Monday, January 26, 2009

Green Weddings Part 3: Ceremony and Reception

Having an eco-friendly wedding is very important to many couples. There are alot of details that make up your special day. For each element that makes up your great day there is an opportunity to make eco-friendly decisions. Today we will explore eco-friendly decisions for your ceremony and reception.


The romantic impact of a candlelit ceremony or a table decorated with candles is hard to overlook, however you can lessen your impact on the environment by making the right choices.

Candles create a wonderful ambiance for your romantic day. However, some candles can also emit carcinogens and neurotoxins. Making an eco-friendly decision to choose candles made from palm oil, beeswax, and soy ensure you clean-burning illumination that’s also longer-lasting and petroleum-free.

Choose locally-made candles so that you can avoid the carbon impact from transporting the candles across the country or from overseas.

Reuse old candles, ask for old candles from churches. Some churches use new candles for every service, you may have the opportunity to reuse these candles and prevent them from being thrown out.


Candles made with beeswax are naturally fragrant, nontoxic, soot-free, and non-allergenic. They’re completely renewable and require little, if any, additives. Candles made from 100 percent beeswax are easy to come by and burn longer than regular petro-based paraffin candles.


Candles with soybean-based wax are generally vegan, soot-free, and biodegradable, and like beeswax, they’re renewable. They can burn up to 50 percent longer than paraffin candles and, if spilled, can be cleaned up with soap and water. Make sure they are 100% paraffin-free and have lead free wicks.

The scent of soy candles may not throw well. Which should not be a problem for a wedding, I generally would not recommended scented candles for a table setting or ceremony. Which leads to another tip, finding scentless candles can be a healthy choice since synthetic fragrances often added to candles have been identified as VOC-emitters.

Soy wax is soft, soy candles may usually be found in jars and tins, which might limit your decor options.

Palm oil

Palm oil wax comes from coconuts (the fruit of palm trees) so no plants die during harvesting. Palm oil candles are clean burning and long lasting.

Choosing soy, beeswax, or palm oil candles will get you burning more cleanly, but keep in mind that hidden ingredients sometimes sneak their way into natural products, so check labels before making a final purchase.


Find a florist who uses flowers which are free of pesticides and herbicides.
Choosing a florist who uses organically grown, in-season, local flowers is an eco-friendly decision for your wedding flowers. You can also find some online sites that offer organic flower options.

Organic Bouquet
offers sustainably grown flowers fresh from partner farms. They have adopted social and environmental standards—developing the most eco-friendly floral packaging, initiating the industry's first carbon offset program, and growing flowers in a way that is gentle on the earth and that safeguards the ecology and the well-being of wildlife and farm workers.

Bamboo is a sustainable materials , it can grow up to two feet a day. Tall stalks of curly bamboo in centerpieces is a great and modern-looking and "green" option.

Buy fresh flowers at your local farmer's market.

Use dried or silk flowers as an eco friendly alternative.

Reuse the flowers used at the ceremony to decorated your reception.


Choose a caterer who uses locally grown organic food where possible. If fish is on the menu, the caterer should choose them from sustainable sources and is MSC certified.

Organic Catering Directory:

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NY -

NY -

Wine lovers consider having organic wine at your reception. If your venue does not offer this option, they might allow you to bring in your own wine. Keep in mind that the venue might impose a corking fee for wine brought into their establishment.


Choose a Site with Significance

The money that you spend on your wedding venue can also be an eco-friendly decision. Locations such as botanical gardens, arboretums or non-profit sites that will use the money gained to offer programs that will maintain and support eco-friendly ideals.

Remember the key to an eco-friendly wedding is to simplify. You can save money and resources by reusing accents. You can be confident of your "green" efforts by choosing to work with what you've got nearby (and in season).

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