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Top Ten Ways to Go Green on Your Special Day

As an engaged couple, you have immense consumer power as you make all of the spending choices involved in your wedding day. Through your dollars and your preferences, you can make a difference by selecting environmentally conscious options that are good for you and for the planet.

  1. Make Informed Jewelry Choices: Whatever your ring style or preferences, consider the source of your chosen metals or gems. Jewelers like Green Karat offer rings made from high quality, recycled metals. In addition, nonprofits such as Global Witness have developed consumer questions you can ask that will help you feel good about your diamond purchases.
  2. Be Fashionably Green: Think outside the box for your wedding dress, and you may find cheaper, more unique options. How about purchasing a vintage dress that you can tailor to create a style that's all your own? If you'd prefer a new gown, there are a range of organic fabrics that can make for a beautiful, natural look. And when it comes to your bridesmaids, choose a dress option your maids will want to wear again and again.
  3. Eat Well: Give your guests a tasty and healthy meal by working with an organic caterer. If you'll be serving meat or fish, ask your caterer to consider using naturally raised meat or fish choices that are environmentally friendly. Check out the list of approved seafood from the Monterey Bay Aquarium as you make your menu choices.
  4. ...And Be Merry: As your guests raise a glass to toast your commitment, consider filling it with an organic beverage. Organic wines are a hot trend in the wine industry, and Organic Vintners is a great place to begin your search for the perfect pairing for your meal. For those who prefer a non-alcoholic beverage, try Honest Tea for a delicious, naturally brewed organic drink.
  5. Flower Power: As you picture your perfect flowers, think organic, seasonal, and potted. Most flowers in the United States are imported from South America where heavy pesticides are used, often without adequate protection for worker safety. As an alternative to these traditional production methods, consider an organic source, like Organic Bouquet. Also, work with your florist to find blooms that are in season in order to avoid the financial and environmental cost of transporting out-of-state items. And don't forget to ask about potted plants that you or your guests can enjoy long after your wedding day.
  6. Travel Light: Looking for a cool transportation option to get your guests around during your wedding weekend? Check out environmental rentals like Ozocar.com in New York City or EV Rental Cars on the West Coast. Provide travel tips for your guests that include public transportation options and help arrange for car pools when possible.
  7. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Here's a good rule of thumb for all of your wedding purchases: If it can't be reused, recyled, or consumed, rent it. When you work with vendors, ask about their recycling policy and make sure they have one. Consider what kind of recycled materials you can use throughout your ceremony, starting with your invitations on recycled or tree-free paper.
  8. Create a Green Registry: Make your home as green as your wedding with green registry options such as Green Feet and Gaiam. You can also shop your values when you create a registry with fair trade organizations like Global Exchange which ensure workers and artisans receive a living wage for the goods they produce.
  9. Be Carbon Neutral: Guests will be coming from near and far for your celebration, and all that travel has an impact on the environment. There are many programs that can help make your celebration carbon neutral by allowing you to offset carbon dioxide emissions through investments in industrial efficiency and renewable energy projects. Check out options like Terrapass and the Carbon Fund. Native Energy and Portovert now also offer a Wedding Carbon Calculator to help you calculate the carbon impact of all aspects of your celebration.
  10. Eco-honeymoons: After the festivities have drawn to a close, keep the green spirit alive with sustainable travel or eco-tourism. Rainforest Alliance will help you be a savvy green traveler whether you want to wander Paris or the rainforests of Peru. If you are looking for a honeymoon adventure that combines nature conservation with improving the lives of native peoples, check out The International Ecotourism Society. Here you will find a comprehensive list of tour operators from around the world who have agreed to meet standards for responsible ecotourism standards.
Charity Favors: Give back and share your values with a donation to charity. Make a favors donation.