With June to August, the most popular months to get married, looming big on the event horizon it seemed the perfect time to complement our status as one of the Top 10 Green Wedding Destinations by publishing our guide to the perfect green wedding!
Planning a wedding, green or otherwise, in a foreign destination inevitably adds some extra complications to the process, so it’s important that you have complete confidence in the hotel selected to host your special day, and in their wedding planner’s green credentials to meet your requirements. Ideally the green wedding should boost Fair Trade and support small-to-medium businesses and individuals, benefiting the local community & economy.
In addition to locally-sourced supplies, the hotel should ideally be able to help reduce the carbon footprint, and even help offset your carbon emissions by opting to contribute to a tree-planting programme, a living testament to your union!
Please click here to see the ways we promote Hotel Mocking Bird Hill as sustainable & green; this might also assist as a handy checklist to compare with what other green hotels are offering for weddings etc.
Planning: Use the internet as far as possible. Recycle all magazines when you’re done by giving to community groups that make hand-made paper, like we do with the local Women’s Co-operative, to have custom invitation cards for your wedding.
Location: Closer to home is obviously greener, but since most couples plan on honeymooning abroad you might as well use this once in a lifetime opportunity to combine two special occasions into one dream tropical vacation! Venue sets the tone for your wedding day, and will account for a large amount of the overall cost. Using a venue such as a hotel for accommodation, hospitality, ceremony & reception helps save some money, avoiding for example no extra location rental fees, and avoiding unnecessary travel.
Ideally such a venue should also be able to offer Outdoor options when seasonally apt, as nothing says “green wedding” like an outdoor celebration! An outdoor setting helps lend a natural harmony to the whole event, as well as cutting down on decorations! At Mocking Bird Hill several outdoor options, including a unique local spot in either our gardens or art gallery, beachside or on the river.
Travel: Offset your guests’ impact on global warming with a carbon offsetting programme, or have them do it themselves as their gift to you.
Invites: The invitations provide the first impression your guests will receive of your green wedding, setting the tone and, if done right, saving trees and money.
The two main eco-friendly options are simply online using a blog-site or evites (paper-free virtual invites; there are a number of websites that provide great formats & suggestions); for a more lasting impression invitations made from 100% recycled, or “tree-free” paper. Postcards make for a more environmentally-friendly option than letters or cards within envelopes as well.
In your invitations, let guests know about the eco-friendly hotel and transportation options at the destination. Perhaps co-ordinate and offer group transportation to avoid individual transfers thus reducing carbon emissions.
Wedding Dress & Attire: Buy local, used, vintage or organic. It’s easy to find suppliers of organic hemp, linen or silk wedding dresses, or a dressmaker who can fashion a dress for you from such materials. Try and buy something you and your bridesmaids will wear again.
In Jamaica we recommend a simply elegant cool linen dress, perhaps with a hand-drawn Hardanga lace from the nearby women’s co-operative.
Go Vintage! Use mum’s old dress or one made from vintage/remnant fabrics, and update & accessorise, maybe with a piece of family jewelry.
Stay Cool! Our weddings for example are mostly casual, a linen shirts & trousers sufficing the groom, perhaps waistcoat rather than jacket; if wanting the formal tux it’s probably best to have one tailored, as renting is not as green as one might believe, due to the chemicals used in dry-cleaning.
Table Decorations: Add beauty and style to your wedding décor, naturally. Use pesticide-free garden blooms or locally grown flowers. Spray leaves with gold/silver paint as place mats and consider use of fresh fruits in glass jars with flowers to give a local flair to table decorations. We can use dried leaves, twigs, driftwood, seeds etc. for decorations. Potted plants can be given as gifts to be ‘re-gifted’ by planting locally.
Chic Eclectic! Utilise old adage “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue” for your table, with old heirlooms and interesting antique bric-a-brac, items that can be hand-painted with personalised message, organic cotton hemp, bamboo, linen runners & napkins that can be reused or passed on, and perhaps ask friends & family to borrow heirloom linen, candle stands and vases… Blue? how about considering a non-traditional wedding colour?!
Place Cards: Use natural objects like leaves, twigs, wood chunks, as free card holders. Or combine card holders and favours in one by using palm-leaf hand fans to acts as seating cues and help keep guests cool. Natural stones can be hand-painted to indicate seating too, and are wonderful as paperweights.
Photography: Ditch the one-time use disposable cameras. Ask your guests to bring digital cameras and email the pictures so that you can add them to your blog or create a Flickr group.
Wish list: creating a custom wish list of eco-friendly items like a basket of local specialties from some local artisan producers or a locally made wicker picnic basket to take home with you or contributions to an eco-friendly honeymoon such as gift certificates to enjoy a meal or an excursion. You can use our online registry for this
Charity: Ask guests to gift to charity instead of inundating you with kitchenware! For example you can ask your guests to either make a financial contribution or bring anything they can contribute to our ENOUGH programme to help and help disadvantaged school children.