Green Wedding Vows

Couples can say “I do” to each other and the environment while staying stylish.

By Jodi Helmer

June 2013


Erin Boyle and James Casey had a traditional wedding complete with a flowing white dress, colorful flowers and live music. While planning their nuptials, the couple vowed to be eco-friendly. “Everything we do in our lives is about minimizing the impact we have on the environment,” explains Boyle, 28, a Brooklyn, New York, photographer. “We wanted to make sure our wedding reflected those values.”

Green weddings are becoming more common as couples search for ways to marry their love of each other with their love of the planet.

It’s more than just a fad, says Corina Beczner, founder of Vibrant Events in San Francisco. “When it comes to planning a wedding, there are different shades of green; couples can opt to green a few of their choices or go all out to make the entire event as green as possible,” she explains. Beczner encourages couples to focus on their top priorities, whether that is supporting organic agriculture or reducing waste. That helps them narrow their choices and remain focused.

“Once you identify the categories that are most important to you, you can create a budget to reflect those priorities and create a team of vendors that are connected to what you care about,” says Beczner. In terms of wedding jewelry she advises couples to seek out conflict-free diamonds and alternative stones, saying, ““It’s one more opportunity to bring sustainable values to your choices.”

Boyle and Casey got married at Barberry Hill Farm in Connecticut; the farm itself provided much of the bounty for the celebration. “All of the flowers we used in the ceremony and a lot of the food we served came from the fields right beside where our guests were sitting,” Boyle says.

“A green wedding can be as traditional and stylish as any other wedding,” says Mireya Navarro, author of Green Wedding (Stewart, Tabori & Chang). That includes buying a secondhand gown on websites such as www.PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com and www.OnceWed.com. “There are amazing, high-end wedding dresses at a fraction of the cost of regular retail,” explains Navarro.

If a new dress is a must, Navarro encourages brides to donate their dress to charity after the wedding. Organizations such as Brides Against Breast Cancer
(www.bridesagainstbreastcancer.org) and Brides Across America
(www.bridesacrossamerica.com) accept donations of bridal gowns and resell them to fund their work.

For their 2011 wedding in Asheboro, North Carolina, Todd Dulaney and Megan Crotty created handmade paper for their invitations. “It would have been easy to settle for non-green alternatives,” says Dulaney, 43. A growing number of printing companies offer invitations made from recycled paper and printed with soy ink.

To reduce paper usage, emailed RSVP requests are becoming more popular. “It’s acceptable to send electronic invites,” Beczer says. Setting up a wedding website is another low-impact way to share information about registries, hotel reservations and other crucial information.

Dulaney and Crotty picked their own flowers, created a locally sourced meal and brewed their own beer. “Our green fingerprint was on almost every aspect of the ceremony and reception,” says Dulaney.

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