Embrace an Eco Wedding

April 7, 2008 in
Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Photo by citydirt

Maria Finn

Maria has written about nature for The New York Times and Audobon; she has also published travel books and taught writing to college students. In addition to being an award-winning author, Maria previously ran an eco-friendly gardening company called Prospect & Refuge.

No woman wants to think of herself as a bridezilla, but all the details involved in planning a wedding can be daunting — especially if you’re someone who works hard to live an eco-sensitive lifestyle. Are your wedding flowers filled with pesticides that are polluting the rivers and exploiting workers in Colombia? Does rice thrown for good luck really explode in the stomachs of songbirds?

Ah, the horror of unintended consequences. Etsy has asked me to help make these details a little easier, so let’s make this wedding planning fun.

For your bouquet, carry an elegant grouping of white calla lilies wrapped in your grandmother’s handkerchief, or mix together chartreuse and romantic sunset roses, both available from Organic Bouquet. Remember, you’ll need a few days to let them open, so timing is everything here. Fair Trade USA provides all sorts of information on fair trade flowers and other items.

Centerpieces at the reception don’t need to be flowers. If you practice Buddhism, for example, you can find statues and incense burners; for bird lovers, place birdhouses on the table and scatter dried flowers or petals around them. Another great option are terrariums — glass containers filled with tropical or desert ecosystems. You can create a natural look by adding pieces of driftwood, shells or pebbles, mulch with turquoise marbles or even red lentils. These can really keep a conversation flowing at the in-law table.

[pullquote]Live, potted plants not only make great decorations, they can be given away to guests as wedding favors. Small bonsai trees make elegant centerpieces and will live for years, decades even.[/pullquote] Local nurseries often stock these hearty plants, keeping them healthy in decorative, ceramic dishes. Place bonsais on any table and add a few Japanese votive candles for a touch of color.

If you must have cut flowers, go seasonal or go native. Local Harvest provides information to help you find and support growers of native wildflowers. Native plants are heartier, use less water, require fewer pesticides, and they provide food and shelter for our birds, bees, and butterflies.

Though it’s not a native to my Brooklyn area, lavender is certainly hard to resist. In the Middle Ages, lavender was considered “the herb of love” and bouquets of the fragrant purple buds were given to newly-married couples to bring good luck. Sprinkling dried lavender flowers in the home was said to bring peacefulness. [pullquote]To bring that heavenly aroma and color to your wedding, plant some live lavender in reclaimed or upcycled wooden planters.[/pullquote] For larger bouquets, mix other native flowers with lavender. Later, turn these into planted pots on your front porch or replant them into window boxes.

As for what to toss at the bride and groom, I’ve got you covered. Instead of rice or birdseed, how about tossing a handful of wildflower seeds? The seeds can be placed in small, hand-stamped envelopes, given to guests as they enter the wedding venue. By tossing flower seeds, you’re doing all sorts of great stuff for the environment, and seeds are symbolic; there’s something, well, fertile, so to speak.

  • katelynjane

    katelynjane says:

    Good tips! I love the idea of wildflowers to give as favors or throw instead of confetti!

    11 years ago

  • Vanessa Admin

    Vanessa says:

    Yeah, I love the idea of throwing seeds as confetti too! Maria, I'm also wondering what your take is on moss. You just taking chunks of moss from the woods to use with your centerpieces and then replant them after the party?

    11 years ago

  • dancingcircle

    dancingcircle says:

    You could visit Organicbouquet - or you could visit an esty shop for - mine :) -for handcrafted organic floral decor. I specialize in dried flowers, which are recycled from nature and last for years.

    11 years ago

  • shopgoodgrace

    shopgoodgrace says:

    I love the idea of using terrariums!! Thank you for the links to these great resources. Great article!!

    11 years ago

  • Vanessa Admin

    Vanessa says:

    If you want to grow your own flowers for your wedding, start thinking about what you're going to plant now!

    10 years ago

  • lifestylechalkboards

    LINDA from lifestylechalkboards says:

    I love the idea of bringing seeds to the wedding. What if each guest brought a plant and this was made into a beautiful planter for the new coulple to start their garden Great article.

    7 years ago

  • gardenmis

    Priscilla from Gardenmis says:

    Lovely ideas! I hope eco weddings are a trend that takes off! :)

    7 years ago

  • bazketmakr

    bazketmakr from bazketmakr says:

    Thanks for writing this. People do not realize how many small things they can do to help the environment. Making good choices every day really makes a difference. Thinking about the origins of everything you buy really makes a difference too. I would love to see more blog entries on this theme!

    7 years ago

  • Laila4you

    Laila from Laila4you says:

    Nowdays everything is eco

    7 years ago

  • AZCreativeStudio

    Ali from ContessasCollection says:

    Great post! Eco-friendly weddings and events should be a popular trend.

    7 years ago

  • ariella42

    Ariella Carver from HausofAriella says:

    Wonderful ideas! I love the idea of having bonsai centerpieces! We're making sheet music and ribbon flowers because they look awesome, they're much less expensive both in terms of cost and environmental impact than cut flowers, and they'll make wonderful home decorations for us and whichever guests want to take some home for years to come.

    7 years ago

  • LittleWeeShop

    Jennifer from LittleWeeShop says:

    We used a Tree Ring as our ring pillow! That insired my entire shop of eco-friendly items. Brides & Grooms can use a wedding as a great opportunity to promote going green! We also requested USED items in our registery. People thought that was soooo Unique and on Trend.

    7 years ago

  • Chrisl228

    Christina from LWThings says:

    We nixed cut flowers completely from our wedding - We're using lanterns as aisle decor and centerpieces, a brooch bouquet for me made from old brooches I picked up in flea markets, estate sales, family, etc. We'll have non flower boutonnieres, and my flower girl will carry a wand made from paper flowers :)

    7 years ago

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl says:

    What great ideas. I love them. My favorite is planted flowers instead of clipped.

    7 years ago

  • portraitsbybillie

    Billie Bennett from portraitsbybillie says:

    I love all of these ideas! Eco friendly and great gift ideas too!

    7 years ago