Is it possible to have an environmentally-conscious event without breaking the bank?

The most common piece of advice I’ve read in wedding books and magazines is to make a list of priorities, so we know what’s important to each other in a wedding. Being the social creatures that we are, we know we want to be surrounded by family and friends,  have an open bar, and a live band. (How could a local musician use a DJ for her wedding?)  As far as planning goes, however, a major factor for us is being as Green as possible. Sure, we could just buy carbon offsets from a site like this one, but I’d rather make our footprint as small as possible. I don’t want to be wasteful, either in food supply or oil miles.

Some things are less expensive when made more Green – buying a used wedding gown, for example, rather than spending cash on an imported dress that’ll only ever be worn once. Sadly, we’ve found that the majority of things are much more costly. Printing invitations and programs on seed paper is expensive, and even buying vintage postcards to use as Save-the-Dates (reuse!) is proving more expensive than just ordering something brand new from a printer. (I’m holding out hope that a nice vintage lot of old Kentucky postcards will appear on eBay soon.)

Still other Green options aren’t even easy to find. The one caterer we’ve met with so far seemed confused when I asked about serving locally grown food or non-processed goodness. Our wedding is in July, so it didn’t seem out of the question for me to ask about locally-grown tomatoes (it’ll be the height of tomato season, after all), but the caterer said all she could do was “ask.” Surely we aren’t the only bride and groom to have ever inquired about using local produce, so why is it so hard to make that happen? And when asked if we could get a discount on a menu if we chose not to serve the meat that was included in the price, again, “Probably not, but I guess I could ask.”

I’m learning that in order to have the wedding we want to have, we are going to have to make a lot of difficult choices. I’m not just talking about slashing the invite list in half (a whole other blog, ugh), but about when to splurge and when to save. It’s funny, but when you start talking about saving time, I couldn’t care less. Tying ribbons around programs for hours or whittling my own centerpieces doesn’t phase me. But when it comes to saving dollars and cents, I’m much more stingy. I’d rather save money than time, I suppose.

Maybe I should just start planning my vegetable garden better and just grow all of our wedding food in my front yard.

Suggestions on how to have a Green wedding or vendors that understand such a thing are more than welcome… I’d love to talk to some caterers who care about oil miles and health.

photo: zzilch