Taking Outer Banks Weddings on an Ecological Spin
By Michelle Bunce –
As the number of weddings in the US tops two million and reaches the $50 billion plateau, according to The Wedding Report, Inc. (an online resource), more and more couples are paying attention to the environmental implications of their choices. They are saying “I Do” with a social conscience and thinking of their future, letting the moment live on with the choices they make on this special, first day of the rest of their lives together.
They begin by thinking about the footprint they’ll be leaving on the environment.
This “footprint” begins by choosing a green venue or community. The Outer Banks prides itself with its green efforts. There are large recycling programs and centers, a no plastic shopping bag policy in the beach towns, and a seafood catch program that encourages people to buy local.
While natural sites, such as zoos, parks, museums and aquariums provide interesting choices in décor, some couples choose event homes and hotels that are built using green construction and design practices.
Some brides and grooms like to keep the wedding events all at one site while others increase the fun by keeping the event site secret. Either way, consider providing hybrid transportation vehicles, which help reduce emissions and carbon footprints. The resulting safe rides home are an added bonus.
Reduce Your Wedding Carbon Footprint
Did you know there are online “wedding carbon footprint” calculators to determine the amount of greenhouse gases and carbon emissions generated by your guests? Once you figure it out, you can buy carbon credits to offset the potential environmental damage. This information can be found at TerraPass.com and Carbonfund.org.
Another great green idea also makes use of the internet. Save the date and earth by using E-vites for invitations and email RSVPs. Not for you? Then opt for invites embedded with wildflower seeds to be planted afterwards. Need a simple way to get your message out at the event? Go green by using a fun chalkboard for ceremony details and menu; it also saves resources.
Buy Local Food and Flowers
Think farm to fork! Locally produced or harvested foods benefit the community, save transportation costs and are guaranteed to be fresher. Outer Banks Catch, a Currituck, Dare, Hyde and Tyrell county initiative, promotes and educates people about purchasing and consuming local and sustainable seafood.
Organic foods help lessen the amount of pesticides in our oceans, which in turn helps protect our marine resources. Creative food containers or centerpieces such as cucumbers and the like leave nothing to wash or throw away. Top it all off with locally brewed beer and wine from local vineyards!
Use native, locally grown and seasonal flowers, which are environmentally friendly and sustainable. They can be more affordable, readily available and reduce emissions by not having to be shipped.
Another creative idea entails checking with local nurseries about renting their plants. Add a lasting memory and environmental impact by using seedling giveaways as décor and favors. Guests can take them home and plant them, which gives back to the environment and reduces the carbon footprint.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure right? Donate any leftover food, flowers and decor to a local church, shelter, nursing home, or art studio.
What about a virtual goody bag? Whoa – the possibilities are endless! Outer Banks Sporting Events has found this avenue works great for their thousands of runners who visit four times a year.
Shoes may be optional at a wedding but the size of their footprint is a choice. Green and sustainable weddings help to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
They can range from simple to complex, cost effective to costly and traditional to unique. Perhaps the main goal is to simply help people understand what their impact may be and then to empower them with information and resources to act. No matter how many green choices and options there may be, any one is a good choice!
P.S. Don’t forget to eco-escape for the honeymoon …
Michele Bunce is the Facility Rental Coordinator for Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. She may be reached at Michele.firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-255-1501, ext. 204.