You’re getting married! Congratulations!
What can we all do to celebrate by planning a green, environmentally friendly wedding?
Greenwashing happens when a product or event is touted as being environmentally sustainable, but which isn’t.
Weddings are fraught with greenwashing potentials. That’s because these are one-off events where brides and grooms want everything to be absolutely perfect, such that often people consider bending environmental “rules of living”. Flowers are an issue: gather wildflowers or go to a farm that features picking beds (Little Red Wagon Winery, and others).
However, with thoughtful planning, we can mitigate greenwashing.
“Destination Weddings” once were popular, where couples might get married abroad or far away, where they and guests used air transportation.
CBC News recently mentioned that due to the high cost of living, mortgages rising and so on, that Canadians are reducing their travel costs. Not only flights to distant destinations, but also, people are reducing their road trips in length of distance as well as days away from home, where both fuel and accommodations are costly.
So if we want truly to embrace “green weddings” we’d not even consider far-off-destination weddings.
The greenest alternative? Get married in your backyard, home or at City Hall. And/or hire a local venue which can provide a complete package: a place to hold your wedding, including photo opportunities through the reception and dinner-dance party.
Often, the bride and groom want to give gifts to their guests. Called “favours”, these are often placed on the tables where guests eat their meal.
Consider buying locally produced teas, soaps, candles – anything organically grown and mindfully packaged (hopefully without single-use plastic) is preferable.
Why not plan to visit local Farmers’ Markets and shops to research what’s available, right here at home? Then, order in bulk from a local entrepreneur. Farmers’ markets are “everywhere” now: Bristol, Luskville, Wakefield, Shawville, Old Aylmer, Gatineau and many more locations throughout the Outaouais. (Research: croquezoutaouais.com/) and look for local makers: Euterra, Infinity Farm, artPontiac, Le domaine de la Belle & Le Gentleman.
Wine and beer
Pontiac has two wineries: Domaine de Pontiac Village and Little Red Wagon Winery – with others planned. Similarly, there are now microbreweries such as Brauwerk Hoffman.
Including alcohol at your wedding? Contact local vintners.
Will you include meat when planning your wedding meal? From yak to trout, beef to duck, lamb to chicken and more, feature local producer’s grass-fed, organically raised – or traditionally raised meats.
Whenever possible, go organic.
Are you interested only in catered meals? This eases your mind and likely also your pocket book. Check out local caterers. Ask a restaurant owner whether they can help (I’m thinking of Café 349 which can cater, for instance).
As well and of course, if you hold your wedding reception and dinner at a venue, they likely will manage all of this for you, to your direction/their business model.
Odds and ends
Don’t use balloons. Yes, they’re pretty but they are devastating to wildlife and, if released en masse may travel vast distances, get hung up in trees and waterways. Deadly beauty: avoid these single-use items.
Plastic everythings: Choose crockery and real glassware: these reusables don’t generate landfill or even recyclable waste. Ditto for paper napkins: use cloth.
Confetti: as bride and groom, you can encourage guests not to bring confetti of any kind – even rice. Plastic confetti and sparkles are particularly bad for the soil and water.
It’s your day. Have a grand time – and please, be as mindful as you can be about greening your big day.
Katharine Fletcher is a writer, author and artist.