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How to have an eco-friendly wedding

Couples commonly look for ways to set their weddings apart from those of their friends and families. Doing so helps create unique memories for the bride- and groom-to-be, while ensuring guests have a good time as well.

One of the ways couples can distinguish their nuptials from those of friends and family is to make their big day an eco-friendly affair. Going green for your wedding is a wonderful way for eco-conscious couples to keep the environment in mind on one of the most memorable days of their lives. The following are a few ways to plan and host a green wedding.

* Start with the jewelry. A couple's journey to their wedding day typically begins with the marriage proposal, and that often includes an engagement ring. Even this time-honored tradition can be done in an eco-friendly way. Shop for jewelers who use recycled stones and metals, which can be used to create beautiful and unique items.

Another way jewelry can be green is to purchase vintage or antique items, which are obviously reusable and sustainable. Couples can also use family heirlooms, both for the engagement ring and the wedding rings.

* Address your attire. Brides hoping to take an eco-friendly walk down the aisle can shop for a gown that's stylish and sustainable. A family gown can be re-fitted to fit the bride-to-be, or brides can take advantage of the growing popularity of environmentally conscious attire and choose a gown made from sustainable materials. Many of the top designers now make gowns produced from such materials, so finding these gowns is no longer akin to searching for a needle in a haystack.

* Go green with the invitations. One of the easiest ways to go green at your wedding involves the wedding invitations. Couples have myriad options at their disposal when it comes to eco-friendly invitations, whether it's post consumer-waste paper, tree-free paper or digital invitations sent via the Internet. Each of these options reduces your wedding's carbon footprint without sacrificing quality or lessening the significance of the big day.

Another way to create more eco-friendly invitations is to use a Web site such as, where couples can create their own wedding page and include information regarding the ceremony as well as directions, hotels and other information that would otherwise be disseminated with the paper invitations. Having all of this information available on your personal wedding Web site reduces your paper consumption and makes it easier for guests to find all the pertinent information regarding your big day.

* Get beautified in an environmentally friendly way. Women often spend hours on their wedding day with hairdressers and makeup artists, and even this tradition can be done in an eco-friendly way. Choose all-natural beauty products instead of using conventional cosmetics, many of which contain toxic chemicals. When shopping for a salon to visit the morning of your wedding day, look for one that's eco-friendly. Such salons are growing in popularity, so they should not be too difficult to find.

* Don't forget the flowers. Flowers add significant aesthetic appeal to a wedding, and couples can make them even more appealing by choosing local flowers that are in-season. Local and seasonal flowers won't need to be transported as far as their exotic and out-of-season counterparts, cutting down on a floral arrangement's carbon footprint. Also, when shopping for a florist, look for one who specializes in organic flowers, which are never sprayed with potentially harmful pesticides or fungicides.

Couples about to tie the knot can make their weddings even more special by making the festivities environmentally friendly.