This Month's Inspiration- Welcome to Wedding Season!

by - Sunday, May 01, 2016

Ah, welcome to wedding season. To some, a terrible season filled with the horrors of picked over wedding registries, bad dancing, sentimental carrying on, and that awkward hour where people are getting their picture taken but you just want to eat.

Weirdly, I like most of those things (I will never like the photo-taking hour. Take your pictures beforehand, for goodness sake). I love going to weddings and wishing people well as they start off on their future together. It's never frivolous to put time, creativity, and energy into the good things that happen in our lives.

Through my 20's, the weddings per year escalated from one a year when I was 20 to having a wedding every weekend some months. Now, at 30, I think it might be slowing down slightly. I still love it all, and now I love it more, because I can see it is one of the best opportunities we have (both as wedding participants and guests) in life to make a positive difference beyond ourselves by just twisting the script a little.

The danger of these parties is that they can have lots of negative effects on the environment. We used about a million plastic cups at our cocktail hour, and I know that business did not get recycled.  Stores like Alfred Angelo and David's Bridal make oodles of money for selling cheap chiffon bridesmaid dresses, but why are they so cheap? Who was making them? Lots of the traditions we take for granted can create a lot of waste.

I know I wasn't thinking about being responsible with our wedding planning at all, but I don't remember seeing that information out there.The other big factor is cost. Weddings can be so expensive, so if you aren't a Kardashian, you are probably looking for ways to save money. That quest can lead to creative decision and diy projects, but it can also lead to shortcuts and lots of "Made in China" on the tags. I usually roll my eyes at discussions of the Wedding Industrial Complex, but you definitely can see that it is a capitalist machine that (like all capitalist machines) encourages you to make decisions where you get everything you want as quickly and cheaply as you can, and most stores and companies discourage you from worrying about anything else. There is another way to think about it.

During the spring, lots of people plan their parties, book their venues, and build their registries. Two of my favorite people are doing just that right now, and I am having a blast hearing their ideas and offering lots of unsolicited advice. Brides and grooms are also looking forward to the future. Having a green wedding helps take care of the future you are planning for. The wedding will be a great day, but you also want a great life together, and planning a greener wedding can take care of that future. It can have a positive impact on the world, not just your own life for this moment. That's awesome.

There are already lots of cool sites that address this. You figure the "average" wedding costs 20-odd thousand dollars, and even if you aren't spending nearly that much money, you are probably shelling out a good chunk, so if you put it toward the American economy or waste-free options, you can have a good amount of impact. I want to be USA Love List when I grow up, and they have a solid list of tips for a green wedding. As do those wedding gurus on the Knot (including having a more eco-friendly and locally-sourced registry- blamo!). Better Homes and Gardens has a list as well! This isn't a novel idea, it's just one that could require a lot of research, so let me do some of that work for you.

So this month, I am going to try to create some resources so if you are curious about this stuff, you can address it. We will try to answer some very important questions:

- Can you have an entirely eco-friendly wedding registry?

- What are some environmentally-conscientious wedding favor ideas?

- What can you donate after the wedding? Where can you donate a wedding dress?

- Can you have a waste-free wedding?

-How can you save money on your wedding without getting plastic decorations?

- Can you have a party that is awesome for your guests and helps other people?

- What kinds of gifts can you give as a guest that the bride and groom will love but aren't necessarily on their registry?

Not wedding planning or guesting this year? There will still be lots of useful stuff for you!  I will be refreshing the Wedding Registry I posted last year, and you can use it to fill gaps in your own house's stuff.

When I walked down that aisle, I had no idea what the future held, but I feel proud that most of our DIY, etsy-fueled wedding was Made in America and supporting small businesses. On the other hand, I really regret that we didn't approach our registry with more thought about supporting American businesses and minimizing our environmental impact. It's so possible, and I know we can all do better at this!

I am really excited about this month and revisiting so much of the wedding stuff I wrote a few years back when I was planning my own wedding. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions the blog should address this May!

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