The gorge is a natural wonder, the people who live and work here make a conscious effort to preserve its health and beauty, you should too! There are lots of benefits to planning your wedding eco-consciously. First and foremost you’ll be reducing your environmental impact on the earth, more specifically, the gorge. You’ll likely save money. It’ll be a unique and unforgettable wedding. Your guests will be positively impacted by your care for the environment in more ways than you think. Some things will be inherently unconventional, however, if you’re planning an eco wedding then you must be an unconventional couple. That’s a good thing! When planning an eco wedding the question you must always ask yourself is, how will this decision impact the environment?
If you’re having an eco-conscious wedding it may seem cliché but, keeping the EPA’s reduce, reuse, recycle campaign in mind is really helpful during the planning process. There are lots of ways to practice the reduce principle in your wedding. Start local, the more items you check off your list locally the less shipping related fossil fuel emissions there will be. There are lots of great options for food and floral in the gorge. Go with local and seasonal floral and menu, not only will you reduce fossil fuel emissions, you’ll be saving energy on refrigeration. This is an opportunity to think outside the box and come up with something really creative. Using potted succulents and edible plants like fragrant herbs for centerpieces brings a natural touch to the reception, it will look beautiful and fresh. You can dress them up with sustainably made soy candles or LED string or tealights. At the end of the night, they can be reused as gifts for guests or donated to hospice, nursing homes, and/or hospitals to patients and staff who will really appreciate them.
Another way to reduce is to forego gifts. Ask guests to donate to your favorite environmental charities. You can incorporate this into your reception in a cute and engaging way. If you want a registry, register for environmentally conscious, fair-trade products. Ask guests bringing gifts to use recycled paper like old newspapers and paper grocery sacks for wrapping before buying wrapping paper or a gift bag. A table full of recycled paper wrapped gifts is right in line with your eco theme and will be a statement in and of itself. Consider the environmental impact of travel when registering for a honeymoon fund and picking your destination.
Use more sustainable paper alternatives like cotton, hemp, or bamboo. Bamboo and hemp are especially renewable due to their fast rate of growth. Recycled paper is also a good option or go completely paperless, even better! This includes napkins and cups. No paper napkins or plastic cups! This is where the reuse principle comes into practice. Most rental companies have linen options that can be washed and reused as well as plates and utensils. A commemorative reusable stainless steel cup or glass would make an awesome wedding favor that guests could use all night and take home.
Consider a venue like an organic farm or vineyard that uses sustainable farming practices for your venue. It will be a beautiful and fitting setting for your eco-friendly wedding and there are some great options in the gorge. You can also decorate with lavender grown locally dried or fresh, depending on the season, there are several lavender farms just outside Hood River. Double up and use the naturally perfumed buds as confetti instead of plastic or paper which are wasteful and harmful to birds. Balloons are a no-no for the environmentally conscious wedding as they are extremely harmful to animals, especially birds and sea life. They’re not reusable and will just end up in a landfill. Skip em’ they’re not in fashion anyway.
The style of rings is changing. Couples are choosing different stones and styles. If you’re an environmentally conscious couple then your rings should be too. Conflict-free diamonds are a must, be sure your stones are ethically sourced. Recycled diamonds from old rings are a great option for creating a completely new and unique ring. Vintage rings have a timeless elegance and may only need resizing.
Wear a used or vintage dress. They’ve almost always only been worn once. Get it altered to fit your body and make small changes to suit your personal style. Wear a dress in the family if there’s one in good condition, it’s sentimental and can be updated for a more modern look. If you’re just not finding that pre-owned dream dress, select designers that use environmentally friendly materials and production methods. The mismatching or slightly matching wedding party trend is still in full swing so, you can use pre-owned attire for your wedding party too!
Last but certainly not least is the recycle principle. Ask your venue to provide recycling and compost disposal stations. If there are any recyclable items like cans and plastic bottles they can be brought to a local recycling station. Food waste can be composted. Arrange for your compostables to be brought to Dirt Hugger, a local composting company.
There you have it! You’ve considered how your wedding will impact the earth and made decisions to reduce your carbon footprint. You’ve probably saved a little money and you can put it towards your honeymoon! You’ve shown your friends and family that preserving the environment is important to you. You and your partner have planned a unique and dynamic wedding you can feel good about in a place that greatly appreciates your efforts.