Green Wedding Tips: Wedding Dress!

Beautiful wedding dress! Photo from The Wedding Lens

If you’re really into being green, there are TONS of green wedding tips out there. But sometimes it’s not doing everything, it’s just doing something. If you’re trying to be green, consider being green with your wedding dress (which, of course, doesn’t have to be the COLOR green – just get it or get one that is eco-friendly!)

  • Consider a pre-owned dress. Try a wedding dress that is from your family or even a second hand shop. There are also tons of websites that carry wedding dresses that have only been worn once (or even not-at-all)! For example, check out Green Hanger Shop‘s website. They have so many beautiful dresses and they’re great with customer service. It will save on environmental materials AND save you money. Just remember that if you go an online route, know your measurements!
  • Buy natural. If you purchase a new dress, get one that is made from natural, organic materials such as organic silk. This will make your impact on the environment just that much less. You can ask retailers in advance whether they have natural dresses so you don’t need to waste your time with shops that don’t have them. 
  • Donate when you’re done. When you’re done, donate your dress to a charity that can sell it; it will create funds for them and save someone else from having to purchase a new dress.
  • Re-sell when you’re done. You can go right back to the Green Hanger Shop to sell your dress again. Someone else can rewear it and you’ll get to recoop some of what you spent the first time around.
  • Choose a simple dress that you can wear again. Everything is better if you can wear it again! You don’t need to get an ornate one-time wearing dress. (But if you do, please consider the above advice and donate it when you’re done.) Check out our colorful wedding dresses, which might be more rewearable than just plain white.

Did you do something green to find your dress?

~ Natasha

Green Wedding Tips: Favors & Centerpieces!

This is the fifth part of our series on green wedding tips. Another area of green wedding tips that people should think about is favors & centerpieces! And here are some different ideas for favors.

Consider stacking your favors, like boxes of tea like this, as the centerpiece! Photo from The Wedding Lens

  • Donate as the favor. Instead of buying things that might get tossed into a drawer, consider donating money to a charity as the favor. Have the DJ announce this donation, instead of printing paper notes that say so. If you do want to print cards that tell guests of the donation, consider printing one per table instead of one per guest. Tip: Don’t say that you donated “on behalf of” your guests! You don’t want people to get upset that you donated on their behalf to an organization that they may not support.
  • Plant a tree as a favor. Plant a tree (or many trees) as the favor to your guests. You can tell them (via a DJ, not printed paper!) where you planted and what kind of trees you planted.
  • Give seeds. Give seeds as the favor so that people can plant on their own plants or flowers. You can print stickers or order seeds that have your names & date of the wedding on it, if you want to make it more personal.
  • Give a basket of green products. Come up with a list of some green products and items and give those as the favor. For example, seeds, cleaning products, or other biodegradable products.
  • Make the favors the centerpieces. By using the favors as the decorative centerpiece, you don’t have to use more flowers or purchase other decorative items. And hopefully the favors will be useful and re-useable.

Have other ideas? Tell us!

~ Natasha

Green Wedding Tips: Wedding Rings!

One of the most talked about green wedding topics is wedding rings — specifically blood diamonds. There are many thoughts on diamonds and the whole diamond industry, but I’m going to set that aside for now and just help you out with some green tips to keep in mind when you’re looking at wedding rings. (By the way, check out how to pick an engagement ring!)

Wedding Rings! Photo from The Wedding Lens

  • Get a simple ring. A simple ring will take fewer resources – natural resources and energy – than a more complicated one.
  • Consider a pre-owned, re-fashioned ring. A pre-owned or re-fashioned ring means that it was already made (and probably before diamonds became known as blood diamonds!). It’s already there, use it – even if you want to transform it a bit!
  • Try a wooden wedding ring. A wooden wedding ring, while not traditional, does not require the natural resources or energy that traditional rings require.
  • Make sure it’s not a blood diamond. A simple web search can tell you all of the negative things associated with blood diamonds; make sure your ring is conflict free. A jeweler should be able to tell you the origin of your ring. If they’re not willing to help you figure it out, go elsewhere.

How did you find your wedding rings? What about your engagement rings? Tell us!

~ Natasha

Green Wedding Tips: Flowers & Decorations!

Use candle centerpieces as an alternative to flowers! Photo from The Wedding Lens!

Here is another post in our green wedding tips series! This week is focused on green tips for flowers & decorations. Enjoy!

  • Use flowers that are in season and local. When you use flowers that are out of season, they have to be imported. Transportation and care of the flowers requires extra resources that in-season flowers don’t require. If you’re curious, here is a list of flowers by season, organized by color. The list is helpful because you might know what color flower you want but not want kind specifically; check out the list, use what’s in season and voila! You’ve done something green, without compromising your dream colors.
  • Grow your own flowers. Along the lines of getting flowers that are in season, it’s great if you can grow them yourself. Then you need even less transportation — and you’ve done it yourself, which saves you money!
  • Consider alternatives to fresh flowers. Consider using silk or dried flowers as an eco-friendly alternative to fresh flowers. It wont matter when the flowers are in season! You can also use potted flowers and plants. They look great and they can be used after the event for your (or your guests’) home or garden.
  • Think about using fewer flowers. Fewer flowers mean fewer resources. Perhaps have each bridesmaid carry two flowers and have the bride collect one from each bridesmaid and groomsman at the front – as a symbol of how the wedding party have provided support to the couple.
  • Use candles, fishbowls, favors, and other eco-friendly centerpieces. If you’re looking to decorate the center of each table, think about some alternatives to flowers. If you were going to have favors, they can make a great centerpiece that goes home after the wedding. Check out the Top 5 Wedding Centerpieces for more ideas!
  • Make your own decorations. If you decorate yourself, you’ll use fewer resources than having someone else do it for you. One option is to decorate with white lights on trees or potted plants – assuming you get lights you will reuse! You can also use candles – which provide natural lighting – and can be made from eco-friendly products.

Do you have other ideas for eco-friendly flower & decorations? Share ’em!

~ Natasha

Green Wedding Tips: Location of Your Wedding!

An outdoor wedding venue! photo from The Wedding Lens

A lot of people are “being green” on their wedding day – even doing the smallest of things to help save the environment, just a little bit. Here’s another part in our series of green wedding tips that focuses on each part of the planning process. Here are your green wedding location planning tips!

  • Pick a venue that is outdoors.  Selecting a venue like an area of a forest or part of a beach is beautiful. You can take advantage of natural lighting and you won’t need electricity during the ceremony. And, as a bonus, many times, it’s also free! It takes advantage of the nature that is easily accessible. If you do get married in a park, make sure you check out any required permits! The National Park Service website has resources for this – just go to their site and search based on the park you’re looking at.
  • Think about where your guests are coming from. The more people who are traveling, the worse it is for the environment because of the oil & gas that gets used to travel! AND, even more importantly, the people who have to travel get hit harder in their wallets. If most people are in a certain place, consider having your wedding there. If you’re asking people to travel, then also think about asking guests to purchase carbon offsets or donate to an earth-friendly organization to compensate for their travel.
  • Consider the decor of the venue; use windows wisely! Try to select a venue that has natural light so you don’t have to use electricity. Many churches have open stained glass windows that provide natural light. Similarly, restaurants and other venues with lots of windows are great for this.
  • Provide a car- or van-pool from hotel to ceremony/reception. Rather than have everyone drive from their hotel to the wedding reception, organize a car pool or hire transportation for wedding guests to & from the venues. You save fuel and ensure your inebriated friends get home safely.

Got other green wedding ideas? Need ideas in other areas of wedding planning? Here are more green wedding tips!

Go Green!

~ Natasha

Green Wedding Tips: Invitations!

One of the up & coming trends is the “being green” on your wedding day. Because of this, I have decided it would be great to do a series of green wedding tips that focuses on each part of the planning process. Sounds good, right? So here are your green invitation tips!

Photo from Twisted Limb!

  • Use recycled paper for your invitations. By using recycled paper, you can save a lot of paper and a lot of trees, especially considering how many pieces of paper get mailed out (directions, return envelopes, etc… ). Twisted Limb Paperworks makes fantastic, beautiful handmade & 100% recycled invitations. Plus they’re great folks to work with! AND Wedding Paper Divas also assured me that all of their stationary is now recycled!
  • Use electronic communication for invitations, updates, and replies. Save money and trees by announcing, inviting, and updating people online or via email. You can also ask people to reply online or via email. For example, Paperless Post is a fantastic company that has great paperless invitations, complete with envelopes and beautiful designs! They work with anyone worldwide. They’re customized & personalized (and Paperless Post even lets you monitor recipients replies!) And if you’re in NZ (or dont mind paying in NZ dollars) check out Paperless Wedding – another great company! They also have beautiful designs & great customer service.
  • Consider treeless paper. Make your invitations from bamboo, hemp or kenaf. Smock prints on bamboo & they have some really classy invitations shown on their site.
  • Don’t use toxic ink. When printing your invitations, make sure the ink you use, is not toxic. Many inks are, so this is something you can easily ask about (or purchase if you’re printing your own). Just be sure to ask!

Check out our other green wedding tips for more great ideas!

~ Natasha

Guest Post: Wedding’s Over…what about the dress?


After the flurry of wedding activities, like a melted snowman, the wedding dress lies in a heap on the floor. So now what?

The decision to keep or sell a bride’s wedding gown is a personal, emotional, and financial one.

While waiting to make that decision, it is important to get the dress cleaned by professionals. A reputable cleaner will check the label to see if it is material they can handle properly. Expect the cleaning to run anywhere from $75 or more and to take two weeks or more depending on the level of cleaning and preservation. Leaving this important cleaning undone will render the dress unusable if body oils, food, or drink are allowed to discolor the delicate fabrics and lace.

How about preservation? Isn’t that what an expensive dress needs? Well, not if the bride is uncertain about whether or not to sell. Preservation is quite expensive and actually creates a large box that will require space for storage. It is difficult to see or inspect and if there is any chance of selling it, it will have to be removed to be checked for any damage.

Selling the dress? Placing it on a website, such as The Green Hanger Shop, as soon as possible will increase your chances of making a sale and recouping more of your investment.

Not selling? It will still need to be opened and refolded to prevent deep creases. Best bet, go with reputable professional cleaning, place the dress in its garment bag (Purchase this if necessary) and store in a dark, cool closet. It’s inexpensive and kinder on the environment.

Judy Meggs is the proprietor of a new online eco-boutique, The Green Hanger Shop, which opened in January. It’s a fabulous website where buyers and sellers of nice “wore it once” clothing can connect — including brides, bridesmaids, wedding guests, family, and anyone with a desire to give beautiful handpicked dresses a new life.  Judy is a retired educator and mother of two daughters. She strives to support endeavors that make a difference.

For more on being green, check out our 50 Green Wedding Tips!