We’re wrapping up Sustainability Month here at Risa James Events with one last post on a variety of little things you can do when planning your wedding to reduce your carbon footprint and increase the overall sustainability of your wedding.
TL;DR here’s a video link
Hire Local Vendors
As with choosing a venue that doesn’t require a lot of your guests to travel long distances, choosing vendors who don’t have to travel far will also do the most to reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint. Photographers are notorious for wanting to travel to shoot weddings. But if you live in Montana, there’s no sense in hiring a photographer from California (or Europe!) to shoot your wedding. There are tons of talented wedding photographers in Montana, I assure you.
And it doesn’t even have to be out-of-state travel to make an impact. If you can hire a vendor who’s 10 miles away from your venue, rather than 60 miles away, it make a difference in the overall sustainability of your wedding. It’s not out of line for you to ask potential vendors how far away they are from your venue—and don’t be afraid to tell them why you’re asking!
Choose Wedding Jewelry Wisely
It begins with engagement-ring shopping. For starters, don’t go to Jared. Or Kay. Or any of those other chain jewelry stores. Their stones are almost certainly coming from the DeBeers mining operation, which has questionable practices when it comes to the environment, as well as ethical concerns over how miners are treated and whether the stones are sold by warlords to finance their armies (“blood diamonds”). Not to mention that DeBeers keeps supplies artificially low to drive up prices. (Did you know that diamonds aren’t actually that rare? That’s a post for another day.)
One way to up your sustainability score is to purchase heirloom jewelry from an antique shop or estate jeweler. Chances are, the stone was originally acquired through the DeBeers monopoly and might even be a blood diamond, but as a follow-on purchaser, you’re not contributing to the on-going financing of wars, and the metals and gemstones have already been mined, so there’s no additional mining required for your ring.
Another option is to purchase a ring through a company like Brilliant Earth, which is committed to sustainable mining practices and works with local collectives in countries where gemstones are mined to ensure that workers are paid a fair wage and that the proceeds are reinvested into the community. You can even custom design a ring with them if you want something truly original.
Rent, Don’t Buy
When it comes to attire, renting is always the more sustainable option. Bridesmaids can take advantage of companies like Rent the Runway to find fashionable gowns, and they don’t have to worry that the gown will sit in the back of their closet for the next decade before they finally toss it or donate it.
Even if your groomsmen aren’t wearing tuxedos, these days suits can be rented just as easily. But every guy should own at least one good suit, so it might make sense for your guys to buy, if they don’t already have a suit and need to up their wardrobe game.
Hire Group Transportation
Hiring a shuttle service to ferry guests between the hotels and the wedding venue saves a lot of carbon emissions because instead of dozens of individual vehicles, you have one large one. But talk to the transportation company about what happens with the shuttle during the downtime between dropping off at the venue and heading back to the hotel at the end of the night. If the shuttle is going to spend five or six hours idling so the driver can keep the air conditioning going, then you’re undermining the entire premise.
Make a Donation
Instead of take-home favors, make a donation to your favorite charitable or environmental organization. Or purchase carbon offsets to counter-act the carbon emissions generated by your wedding.
Use Soy Candles
Candles on guest tables set a romantic mood, but traditional candles emit particulates into the air. Use clean-burning soy candles to cut down on pollution.
Talk to your hairstylist and makeup artist about their products. Are they cruelty-free and sustainable? Do they contain organic ingredients? Ask these questions before you hire them. If you really want to work with them because of their talent, but their products don’t meet your standards, ask if they’ll consider using different products for your wedding.
There are more and more sustainability-minded resorts opening every day. If you’re really committed to the cause, you can build a community-service activity into your honeymoon plans and give back to whichever local community you’re visiting.
That wraps up the sustainability series. If you missed the earlier posts, just click on these links to read about how to increase the sustainability of your wedding stationery, florals and decor, and venue and catering.
And if you’re in need of wedding planning help, please get in touch!