tartelettes, if there’s one thing I’ve learned while planning my wedding, it’s that this industry loves excess.

Back in the day, brides just had to pick a place, hire a photographer, get a DJ, and find a dress. Now, with bridal blogs aplenty, the minutiae of wedding planning is never-ending; there are about a million ways to personalize your nuptials, from monogrammed napkins to hot-air balloon rides for your guests. Frankly, the possibilities are exhausting – and, oftentimes, wasteful in terms of both expense and the earth. It shouldn’t be surprising that I’ve blocked those sites from my browser until after my wedding.

But there is one thing that I am happy I learned while obsessively poring through the blogs: all the eco-friendly alternatives to normal bridal traditions that are gaining popularity as the DIY and green movements have become mainstream. Here are a few ways to put a green stamp on your wedding while still making it beautiful.

 

1. The dress

The dress can be one of the biggest single expenses of a wedding – and one of the most important. After all, your wedding will likely be the most photographed day of your life! Every bride wants to look and feel stunning – and you can do so while still maintaining your green sensibility. For those who don’t care to buy new, there are now tons of outlets specializing in used or upcycled dresses. Think about it: a gently-used designer wedding dress, for a fraction of the original price! Good for the earth, and your wallet.

Another option is a new dress made of earth-friendly materials, like natural fibers. Threadhead Creations and plenty of sellers on Etsy are good sources for such gowns.

 

 

 

 

 

2. The flowers

Flowers can be a huge cause of consternation for any eco-conscious bride. There’s the waste, the questionable sourcing, the concerns over the welfare of the growers. One solution, of course, is to go local: there are now florists who grow their own flowers and only use what’s in season.

You could also opt for the fake kind, or go DIY and make some sweet paper buds. These can be gorgeous as boutonnières, bouquets, or even centerpieces.

Another option is to forgo florals completely, and use alternative decorations. For my wedding, I’m going for a glow-y, Great Gatsby-esque feel, which means lots of candles and lanterns – and very few flowers.

 

3. The invitations

So much paper – so much waste! You have to get the word out somehow, though, so here are two good green options. In our Internet-dominated world, it’s becoming more accepted for modern couples to send out e-invites for their wedding. Paperless Post has gorgeous options for all sorts of tastes (from quirky to sophisticated), and the website even mimics the process of opening an actual envelope.

For those who can’t stand the thought of not sending out a physical invite, recycled options abound. There’s also my favorite green invite choice: seed-seed infused paper (Botanical Paperworks is one purveyor) that recipients can plant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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