A place setting at a green themed wedding, held Earth Day Weekend in Fort Worth by former Green Source DFW reporter Brandi Addison. Photo by Gwendolyn Meador.
June 29, 2022
Tying the knot is a major decision that will create lasting memories but it can also create huge amounts of waste that will last in the landfill for generations. Many couples are choosing to lessen their impact on the planet as they celebrate one of the happiest days of their lives.
An eco-friendly table spread features recycled glasses along with compostable plates and utensils. Photo by Gwendolyn Meador.
The green wedding that originally inspired us to pursue this story happened earlier this year. That's when Brandi Addison, former reporter for GreenSourceDFW.org, held her wedding Earth Day weekend at Historic Azalea Estates in Fort Worth. The eco-conscious writer, who has since joined the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, put her green stamp on the event.
“We did a tree planting as our unity ceremony, purchased locally sourced alcohols and recycled glasses and provided compostable cups, plates and utensils,” Addison said. “We also tossed bird seed instead of rice and gave wildflowers as gifts.”
Since then, I have attended two weddings where the couples put an eco-friendly spin on the nuptials. Here are some ideas I gleaned that may spark your own eco-wedding creativity.
REUSE, RECYCLE AND RENT
Bouquets for a wedding held recently in Dallas were rented from Something Borrowed Blooms. Photo by Leah Jeffers.
When Dallas native Claire Stuart Meiner and her betrothed, Anders Jacobson, planned their nuptials, green was the word of the day.
Both had recently graduated from Texas A&M and were headed to Washington DC for new careers, Claire in Child Professional Services and Anders in Environmental Studies, but not before joining in matrimony, witnessed by friends and family in Dallas.
Origami butterflies were made by the mother of the bride's students. Photo by Leah Jeffers.
Claire’s mother, my friend Jennifer Stuart, has been passing her respect for nature and ecology onto Claire since she was a baby. So it was a labor of love for both of them to plan this special event together.
From the very beginning, Claire and Anders had eco in mind. Even their invitations were printed on 100 percent post-consumer paper by PaperCulture.com, a company that plants a tree with every order. Claire’s engagement ring and the couple’s wedding rings were reworked from those of Anders’ family members which gave them extra-special meaning.
Claire’s tea party-themed wedding shower was hosted at a friend’s home with rented mismatched dishes and teacups. A generous nosh included fare supplied by Texas-based grocer Central Market and included delicate finger sandwiches and a variety of teas.
Rented mismatched plates, cups and silverware add a vintage flair. The centerpieces were created with thrift-store vases filled with locally-sourced wildflowers from JustPickedTX.com and Trader Joes.
Claire’s bridesmaids wore mismatched gowns of their own choosing rather than the typical gowns that are often single-use only.
When the big day arrived, Central Christian Church in Dallas provided all needed furniture and the sanctuary was decorated with lovely rented flowers from SomethingBorrowedBlooms.com. Claire and her bridesmaids’ bouquets were also rented. Rented mismatched plates, cups and silverware made up the charming vintage table settings. Centerpieces were created using thrift-store vases filled with locally-sourced wildflowers from JustPickedTX.com and a few extras from Trader Joes.
In addition, Stuart’s students at Seed Preschool folded whimsical origami butterflies from repurposed paper that literally danced across the tables. Rented string lights hung overhead. The reception dinner of vegetarian lasagna was catered by Celebration Restaurant, known for their locally-sourced cuisine.
Guests used their phone lights to send the bride and groom off. Photo by Leah Jeffers.
As evening approached and it was time to bid farewell to Claire and Anders, guests used the flashlights on their phones to create a swirled effect for the wedding photographs, without the mess of throwing rice. A fitting beginning to their new life together and commitment to protection of the planet.
My niece and native Texan Natalie Patton met her husband-to be, Ben Waites, on karaoke app called Smule and they fell in love over their joy of singing together.
When they decided to become a duet for life, they announced their union with digital invitations, eliminating the need for printing (Pine Tide Co on Etsy).
Tablecloths were created from recycled paper. Thrift-store vases filled with locally-sourced flowers served as centerpieces. Photo by Marjorie Lombard.
They chose a venue in Louisiana that was a halfway point for friends and family members, minimizing travel distances as much as possible.
As stewards of the planet, they knew that they wanted to be eco-friendly in their lives together, honoring Mother Earth as much as they do each other.
For her dress, Natalie chose to support a small maker on Etsy. She also chose complementary bridesmaid gowns that could be worn later as street dresses and all shoes were supplied by Toms, a B Corporation known for their ethical practices. Business suits were worn by Ben and his side of the wedding party.
Natalie’s engagement ring, by Andrea Bonelli, was forged from recycled gold and repurposed sapphires. Her wedding band from Brilliant Earth in Dallas was crafted from recycled gold and ethically-sourced diamonds. Jewelry by Johan, known for their unique found materials, created Ben’s wedding band.
As guests entered the church, they were pleasantly surprised by a lone bagpiper playing a soulful Scottish tune as a homage to Natalie’s heritage. During the ceremony, Ben also sang a sweet rendition of You Steal My Heart Away to his lovely bride.
A children’s table features crayons and art supplies. Photo by Marjorie Lombard.
For the reception, tablecloths and napkins were created from recycled paper (and composted afterwards), including a children’s table complete with crayons and art supplies. Repurposed lace runners and thrift-store vase centerpieces held locally-sourced flowers that were arranged by Natalie’s aunties, including me, More flowers decorated the wedding cake. Thrift store candles topped holders styled by Ben’s grandfather from fallen tree limbs.
A delicious and locally-sourced lunch was supplied by a local bakery.
The couple has settled in Nashville as Ben pursues his music career. Watch for him soon on America’s Got Talent.
Labeled bins make recycling easy for wedding guests at Brandi Addison's wedding. Photo by Gwendolyn Meador.
GREEN WEDDING TIPS
• Consider digital invitations or use recycled or seed-infused paper as well as vegetable-based inks.
• Choose eco-friendly goods for your registry.
• Choose vintage, recycled, sustainable or repurposed engagement rings and wedding bands.
• Consider a location that minimizes travel for guests.
• Hire local talent for musical accompaniment.
• Rent rather than buy whenever possible.
• Avoid single-use anything especially single-use plastics.
• Support local and USA vendors.
• Consider an outdoor venue to save on heating and air conditioning as well as decor.
• Choose locally-sourced, meatless meals for your celebration.
• Go organic for food and spirits.
• Think about after-waste and ethical disposal such as composting, gifting or donation of leftovers, materials and decor.
• Everyone at the wedding should be made aware of the fact that it’s green. When guests observe how the couple cares about waste and the environment, it may have an influence on their own lifestyle choices.
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