Monday, August 2, 2010

Sustaining the Wedding

Everyone and their mother in blogland seems to be weighing in on the issue of sustainability.  So many couples want their weddings to be eco-friendly!  This makes me really happy.  It's so nice to know that people are actually starting to care enough to make a real effort to help the environment, even on their wedding day!

Environmental issues are deeply important to me.  I love the outdoors and being in nature, and no other political issue is more significant to me.  I've often thought about trying to have a career helping the environment.  Thus, sustainability is definitely something I strive toward in my daily life.

And yet, it's not something I'm going to worry about on my wedding day.

Before you crucify me, please hear my explanation.

I do not have much money.  This last year, I have been living below the poverty line.  And trying reach the peak of sustainability like many of you lovely ladies are doing is not cheap.  If I had been trying to buy all of my food organically and free-rangey, I would have starved or gone into monstrous debt.  I am utterly serious about this.  I graduated college at pretty much the worst time since the Great Depression and had little job experience to begin with.  I. can't. afford it.

I still try to do everything I can for the environment in my daily life.  I never use throw away dishes, I don't leave the water running when I'm doing dishes or brushing my teeth, I try not to take long showers and avoid giving in to baths, I recycle avidly, I avoid the air conditioner and try to make sure that Daniel keeps it to a reasonable level, I pretty much always turn the lights off when I leave a room, I don't drive when walking isn't a problem (unless it's 10 degrees outside; I have limits), I do not litter (I will seriously chase down napkins and such), I can count the number of paper towel rolls we've used in the last year, every time I see the plastic rings from a six pack on the ground, I pull the rings apart (and there are a ton of them around here).  In other words, I'm conscious of what I'm doing and how it affects the world around me.  And if I could shop at Whole Foods every day and make sure that I'm comfortable with the way everything I buy was produced, I totally would.  I'm just not really there economically right now.

As for the wedding, if we had a higher budget, I might make an effort to find a sustainably-minded caterer, buy everything hand-crafted, and make donations to an environmental protection group as favors.  But when it really comes down to it, the wedding is one day of our lives.  In the grand scheme of things, it's not going to make that big of a difference, especially since we are not even inviting 100 guests.  And I want my day to be as close to the vision in my head as I can make it, so doing everything the environmentally optimum way would destroy my budget for a lot of other things I want.  And nothing I do will offset the carbon footprint of getting our guests all in one place, so really the best thing I can do for the environment is invite as few OOT guests as possible.  Do you see how this is a problem?

I definitely admire those of you who make an effort to have a sustainable wedding, I really do.  But I feel like I already do enough (for the time being), and making this one day my day is not going to be the end of the world.


  1. We are not going out of our way to have a sustainable wedding but at the same time I feel like we are being eco-friendlier by being broke. As in, we can't have this, this or this. The sheer amount of NOTHINGNESS going on in our wedding is eco. Like, we can't afford tons of paper products- our STDs were a single postcard, our invites only had two pieces to them. So yeah, when you think of it THAT way.... :D

  2. Hm, this is a good point. I feel a little better. And we are actually not doing paper STDs and probably will have minimal pages in our invites, so I guess that helps.

  3. Why is it so expensive to be GREEN? Makes me crazy. I think we are going to struggle with this as well. Oh well, can't be perfect!


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