Easy Tips to Plan a Green, Earth-friendly Wedding: To Love, Honor and Cherish the Earth

A couple celebrates their union in keeping with their values.

| May/June 2007

I remember details from my wedding with photographic clarity: a sea of white tables, adorned with brilliant orange and red flowers from the farmer’s market, all set against a clear blue sky. A spectacular field of grapevines stretching toward the September sun. The sound of a busload of guests arriving—the signal that our ceremony was about to begin.

When I consult with others on how to make their buildings, businesses and events more environmentally friendly, I always consider the economics—but usually the funding isn’t coming from my bank account.

Our money—a lot of our money—was at stake in planning our wedding.

Fortunately, my husband, David, and I found that many of our green choices cost less than the alternatives. The average cost for a wedding of 175 guests is $22,000, according to Consumer Reports. We celebrated with 170 friends and family members, and the cost came to $15,000, including the band, our attire and all the extras.

We did a lot of the work ourselves, and our natural wedding was not without compromise. But then, what’s a marriage without compromise?

The big decision

Because the largest environmental impacts often go hand in hand with the largest expenditures, David and I vowed that our biggest financial decision—where we would hold the wedding and reception—would be made responsibly. We chose Flag Hill Winery in Lee, New Hampshire, a small winery and distillery that had recently put its land into a conservation easement in partnership with a local land trust, permanently protecting 106 acres of working farmland, scenic views and river frontage.

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