The 2017 Earth-Friendly and Made in America Wedding Registry

by - Friday, June 02, 2017

Congratulations! You're getting hitched! Now, you may be trying to figure out all the adult things you need on top of planning a big super-expensive party. The last thing you need is one more thing to worry about, right? Well let me suggest a new worry. A wedding is a joyous occasion to think about the future and to appreciate the present, and it does a lot of good to everyone around you to share your happiness and feel grateful about their own blessings. That's awesome. You have an opportunity to do even more good in how you approach your wedding.

Thinking about the future and appreciating the present can mean a little more if you consider how this wedding takes care of the environment. I have tons of ideas of how to do this, but one move you can make that has tremendous impact is making a green wedding registry. We know that consumerism is directly linked to so many of the problems plaguing our Earth, from climate change to plastic pollution in the ocean, and weddings are often a huge affair that encourages a lot of shopping and spending. So it is a place where you can do a lot of harm, but it is also an opportunity to make positive changes.

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something, and putting greener products in our house is something we can all do a little more of. 

Never heard of it? Well, me either before this, but it's really simple. You don't have to be crunchy or granola to do this- literally any couple from any lifestyle could make their registry greener while still getting what they want and need.

 Rather than just picking the sheets you like or the blender you think looks nice, you consider what is it made of? Where was it made? How were the people who made it treated? Do you really need it?

I know it sounds like an unmanageable and difficult responsibility, but I have already done the hard work for you

I researched so many great products and companies that still manufacture in the US or with recycled materials. While each of us can't save the world on our own, if we all do a little bit, it can have a huge effect. You get to tell everyone what to buy you only a few times in your life, so you can encourage lots of great decisions that do good just by switching out some of the objects on your registry for ones on this list. 

Most people approach the wedding registry with two basic questions- "What am I supposed to have?" and "What do I want?" Making a wedding registry more eco-friendly requires you to add (and maybe prioritize) some radical questions to help you and your partner flip the plot.

1. Do we already have this? Do we even need it? 

The first step is making a list of what you need, and my challenge to you is to keep that list short. Way short.

Yes, your toaster is ugly, but does it still make toast? Yes, a registry can be a great time to replace things that are ready for retirement, but the best way to have a registry that really works is to focus on what you actually need. Not to mention, being happy with life in general is all about being happy with what you already have. If you can keep making something work, do that!

 Feel empowered to keep what still works, even if the Matrimonial Gods seem to be saying otherwise.

Overconsumption can look like an American value, but our obsession with stuff burdens our lives, wastes our time (we buy a bigger house, we buy stuff to fill it, we have to clean all those surfaces and work harder to pay for them), and just generally chips away at our happiness. Our love of having ALL THE STUFF also means that we use more fossil fuels by shipping our stuff all over the world, we create excessive garbage (because that shitty plastic clock doesn't have a use once it breaks), and we fuel an economy of cheap and easy (meaning companies push for cheap labor instead of quality and ethically-made values).

2. Can we get this used? 

So you have a registry list; take a trip to your local Consignment store and see if you can cross anything off it at a pretty low cost.

We all want brand new cooling racks, right? But, why? There are some things on every pinterest "you need this on your registry" list that you can easily get through community gifting like a Buy Nothing group or in any good-sized consignment store. Checking out what used options are out there can cut your list down even more, so you can focus on quality and not quantity. If you can get the same wastebasket for 2 dollars, wouldn't you rather receive something else as a gift?

Buying things used is one of the most eco-friendly changes you can make to your life, and it will save you tons of money. Buying things used means you are keeping someone else's trash out of the landfill. These items usually move shorter distances from household to household, wasting significantly less fossil fuels and creating far fewer emissions by skipping shipping and manufacturing. Plus, so often you can find things that are actually better quality than anything you will get in the store, because it was built many years ago to last.

3. Can I find a recycled option for this item? How about Made in America?

Instead of picking items based on what aesthetic appeals most to you, look to see if you can find things Made in America. It is totally possible to have a wedding registry with only made in America items!

You may not think of Made in America as being eco-friendly, but every Made in a Far Away Land item has to travel all that way from it's manufacturing to your gift table. That wastes a lot of fossil fuels! This is just the tip of the iceberg; Made in America products often are held to higher environmental and labor standards, so you can feel confident that you are both supporting American workers and refusing to support the gross mistreatment of other human beings. Because nothing says joyous day and lifelong commitment like someone in a sweatshop making your towels.

Wouldn't you like your house to have better juju than a hoard of sweatshop gifts? Wouldn't you rather get a gift you never have to replace than buy 6 more of the same in the course of your marriage?

By choosing Made in America and recycled products, you are also sending the message to companies over and over again that the ethics of what you buy are important to you and that you will support ethical and environmentally conscious products. It creates a positive feedback loop and ends the message they receive over and over that people don't care, they just want what they want when they want it.

You may be thinking "But Barbara, I have 40+ items on my wedding registry. I don't have time to research Made in America options for every one of them." Truth, friend, you are planning a wedding! You are busy enough!

On the other hand, I am not planning a wedding, so I have compiled a huge list here, so feel free to poke around. I used Amazon for as many links as I could, to simplify, but I highly encourage you to register somewhere small too, not just on a big chain or website.

So, if you want to read through the list, you can find all the parts here: 

For the 2017 version, I am also making Just the Links versions of the lists, so you don't have to weed through my banter.

Kitchen Supplies Part 1 Just the Links
Kitchen Supplies Part 2 Just the Links
Dining Room Just the Links
Bedroom and Bathroom Just the Links
Living Room, Outdoors, and Odds and Ends Just the Links

You can do this! And if you want some simple browsing, I put all of the Amazon products on a mega registry you can browse through here (just remember to send it to yourself if you try to buy things).

This isn't about doing every little thing right, or we would all be Swiss Family Granola, but the more you can switch things out, the more little positive changes you can make in the world. If you are interested in other green ideas for your wedding, I have TONS of them- check out the Green Weddings and Anniversaries page!

I also wrote a list of Ten Things I Wish We Knew Before We Registered, so you might check that out if you are getting ready to tackle this wishlist. 

Finally, if you have other shopping to do and what to see what eco-friendly and Made in America options are out there, be sure to check out the List of all the Shopping Lists! We can change the world by changing how we shop.

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  1. Earth friendly for the win! Great post! I also love your log's design.

    1. Thanks! Still working on it, but I like it too.

  2. Great idea. I'm all about buying eco friendly and items made in America. That's what we really need to start doing to "make America great again".

    1. Exactly! Buying Made in America is better for our economy, our neighbors, and our planet! Everyone should do it more.

  3. Great idea , I love the thought of having a gift registry that isn't just 'i want this, this and this' but what do we actually need that we will love together for years to come.

  4. Wow! This is awesome. Gift registry with eco-friendly items.That's really a hit.

  5. Love your register! So many amazing products that you will actually use.

  6. Love this idea! An eco-friendly registry would be right up my ally.



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