center Hotel was Green Seal approved in 2004 and is a member of the Green Hotels Association. 

• Provide your guests with a list of green hotels and inns in the area.

• Offer public transportation options and consider hybrid transportation options to shuttle your guests between venues.  Encourage your guests to make car pool arrangements to get to your wedding or reception.

• Offset the carbon footprint of all the travel your wedding and honeymoon will entail and have your wedding guests plant trees to restore the balance

• Select travel agents, hotels, transportation providers and airlines that are environmentally-friendly and donate a percentage of their profits to an environmental or charitable organization

Tree-Free Invitations

Eventation • Send invitations by email. Send an Eventation from Eventective and use our Planner Tools to track guest responses

• Avoid printing costs – create a website with details of the wedding

• Sending invitations by snail mail? Consider unbleached,chloride or chlorine free paper containing 20%-100% post-consumer recycled or tree-free fiber content. Use vegetable- and soy-based inks.

• Browse tree-free paper invitation options at Of The Earth. Some invitations come with seeds embedded so your guests can plant their invitations and have a plant to remember you by!  Also consider self-mailers to reduce costs and paper consumption

Flowers – Make It Last

Flowers

 

• Stay local. Pick seasonal flowers to reduce the transportation of exotic blooms from faraway destinations. Or better still, grow your own flowers for the wedding!

• Select a florist that buys flowers locally, preferably from organic farms

• Decorate your wedding and reception venue with potted plants

 A Dress For All Ages 

• Select a used or vintage creation. Recycle the dress. Donate to charity or a relative.

• Select an organic cotton, organic silk or hemp dress prefereably with natural vegetable dyes. You can do your own embroidery or better still, have a relative work with you to embroider your dress.

• Feeling creative! Sew your own dress and make an heirloom to pass through the generations

Rings – Make it Forever

Rings and Grass • Consider heirloom or vintage rings for your wedding

• Insist on diamonds mined in Canada or Australia, such as Brilliant Earth, Cred Jewellery, or Leber Jewelry's Earthwise line. Diamonds can be certified as "conflict-free" under the Kimberley Process – an ongoing effort to reform diamond mining in Africa (ask your jeweler the questions in Amnesty International's Buyer's Guide)

• Purchase wedding rings from greenKarat – Ecologically Responsible Jewelry – Weddings & Commitments

Serve Your Guests

• Make sure there is zero waste at your wedding and reception! Be careful with attendee counts to minimize waste

• Select organic and seasonal menu choices, Select food from sources that practice sustainable farming

• Serve locally brewed beer and wine at your party

• Plan for compostable plates and cups

• Extra food left? Compost or donate food to a local food bank or shelter

Wedding Favors for the Planet

• A popular trend, 'green' wedding favors could include tree saplings, soy wax candles, flower bulbs, seed packets, potted plants etc. Visit Favor Ideas

• Use your wedding to raise money for charity.

Green Gifts

• Start a bridal registry for your wedding at an eco-conscious retailer. For furniture, consider Bed Down 

• Consider a wedding registry that donates money to charitable causes. Visit the I Do Foundation's partner stores to see how it works.

• Instead of gifts consider having your guests donate to environmental groups and causes of your choice

• Be clear and let your guests know if you do not want gifts and prefer donations to an environmental or charitable organization of your choice

• Select local gifts from Eco-Chic Shopping Guide

• For a unique gift idea, how about recycled cashmere sweaters woven into a luxurious teddy bear – Visit Teddylux Cashmere where teddy bears are made in a century-old refurbished rug factory right in downtown Atlanta GA!

Photographer

• Go Digital to save paper and chemicals. 

• Consider asking your guests to share your wedding and reception photos online thru online services such as Flickr or Snapfish

• Create a memory photobook with Shutterfly.

Honeymoon

• Consider sustainable travel options, also known as geotourism or ecotourism, in locations such as Sri Lanka, Queensland, Australia, or Belize.  Consider travel options with Sierra Club

• Travel to areas where you can assist with relief and reconstructive efforts.

Visit Send Us Off for ideas on honeymoon destinations that can make you and the planet feel good!

Happy Home 

• Ready to nest? Build a green home EcoDecorating

So have a love affair for two – the planet and your soon-to-be spouse!

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