Wedding season is in the air, but after all the dancing, champagne toasting, and celebrating, what's left behind is often an ugly mess—up to half a ton of garbage, food trucked in from hundreds of miles away that winds up being wasted, and junky favors that often wind up in the landfill.
(On just a quarter-acre of land, you can produce fresh, organic food for a family of four—year-round. Rodale's The Backyard Homestead shows you how; get your copy today.)
Green weddings can save tons of carbon pollution and keep tons of garbage out of landfills—a major positive in itself—but you can also enjoy some immediate benefits of greening your wedding. At the top of that list? Saving mega money. "Green weddings have absolutely moved mainstream, which is really exciting," says Kate Harrison, author of The Green Bride Guide: How to Create an Earth-Friendly Wedding on Any Budget, "Less impact on the Earth is a major motivator, but another is the desire to save money."
A David's Bridal survey found that nearly half (46 percent) of couples consider incorporating eco-friendly components into their wedding festivities. That's great news, because it's been reported that the average wedding creates 400 to 600 pounds of garbage and 63 tons of carbon pollution.
It's easy to associate a green wedding with more expense, but the truth is you will most often save money by slash your celebration's carbon footprint. Romance novel author Maya Rodale, whose family founded Rodale Press and the Rodale Organic Institute, threw her own green wedding with her family, and was able to cut out unnecessary expenses while still planning the wedding she wanted.
When greening your own wedding, always remember it's not all or nothing, and every small eco-upgrade you make is helping the human race and the planet. "Make the better, greener choices where you can, and don’t stress what you can’t," suggests Rodale. "My menu will be totally organic because I know a great caterer who does that. My dress is not at all organic because I didn’t love any of the eco-gowns I found." Here are 6 tips to get you started: