A Humanist wedding is by its very nature “alternative“. While “green” or eco weddings may now be more common than they used to be, I’ve enjoyed reading recently about the growth of environmentally friendly weddings. I thought then, given my ethical obligation as a Humanist (whether we are secular, Jewish, Christian or otherwise) to make this world a better place for all of the earth’s inhabitants, that I’d share my top 10 ways we can make these awesome and profound events more environmentally friendly and thus, even more meaningful.
1) Let’s start with invitations. Opt for recycled or paperless invitations.
2) Keep a small guest list. Not only will that make it easier to book
a venue or hold it in a park, backyard or in a home but will naturally consume less, produce less waste and cost less.
3) Low Carbon Wedding – Source as much as you can locally, organically and where possible – in-season.
4) Ditch the disposables – plates, cups, cutlery. With catering services,
restaurants and home weddings you can ensure there is nothing
5) Flowers – An alternative to traditional floral arrangements also includes using potted plants that your guests can take home and replant in their gardens.
6) Go for “green” party favours. Preferably those from stores that
sell Fair Trade and/or items with non-toxic ingredients – Fair Trade
Coffee and Chocolate, Beeswax candles, etc. Consumable products are best or something that can be planted — nothing that hits the landfill.
7) Wedding photos – While I am still a fan of printed photos, there are companies now that create wedding picture books that use more environmentally material and a lot less of it.
8) Wedding Dress – There are gorgeous pre-loved options here. One online option is Vintageous. Sadly, the Green Gown is temporarily closing its doors – hopefully reopening soon.
9) Rings – Not all jewelery is produced ethically. Blood Diamonds or conflict diamonds are particularly problematic. There are a few ways to avoid paying for unethical mining and shipping practices: The first is to buy a pre-loved or vintage wedding or engagement ring. The other is by purchasing through organizations that properly track their diamonds for instance to ensure they are mined and shipped ethically.
10) Honeymoons – There are many more environmentally responsible ways to honeymoon these days and many newlyweds are embracing those ideas. While some of the ideas still involve plane travel, you could further reduce your environmental footprint and avoid both car and plane travel instead of opting for the train if possible.