1. Reduce & Reuse
The key to an eco-friendly wedding that's still style-conscious is to simplify. Reusing accents or materials doesn't just save money, it saves resources. Work with what you've got nearby (and in season) and feel good about your efforts.
2. Choose a Site with Significance
Look for a space that will benefit from your event, like a museum, a cultural organization, or an art gallery. Ask how the site will use your fee (hopefully toward new programs and upkeep of the institution). Want an outdoor wedding? Opt for a botanical garden, arboretum, or the grounds of a historic home -- it's likely you can even find one run by a nonprofit organization.
3. Recycle Your Decor
Decorate your wedding ceremony space with items you can reuse at the reception, whether it's topiaries that go from the altar to the entryway or arrangements that decorate the program table and dress up your guest book area. You'll save money and waste less. When the evening is over, plan to donate the pieces to a nursing home or hospital. Call ahead to see if you can arrange a pickup from your site.
4. Decorate with Bamboo
A great and modern-looking option, bamboo is considered one of the most sustainable materials on earth -- it can grow up to two feet a day, "So it takes only three to seven years to mature, as opposed to 120 years for some nice oak!" explains Ariel Dekovic, coauthor of 365 Ways to Save the Earth. Use tall stalks of curly bamboo in centerpieces, or choose bamboo chargers for your reception tables. And of course, mini stalks of lucky bamboo are always a favorite favor.
5. Arrive in (Low Emission) Style
A Prius limo? That might not yet be a reality, but there are ecologically friendly options out there. If your wedding is near the water, leave your ceremony in a canoe. We've also seen couples depart on tandem bicycles, rickshaws, or old-school conveyances like a horse and buggy. Find wedding transportation ideas in your area.
6. Light Soy Candles
Candlelight isn't only romantic, it's energy efficient. Look for soy candles -- they're made from a renewable resource, are cleaner and longer burning than regular candles, plus spills are easy to clean (just use soap and hot water). They're available in nearly every size, shape, color, and scent you can imagine.