Your Big Day Doesn’t Need A Big Carbon Footprint


By Sarah Baillie from The Center of Biological Diversity

There are a lot of things to consider when planning your wedding – from budget to logistics, traditions to personal preferences. And that’s just scratching the surface. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, and factors like how your wedding can affect the environment might not even cross your mind.

Even if you are worried about waste when planning your wedding, it might not be clear how you can celebrate with friends and family sustainably. How do you have a big party without a big carbon footprint?

I’ve always been passionate about protecting animals and the environment. From the beginning, it was important to my fiancé and me that our wedding reflected our values and gave back to the causes we care about.

But as I started planning my own wedding this past year, I was frustrated by the lack of information. Pinterest and Instagram don’t show what becomes of all of the decorations, flowers and favors once the party is over. And wedding planners typically don’t run through the carbon footprint of menu options.

I work at the Center for Biological Diversity, fighting unsustainable population growth and overconsumption. That’s why I developed the Wildlife-friendly Wedding Guide.

It compiles recommendations to have a more Earth-friendly wedding. The guide has suggestions for each step in the wedding planning process and illustrates the differences in emissions between choices.

Some of the largest contributors to an individual carbon footprint are venue and transportation. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these are also the biggest players in a wedding’s carbon footprint.

(image via Medium)

Want a destination wedding? Everyone has to hop on a plane, which causes tons of carbon emissions. Want to serve a prime rib entrée? That amount of red meat will be costly for you and the planet.

Even if you aren’t planning a far-away wedding or a meat-heavy menu, the choices you make are multiplied for each of your guests.

If you want to give your guests favors, avoid additional waste by opting for something edible. Or you can give something that’s beneficial to wildlife like seed bombs for native species that local pollinators will love.

When it comes to gifts, your guests ultimately choose what to give, but a registry allows you to offer guidance.

It’s becoming more common for couples to live together before getting married and already have what they need for their home. That’s why charitable giving is an excellent alternative to traditional gifts.

By registering for donations to your favorite charities, you’re also sharing more about you as a couple with your guests. Your friends and family will learn a little more about the causes that are important to you.

The Good Beginning facilitates a charitable giving registry. You can even choose multiple organizations for guests to donate to.

Making wildlife-friendly choices when planning your wedding not only protects the planet, it’s a way to share your values with your nearest and dearest. And it’s an opportunity to demonstrate more sustainable choices that others can follow to set a good example for the rest of the wedding industry.

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