You’re the kind of person who goes above and beyond the typical green-wedding plans. Those low-impact options the other bridezillas embrace—hemp wedding gowns, recycled paper invites, vegetarian cuisine, outdoor reception spots—those are green gimmes.
You want that cloud of smog to become a cloud of smug, don’t you? Yes, you do. So I’m here to offer you ideas so green they’re terre verte—outrageously earth green.
Just try to beat these for the ultimate in wedding green:
• Wear a wedding dress created from toilet paper: Use recycled t.p. (Seventh Generation has a nice texture). From a distance, you can’t even tell it’s paper, particularly after a few glasses of organic kiwi wine. Tissue paper also works well, although finding recycled tissue paper can be tough.
Pros: Inexpensive. Easy to rip off for post-nuptial skinny dip in Lake Lure (or for other post-nuptial activities). Fun to see the horror on your guests’ faces when they realize they’re trailing pieces of your dress from the bottoms of their shoes.
Cons: No vigorous dancing at the reception, unless you’re cool with public nudity. Also, if it rains, you’re screwed.
• Mine, smelt, and etch your own wedding rings: We live in the mountains, right? Bike on over to the nearest stream and pan for precious metals. Even better, crawl into a cave with a pickaxe and see what you can knock loose (finally fulfilling that life-long seven-dwarves fantasy). You’ll probably only find iron ore, but it can be made into rocking rings. And if it’s magnetic iron, you gain therapeutic qualities with your indestructible ring (outside the fires of Mordor, at least). With a little help from the Internet, you can smelt the iron, form a somewhat-circular ring, and etch it with sylvan patterns for your betrothed.
Pros: No blood diamonds or gold exported from poverty-stricken African nations rife with child labor. Hand-made rings say, “I love you so much, I’m willing to hammer my thumbnail with a red-hot poker.” In fact, the scars on your hands from making the rings could last longer than the marriage.
Cons: Highly dependent on actually sourcing the metal locally. As mentioned in the pros section, this green option can result in burning and scarring. Another option: Stone rings cost $1 at the Colburn Earth Science Museum gift shop.
• Only invite guests who can walk or bike to the wedding venue: Your wedding’s biggest contributor to global warming comes from emissions produced by trains, planes and automobiles. Vet your guest list carefully. Why would you want to invite folks who don’t share your commitment to the environment, anyway?
Pros: Major carbon-offset bonus points. The typical wedding can produce up to 75,000 tons of carbon emissions, most of which emanates from travel to and from the event. Go to www.carbonfund.org for your free carbon wedding calculator. If you’ve got a trust fund, you can offset your carbon load by donating to the organization ($44 per 8 tons of carbon) or you can plant thousands of trees in penance.
Cons: You’ll need to provide a bike rack. And your parents who live in New York might be angry if they’re not invited. Not to mention all your friends who live on organic farms in Madison County. If they drive trucks powered by biodiesel, go ahead and send them an invite.
• Use biodegradable utensils and dishes made from cornstarch, potatoes or sugar cane: Yes, you can buy flatware, plates, even take-home containers for your seven rescue mutts—all made from food items that degrade into compost for your organic garden in 60 days or less.
Pros: If you use sugarcane plates, your guests can eat them for dessert. Heck, your guests can eat the utensils as well, thus saving water. Makes clean-up super easy because everything goes straight into the compost bin.
Cons: Your venue must have a compost pile available, which can be stinky. Also, finding biodegradable utensils that also are made locally, i.e., they don’t have to be shipped across the country, is impossible. Finally, I’m not sure if biodegradable necessarily means easily digestible.
• Dark green your honeymoon: The greenest post-nuptial together time, is, of course, a biking and camping trip. Luckily, from Asheville, you have easy biking access to great camping (the Blue Ridge Parkway, anyone?). Bonus points for hooking up with members of the Rainbow Tribe. Extra bonus points for staying in the woods with them forever.
Pros: You won’t need a honeymoon wardrobe. Also, you won’t be wasting water because you won’t have access to it.
Cons: Couples who camp on their honeymoons get divorced at twice the average rate. Since the current rate of divorce is 50 percent, I wouldn’t suggest this option. Better idea: Drive up to Hot Springs. Spend your days in the earth-heated mineral water and your nights in a cozy cabin. Calculate your carbon load and send more guilt money to one of the offsetting orgs (Carbon Fund, Conservation Fund, TerraPass).
Of course, the greenest wedding consists of just you and your honey eloping to the local justice of the peace. The smug outlasts the memories, right?