Weddings go green
Matrimonial vows of commitment extend to planet Earth.
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Overall, their total wedding and honeymoon cost $7,500, considerably less than the national average.
They also created an alternative gift registry, where they asked for items such as family recipes, candid photos from the reception, and compact fluorescent light bulbs. After living through hurricane Katrina and seeing her friends lose possessions, Mrs. Damm says she wanted “things that are more meaningful than a vase [of] Waterford crystal.”
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But a wedding is a single day. What happens afterward lasts much longer.
Perhaps this is why the Live Green, Live Smart Institute, an environmental research center in Minnesota has decided to study whether the environmental commitment shown on the big day carries over into a couple’s married life.
What Peter Lytle, executive director of the institute, has discovered so far is that green weddings not only influence the bride and groom’s lifestyle, but they can also influence guests to go green by teaching them about the environment.
That doesn’t apply to everyone, however. Other than recycling, gardening, and trying to compost, the Tueys admit they don’t live the greenest of lifestyles. But they did go on a remote camping trip in Baja, Mexico, for their honeymoon. Their friends so enjoyed the wedding that they’ve been asking if the couple will replicate the camping experience for their upcoming fifth anniversary.
The Damms’ lifestyle, on the other hand, has remained green. Mrs. Damm, who grew up on a farm and was used to composting and eating food grown in a backyard garden, still keeps a garden and compost pile.
Instead of buying commercial cleaning products, the couple make their own from natural ingredients, and they shop at the farmers’ market whenever possible. After the wedding, the Damms started a business making purses and wallets from salvaged materials.
But the biggest change has come for Brown-Selders, who once didn’t even recycle. Now she’s making money collecting other people’s bottles and cans. After her wedding, she started her own recycling business under the trademark Recycle4U. She makes weekly pickups, collecting from seven customers for a fee of $7 for residences and $50 for commercial businesses, dropping the recyclables off at the local recycling center.
Although her parents weren’t too thrilled at first about her ideas for a green wedding, they learned from the planning process. Now, her mother recycles paper at her office, and her father, who never recycled, sent her a photo of him when he recycled for the first time. “He totally came around,” she says.
Ideas for 'greening' a wedding
– Replace cut flower centerpieces with potted plants that guests can take home and replant.
– Rather than registering for china or pots and pans, dedicate a registry to a cause. The I Do Foundation (Idofoundation.org) lets guests donate money to a specific charity chosen by the couple.
– If you want to have a small ceremony to reduce carbon emissions from traveling, consider webcasting your big day. Websites such as webcastmywedding.net and livevows.com offer guests a chance to view the nuptials on the Net.
– Give favors that can help the earth, such as a tree seedling or seeds to plant in guests’ backyards, by using the website plantamemory.com. Brown-Selders gave her wedding guests lavender seeds in a small pot.