There are a lot of ways to make your wedding more eco-friendly, from invitations guests can plant after use to bamboo wedding dresses. Whether you prefer the edgier or the more conservative, don’t forget the PR. Getting married gives you a bully pulpit. Use your wedding as a platform for – as those of us in the public relations business call it – “getting your story heard.” Unlike those mundane eco-friendly chores you do that go unnoticed (like sorting your recycling or walking instead of driving), your wedding gives you a chance to put a spotlight on your environmental choices – which can inspire others to be a little greener, too. Here are some ways you can combine concrete eco-friendly actions with PR to get the most impact out of your choices.
Where to start: the venue. Many towns have nature centers that host ceremonies and receptions. Not only does this eliminate the emissions of traveling from ceremony to reception, the money for the venue goes toward maintaining the center and educating people about the environment. To increase your PR impact, on the “venue” page of your website you can explain how your location choice will benefit the planet.
Next up: vendors and supplies. These days there are greener options for just about everything you need to buy (or rent – usually the greener option!). Flowers that are local and in season are better than those that are not; your dress and rings can be vintage or rented or borrowed. Consider emailing invitations, or buying ones made of recycled paper. Opt for organic and/or local food if possible; book a block of rooms at an environmentally conscious hotel; and consider selecting eco-friendly options for your registry (or adding an environmental charity to it).
No matter what your choices are for this part of your wedding planning, be sure to ask vendors and suppliers about their environmental practices. Applaud them if they do have green initiatives, and if they do not, let them know you would prefer it if they did. Chances are, you are not the only one the vendor is hearing from with requests to be more eco-friendly. The more times a vendor hears these kinds of requests, the more likely they are to start taking action. Raising consciousness counts, even if it is just one vendor at a time!
Finally: include symbolic green gestures in your ceremony. For example, instead of lighting a unity candle, you could plant a unity tree. This is a concrete action that will have a big PR impact on a captive audience – your guests. It will also be memorable for your guests and tells a unique story about you and your spouse.
And if all else fails, when you come up against a situation where the eco-friendly option just isn’t practical (like purchasing electric-powered airplane transport for your out-of-town guests), you can purchase carbon offsets. Just remember: find a way – in your program, on your invitation, or through your gossipy Aunt Kathy – to let people know what choice you made and why. Hone your wedding PR skills, and each eco-friendly choice you make will have an amplified impact – making your wedding the most beautiful it can be!