Potted herbs or flowers. This is a good idea especially if your guests like to cook. You can get small potted herbs of basil, oregano, etc and if you now that he majority of your guests are more into fresh flowers then herbs then you can use small potted flowers instead. These items may also be used as escort and place cards! You can get creative with the pots and use a commemorative container or put a special message on it.
Handmade soap and candles. You can make soap (liquid or solid) yourself or purchase from a local company. They come in great scents and you know it is something everyone will use. You can also make or buy locally Soy or beeswax candles.
Bamboo boxes and Honey. Bamboo is the new wood and everyone can use a small box to place their trinkets in. Here is a link to purchase the bamboo boxes: http://www.asianideas.com/bamboobox.html. Local honey is a great favor idea as well and it helps build up immunity to seasonal allergies. visit this site: http://www.naturallygrown.org/farms/list/227/NC for a list of local honey farms. If honey isn’t your thing con side other local food items that will be in season at the time of your wedding.
It is always better to give than to receive so a small charitable donation in each guest’s name to your favorite charity is a great way to include your guests in something that benefits an important cause or organization.
If you are planning on “going green” with your wedding that means you are pretty passionate about what you can do to help out our planet. You will probably want to carry this out with your gifts as well, here are some tips:
Ask for gifts to charity instead of material goods
Register with sites like the I Do Foundation or another site that gives a percentage of gift purchases to your chosen cause
Consider registering with stores that offer local, fair-trade, handmade, organic, or other ecofriendly products
Set up a registry that will collect contributions to an ecofriendly honeymoon or down payment on your first home
Creating a custom registry of ecofriendly items like a fresh-produce subscription from a local farm, organic gardening supplies, organic linens, park and museum passes
Organic skin-care products
Selections of organic coffees, teas, and chocolates
Personalized paper journals and stationery using recycled, handmade, or plantable papers processed chlorine-free and printed with vegetable- or soy-based inks or tree-free paper made out of hemp, banana stalks, bamboo, kenaf, or organic cotton
Bottle of local organic wine. NC has great wineries to check out!
Roses and calla lilies are very beautiful at weddings but if are looking for a more organic feel you should look into flowers that will make your bouquet more earthy and fresh looking as if you just picked them from the garden. Ask your florist what flowers will be “in season” at the time of your wedding and use locally grown flowers and foliage. Here are some tips:
Opt for organic flowers
Find a florist who recycles packaging and will source locally raised flowers
Have your bridesmaids carry matching purses or silk bouquets instead of cut flowers
Decorate with branches, dried grasses, grains, greens, berries, or live plants (potted or dried arrangements can double as favors)
Choose beeswax or soy-based candles over those made with paraffin, a petroleum byproduct
Arrange to have decorations moved from the ceremony to the reception
Use leaves or other natural objects as place cards
Throw biodegradable confetti or organic rose petals
Donate the flowers to a hospital or rest home at the end of the day
The Raleigh’s Farmer’s Market is a great resource for the above items and a great way to support out local farmers!
Keep your ceremony and reception at the same place to cut down on transportation gas.
Use local vendors. Utilize your farmer’s market and vendors who reside within your area. We are fortunate in North Carolina to have very talented artist and musicians from the beach to the mountains.
Use caterers and bakers that use organic produce
For venue ideas look to local farms. For summer weddings brides love to get married outside and there are some local farms with beautiful scenery but you may have to do your research!
Look for recycled, handmade, or tree-free invitations
Take this quiz on how green is your wedding!
You want to look at diamonds that are not mined in war zones and fund conflicts aka “blood diamonds”. Consider using a vintage ring or recycling diamonds and gems from a vintage ring to create a new ring. Diamonds are a girls best friend but there are more and more brides that are looking towards other gems that have meaning to them or that they favor more than diamonds. Another tip is that you can have old gold melted down and refashioned to make your wedding bands.
Location, location, location! It is important for real estate and probably more importantly… weddings! Your venue will set the tone, feeling and atmosphere of your wedding. Choose it wisely! Here are some tips for choosing a “green” wedding venue:
Choose a venue that’s convenient to most guests to minimize travel
Have the ceremony and the reception at the same location, or providing ecofriendly transportation between them
Utilize spaces like nonprofit space, organic restaurant or farm, green hotel, or botanical garden
Consider outdoor settings because they automatically invoke a been atmosphere with a natural sensibility
Use the natural decor of the outdoor space
Arrive at the ceremony in a horse-drawn carriage, cycle rickshaw, trolley, or hybrid car
Use recycled, handmade, or plantable papers processed chlorine-free and printed with vegetable- or soy-based inks
tree-free paper made out of hemp, banana stalks, bamboo, kenaf, or organic cotton
Look for a printer who will use paper with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled content
Use papers that aren’t metallic or plastic-coated, characteristics that make them hard to recycle
Look for opportunities to reduce paper use, like sending a postcard (instead of multi-enveloped notes) for your save-the-date, or using online invitations and a wedding blog to let people know about the bachelor/ette parties, rehearsal dinner, and gift registry
In your invitations, let guests know about the ecofriendly hotel and transportation options in your area, whether it’s hybrid rental cars or directions to the ceremony on public transportation.
And don’t forget to pick up some extra green paper products for your guest book, place cards, and thank-you notes.
All eyes will be on you, as they should be and you still want to look amazing and you still can! You may need to look outside of the box to create that perfect look and here are something tips to guide you along the way:
Go vintage (and update your look as necessary with tailoring and modern shoes and accessories)
Pick clothes made from hemp, bamboo, and organic cotton or silk–or find a dressmaker who will make a one-of-a-kind item out of these sustainable fabrics (men’s suits and shirts come in organic cotton or wool too)
Borrow an elegant gown
Buy something you’ll wear again (and let your bridesmaids do the same)
Accessorize with vintage and/or borrowed jewelry, accessories and purses
Consider using vegetable dyes on your shoes (or go barefoot for a beach wedding)
Donate your dress to charity