Insider Tips for Planning a Green Wedding

Reader Contribution by Brian Worley
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Photo By Wong Sze Fei/Courtesy Fotolia
Consider renting your wedding dress to save money and resources.

Celebrity event expert Brian Worley is focused on producing and designing events that are eco-friendly. His mission is to prove that you can still create stunning events that are better for the environment without the use of burlap and granola and that the ideas of reduce, reuse, and recycle can be implemented through the 100-mile diet, organic and pesticide-free food, bio-diesel generators, rented furniture, recycled fabric, drapes and linens, and low-watt and LED lighting to name a few. For more event tips and tricks, visit Brain’s blog at

These days, throwing green weddings and events is much easier than in the past and doesn’t have to cost you much more, if anything, than a traditional wedding. The three key words to throwing a “green” or eco-friendly wedding are “recycle,””reuse,” and “reduce”!

1. Rent the dress.

Grooms and groomsmen have been wearing rented tuxedos forever, so why not rent a wedding dress? I know it sounds a bit weird, but when you really think about it, you can rent purses online, so why not rent your wedding dress? You hope that you only wear it once, and otherwise it just sits in a box under your bed for eternity. There are sources that specialize in the rental of recently worn dresses, so save a little money, help out your budget, and you may even end up with a designer label dress that you might not have been able to afford otherwise.

2. Send digital or recycled paper invitations.

I have found that this is a hard one to promote, but you can send a digital invitation from for your wedding. I do believe that the invitation sets the tone for any event, and a digital invitation may not have as much bang for the buck as a printed invite, so another option is to choose invitations printed on recycled paper using soy inks and environmentally friendly materials. Recycled paper products have come a long way, and you can still have a stunning invitation.

3. Location, location, location!

When choosing a venue for your reception, ask the following questions: Does the venue recycle? Do they clean with non-toxic cleaning supplies? Do they separate the trash into biodegradable, compostable, and waste materials? Have they switched out their lights to compact fluorescent lighting? If you ask the location if they are a green venue, they should understand the question and be able to list off what they have done to make themselves eco-friendly.

4. Menu matters.

The menu for the reception is the easiest place to be green. Ask the caterer, restaurant or chef to create a menu that uses foods from the “100-mile diet,” meaning that the food is all local and does not create wear on the environment through emissions or other pollution from transportation. Also, ask that your menu be created from organic, pesticide-free foods and free-range meats like beef or chicken. There are farmers’ markets and local growers in almost every city or town, so support the local economy.

5. Think flowers, think green.

Flowers, like food, can be locally grown & pesticide-free. Ideally, the flowers should be recycled. Guests can take flowers home at the end of the reception, or you can have your flowers delivered to a nursing home after the wedding so more people can enjoy them. If you plan to have a brunch the following day, rearrange the flowers from the night before and give them a second but different showing so that they are used more than once. This is also a great way to help with your budget. Another option that is VERY green is to create centerpieces with potted plants that can be planted in the yard or used elsewhere after the wedding.

6. Rent linens, flatware, and glassware.

There are many beautiful options to choose from to make your wedding custom and creative. Just ask the rental company if they use non-toxic solutions for cleaning.

7. Let there be light!

Lighting can change the entire environment for a wedding. LED lights are an energy-efficient way to reduce your carbon footprint and pull less power than traditional lights. Low-watt lights can also help to create a splash of color or warm atmosphere. Your venue may not have the power needed to light the space. If you need a generator, make sure to ask for a generator that runs on bio-diesel, and if possible ask for B-99, the purest form of bio-diesel out there.

8. Consider carbon credits.

You can purchase carbon credits from to offset all the power, travel, and emissions that you used for your wedding. 

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