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Green Wedding Guide


Green Wedding Guide

Planning Your Eco-Friendly Celebration

There has been so much in the media lately about global environmental issues. From climate change, biodiversity loss, and the burgeoning issue of plastic waste, it can all seem so overwhelming. But here’s the good news. There is always a chance to make a difference, and perhaps surprisingly, this holds especially true when planning your wedding. 

We’ve created a green wedding guide to help you plan your eco-friendly celebration, and ensure that your dream wedding can also have a minimal impact on the environment.


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Photo by Mint Photography

It is estimated that each of the 2.5 million weddings that take place in the US every year, produces 62 tons of carbon dioxide (that’s more than a single person emits in a full year) and 400 – 600 pounds of garbage (source: Huffington Post, 2017). So why not start your married life together the way you wish to continue - aligned with your values and inspiring those around you? 

"This is a huge industry, and every choice for a green wedding builds the momentum for an entire industry to shift practices." 

Audrey Peller, Global Footprint Network

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Great Hall at The Cedars Ranch

Here are some ways to green your wedding and ensure your special day has a minimal impact on the environment. Let’s look at the eco themes of energy, food, flowers and waste ...

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Photo by Mint Photography

Energy + Transportation

There is no doubt about it - global warming is the environmental hot topic of the moment. The use of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, causing the current change in our climatic systems. Prognoses are dire, if we continue on this unsustainable path. So how can your wedding address one of the most significant environmental issues of our time? 

One of the main ways you can ensure your wedding has a minimal carbon footprint is to choose a venue run on renewable energy. "Using renewable energy reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution associated with energy production and helps diversify the nation’s energy supply" (source: EPA.gov). A solar powered wedding – what a brilliant option for your special day and for the earth too!

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Solar Panels at The Cedars Ranch

Think too about transportation. The transportation sector is one of the largest contributors to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (source: EPA. gov). How are your guests traveling to and from your wedding? You can immediately cut transport emissions by having your ceremony and reception in the same location. To further minimize vehicle emissions, look into shuttle services for your guests or suggest and support carpooling. 

If you’re serious about having a carbon neutral wedding, and are having a lot of guests flying to your wedding, you can choose to offset these carbon emissions. For this or other unavoidable carbon emissions, carbon offset companies offer the service of offsetting emissions through planting trees or promoting renewable energy in exchange for a fee. 

“Minimize your celebration’s carbon footprint, set an example for guests and get your married life started on the right vibe.”

Mireya Navarro, Green Wedding

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Photo by Mint Photography

Food + Drink

Food and drink, though it may not be so obvious at first, can have a huge impact on our local and global environment. Here are a few things to consider when choosing and/or working with your wedding caterer. 

1) Local: In the US, food typically travels around 1,500 miles from where it was farmed to your plate (source: AustinTexas.gov). Sourcing your food and drink locally reduces food miles as well as supports the local economy. Ensure that the food you are procuring locally is also in season to further reduce the additional energy required to grow food when it’s not natural to do so (e.g. heating greenhouses).

2) Organic: Choosing organic over conventionally produced food (i.e. using chemicals and fertilizers) helps maintain the health of our ecosystems and conserves biodiversity. This holds true for alcohol too, with an increasing number of wines being labeled as USDA organic.

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Photo by Mint Photography

3) Fair Trade: While not strictly an environmental concern, choosing fair trade food and drinks for your wedding is an important consideration for socially responsible couples. By choosing fair trade, you are supporting better working conditions for producers, and helping in the fight against slave and child labor. Search for the fair trade label for tea, coffee and chocolate, in particular. 

4) Plant-Based: Opting for a more vegetarian-based menu radically reduces the carbon footprint of your food. While you may not want to go entirely plant-based for your wedding day, it is worth considering that many studies cite the livestock industry as being more significant in contributing to climate change, then the transportation industry (source: FOA.org).

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Wedding at The Cedars Ranch. Photo by T and V Photos

Flowers

Wedding flowers can potentially have a large eco-footprint depending on where they are sourced and under what growing conditions they are produced. When considering florals and decor for your special day, first think through whether you need floral displays at all! If your venue is in a natural setting, then you can let nature do the decorating! Think too of floral alternatives like edible table centerpieces (beautiful fruit bowls), or potted plants.

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Photo by Sloan Breeden Photography

If you are including flowers in your wedding, then the environmental considerations are similar to those outlined above for food. Source your plants and flowers locally so you are reducing transport emissions (so many wedding flowers are flown in from half way across the world!). By doing so, you are also supporting the local economy. Ensure your locally procured flowers are in season to avoid energy intensive production. Choose organic over conventionally produced flowers. Cultivation of flowers is big business and the industry uses large amounts of pesticides and often under harsh working conditions. Veriflora certified flowers are chemical-free and ensure fair working conditions too.

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Foraged florals! Photo by Al Gawlik Photography

Waste

Weddings can be a huge source of plastic, paper and food waste. The most sustainable approach to addressing waste is to focus on ways to minimize its production in the first place. Luckily, the wedding industry has many options to minimize waste generation that are both beautiful and sustainable! For example, eliminate the use of disposable materials by opting for reusable napkins, linens, utensils, and décor. There are many great wedding-focused rental companies that offer gorgeous reusable items for rent (see our Vendor List for event rental options). Other ways to reduce your wedding waste footprint is to opt for eco-friendly party favors and natural send-off options like petals or leaves (instead of confetti, for example).

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Photo by Cedars and Sage Studios

The next thing to consider, is how to manage the waste you do produce in the most responsible way. Here’s where choosing a wedding venue with strong eco practices is important. Does your venue separate their waste materials into recyclables and composting? Do they have clearly marked cans for these waste streams? While not as optimal as using reusable plates and utensils, another eco-friendly option is to use compostable plates and utensils, where composting is practiced.

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Photo by Al Gawlik Photography

"Being green is not an absolute; it is a series of goals, and only you can decide how far you will go in achieving them."

Mireya Navarro, Green Wedding

                  


Have your dream eco-friendly wedding at The Cedars Ranch. Our unique new venue is the perfect blend of modern, rustic and sustainable design. With our entire venue run on solar power, as well as having mandatory recycling and composting practices, and native and water conscious landscaping, your special day will be both green and gorgeous! 

Reach out to us today!

Nature

Having a truly green wedding isn’t just about minimizing your carbon footprint and reducing waste. A green wedding is also about embedding nature and the outdoors into your special day. We all long for that connection to nature, and integrating the outdoors into your wedding day will most definitely be life-giving to you as newlyweds, as well as to all your guests.

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Photo by T and V Photos

Our Texas Hill Country wedding venue here at The Cedars Ranch is intentionally designed to be biophilic, meaning that guests get to directly experience nature and all the benefits that nature brings, whether indoors or out! Our whole 20 acres has been thoughtfully designed around our incredible trees and stunning hill country beauty, with our main reception hall being a marriage of modern, rustic and green design, perfectly integrating the outdoors inside!

Read more about our gorgeous new eco-friendly wedding venue in the heart of Texas Hill Country: Weddings at The Cedars Ranch

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Photo by T and V Photos

“The easiest way to have an environmentally friendly wedding and shrink your celebration's carbon footprint? Choose a ceremony and reception site that takes sustainability seriously.” 

source: Brides.com

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Photo by T and V Photos

Interested in hosting your green wedding at The Cedars Ranch? 

Reach out to us today:

"This unique venue is unlike any other in our area due to its sustainable core values. Watching The Cedars Ranch evolve has been invigorating due to the uniqueness of its architecture and wellness concept. Bill and Marilyn's vision of modernism that is organic and natural is such a refreshing vibe and one that our company thrives on."

Kimberley Bentley, Silver Thistle Weddings + Events

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Photo by Al Gawlik Photography

Eco-friendly Wedding Resources

Your Eco-Friendly Wedding Guide - The Knot

A Green Wedding Day - Here Comes The Guide

Green Wedding Guide - Terrapass

The Green Wedding Guide - Green Willow Homestead

10 Simple Ways To Make Your Wedding Greener - A Practical Wedding

18 Ways to Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding - Martha Stewart Weddings

Eco-Friendly Wedding Ideas - Once Wed

The Guide to Sustainable, Zero-Waste, Ethical Weddings - 77 Diamonds

Green Event Planning Resources & Ideas - Go Green Give Back

My Green Wedding Guide - Cause Artist

Green Weddings - InfoPlease

Natural Wedding Send Off Ideas - Zola

Plantable Wedding Invitations - Botanical Paperworks

Certified Compostable Products Search - Biodegradable Products Institute

Eco-Friendly Wedding Ideas Pin Board - The Cedars Ranch Pin Board on Pinterest

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Photo by Sloan Breeden Photography

“The Cedars Ranch is an incredible venue! Let this place take your breath away, as it did ours. You will cherish the experience for the rest of your life!”

Sara + Shane Kullberg-Ronder

Visit our Weddings Gallery for more photos of weddings at The Cedars Ranch and read more glowing testimonials from our happy couples!