On the big day we can get so wrapped up in having only the most beautiful and best things, the glitter can utterly blind us, so that we tend to forget about a very important thing, our environment. What can we do to have more environmentally friendly weddings, how can we be responsible brides? Zsuzsi Madarász, wedding planner, offers 5 + 1 tips to help more and more couples realize a green wedding.
1. The venue
If you would like to celebrate your wedding in an environmentally friendly way, then it is worth choosing a venue for the ceremony, the reception, and accommodation where environment values are of primary importance. In Hungary there are a growing number of bio-hotels, event centres and restaurants available to the young couple where environment awareness is practised. Zsuzsi also recommends that when planning a green wedding the various venues should be close to each other, so that the guests do not have to get into a car, there is more time for enjoying the day, and less carbon-dioxide emitted into the air.
2. Wedding dress
One of the most important questions’ for the bride is of course the wedding dress, everyone would like to dazzle like a princess on their wedding day. When choosing a dress from a dress hire company, few people realize how many chemical processes such as disinfecting, whitening, and starching to mention just a few are involved, and their harmful effect on both the environment and the body. Further, the borrowed dress will never be yours. Therefore it is worth having a wedding dress designer sew a dress for you to perfectly fit your taste and shape. You can show your support for the Hungarian fashion industry, and also wear the dress on another occasion: colour it with an environmentally friendly dye, and your original cocktail dress or evening gown is ready to wear!
Decorations can be an expensive item on the list, therefore it is worth making the simpler items yourself. DIY decor is very popular, and adds a personal touch. Choose old, no longer used material and natural raw materials to decorate in keeping with the green wedding feeling. For more complicated, time consuming decorations leave it to an expert who has the necessary knowledge and materials.
Tip: Combine making the simpler decorations with the hen party! You can enjoy a real girly programme doing the preparations together, and some unique craft work can be created too. But be careful! Only pop the champagne after the decorations are ready!
4. Wedding accessories
An essential part of the wedding, but which can be easily overlooked. Let’s be environmentally friendly in the details too, for example regarding the rice or flower petals. At the end of the ceremony the guests can throw environmentally friendly artificial snowflakes made of biodegradable material. Alternatively the guests can throw millet instead of rice, which the birds will enjoy later.
Has anyone ever thought how many sheets of paper are “consumed” because of a wedding? Let’s try to use recycled paper in every situation from the seating cards through to the menu, even the wedding invitations can be from recycled material. Today there is a great range of beautiful synthetic paper available, don’t be afraid to explore this option.
Choose seasonal flowers for both the decorations and the bouquets, do not import floral creations from abroad. Bouquets made from Hungarian wild flowers are becoming more and more popular, as is greenery, using green plants and lush leaves.
5. Wedding menu
Many people think that mainly dishes made from bio-ingredients can be environmentally friendly, but this is not entirely true. It is much more important to create the menu from ingredients sourced from local producers, thus decreasing the emissions due to transport. By choosing seasonal and regional ingredients, we can support small Hungarian producers and entrepreneurs as part of the green wedding. Thus the guests have the opportunity to try the food and drink specialities of an area which may be new for them. (For a vegan wedding menu click here for an interview with Kristóf Steiner.)
The wedding cake is the highlight of the reception, and this can also be planned from an environmentally friendly approach. Instead of fondant cakes choose a “naked cake” decorated with seasonal fruit or flowers. If you don’t want to be bothered with the leftover slices of cake then choose smaller bite size sweets, for example cupcakes or cake pop instead of a cake.
+1. Social sensitivity
Despite being left to the last this is one of the most important points of all. It is not only good to receive but also to give, and this is a good maxim to keep in mind at our own wedding. We can bring joy to others by spending our money wisely, and by giving the leftover decorations to a good cause. Zsuszi works in cooperation with several Hungarian foundations and associations, and she suggests sourcing the guests favours from foundations who create handmade products. It may be a bonbon,or a small hand made gift, and in exchange we can help the foundation by making a financial donation. Another kind gesture is to bring the flowers to a local old people’s home for the residents to enjoy after the green wedding.
Of course no-one is expected to keep each and every one of these points regarding a green wedding, but by realizing some of these things we can already claim to have made a strong contribution to the environment with our green philosophy.