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Kimberley Stark of Leaf it Up to Us, an eco-friendly wedding planning company in Jasper, Alta., shares some fun, simple and stylish ways to create a wedding day that will cut your carbon footprint without compromising your vision.
1. Choose the right venue
Make sure the space you choose won't generate more waste than necessary. This includes tossing out large quantities of disposable decorations, flowers and food.
"Buffets are popular but often result in large amounts of food being thrown away," says Stark. "It's important to be aware of what your venue’s policies are regarding this matter."
If you seek out a venue that makes it part of their mission to donate untouched food to shelters or community centresthen it's likely that the rest of the waste will be handled in an equally conscious manner.
2. Buy wedding favours from local businesses
When it comes to wedding favours, spare your guests the usual trinkets (likely shipped from far and wide) and introduce them to a great local business that can provide something memorable.
"For favours I like to encourage something edible that will be enjoyed, not just left on a shelf to collect dust. Here in Jasper we often get great treats from The Bear's Paw Bakery that are always a hit with brides and their guests," says Stark. People will appreciate a token from your wedding with a story behind it and will enjoy it even more if they know it’s supporting the local community, she explains.
3. Keep your wedding close to home
Destination weddings can be an exhilarating splurge, but if reducing the carbon footprint of your wedding is important to you, a local ceremony is the way to go.
"Many people overlook the carbon expenditure of travelling in small groups from place to place on your wedding day," says Stark. For a unique, off-the-map location that doesn’t necessitate too much travel, she suggestsplanning to have your wedding at a local farm or nature conservatory.
Page 1 of 2 -- From hiring a green wedding planner to selecting a vintage gown, discover three more ways to have a green wedding on page 2.
4. Ask the right questions
You don't want your caterers to show up with scads of Styrofoam or plastic, or your invitations to come with unnecessary amounts of paper if you're not expecting it. Doing your research on vendors will save you any surprises, Stark advises.
"What does the vendor do in their business that makes them environmentally conscious? What are their green policies? Asking questions not only informs the couple, but it also lets vendors know that it is important to be green-aware and that it's something that's in demand and worth the effort," says Stark.
5. Wear a vintage wedding dress
If you're envisioning your perfect gown to be as environmentally conscious as the rest of your wedding, do some research and find a designer to match.
"There are plenty of eco-friendly designers out there -- too many to name -- and they have amazingly beautiful designs," Stark says.
An eco-friendly designer will work with you one-on-one to create a personal, perfect custom-made treasure you'll keep forever. If that isn't in your budget, choose a pre-loved dress with a story, Stark advises. "Try vintage shops. Reduce and reuse are the first two of the three Rs, and it's easy to embrace these by reducing purchases and reusing what is already out there. A simple alteration can bring new life and elegance to a preloved dress."
6. Hire a green wedding planner
Just like many products that claim to be eco-friendly, the wedding industry is not without its green imitations. "There is so much information out there, much of it misleading," warns Stark.
If planning a green event is uncharted territory for you, you may want to hire a wedding planner who haswith green values to help steer you in the right direction. "Many eco-friendly planners offer consultation as well as full wedding-planning services. The hope is to make a difference by helping direct brides on how they can make a difference not just on their big day, but every day," says Stark.
A green wedding is a beautiful way to express your love for your spouse and your commitment to the earth. An event that is as natural, pure and creative as your daily life is also a unique way to spice up the traditional white wedding. These tips show that greening your wedding will make a big impression, but doesn't have to be a stressful undertaking.
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Plan the most beautiful wedding you can imagine with expert tips and helpful advice from our special wedding planning guide.