Green wedding ceremonies

The site you choose for your ceremony will depend upon several considerations, some of which are the number of guests, religious affiliation, climate, and geography. Brides and grooms today are putting a little "green" into their wedding by considering the environment when they choose their wedding site.

Many couples choose to hold their ceremony and reception at the same location. This cuts down on the total cost of the celebration (both in dollars and in environmental impact) by minimizing duplications in facility rentals and decorations, as well as the costs of additional transportation to move from ceremony to reception.

If you decide upon separate locations for ceremony and reception, consider offering mass transportation services such as a van, bus, or horse-drawn carriage between them to minimize fuel consumption. Geographically, having your wedding at a location convenient to the largest number of your guests will also help keep environmental costs of travel to a minimum. Be sure to reserve your desired spot as early as you can to avoid disappointment!

Taking your vows in an outdoor setting will reflect your love of nature and will also serve as a reminder of the beauty that must be preserved by environmentally responsible actions. Parks, zoos, nature preserves, and private gardens are all lovely settings for wedding ceremonies. While an open-air wedding may seem simple, there are actually several logistical considerations that you will need to think about if you choose this option.

One of the most perplexing aspects of planning an outdoor wedding is the unpredictability of weather. In a climate such as the Pacific Northwest, rain can happen at any time of the year. Other areas of the country may be subject to the searing intensity of the sun's rays. Either of these forces of nature can bring discomfort and possible health concerns to the wedding party and guests. If no adjacent shelters are available at your chosen location, consider renting a tent or providing umbrellas to shield participants from the elements.

Many public sites will require reservations and permits as well as usage fees. Be sure to check with the appropriate local, state, or federal entity that manages the site. There may also be usage restrictions such as bans on alcohol consumption or fire regulations including the lighting of candles. It will also be important to know if there are restrooms (or if you will need to arrange for portables) and if ample parking is available. For an outdoor ceremony site, just about everything will need to be brought in. Remember the important carry-in, carry-out rule. Arrange for helpers to transport seating, decorations, and anything else needed into the site, as well as carry them out afterward - along with any resulting trash and recycling.

An outdoor ceremony may not be practical for you. A very personal indoor ceremony location is the home of friends or family, or your own. Of course this venue is dependent upon the number of guests and the capacity of the home. A private home makes the transition from ceremony to reception smooth and relaxed, and is ideal for couples who desire a level of intimacy that may be difficult to achieve elsewhere.

For those who wish to take their vows within the context of their religious affiliation, a ceremony at a church, synagogue, or mosque will be appropriate. Besides the opportunity for a formal religious wedding ceremony, most of these will also have a fellowship hall with reasonable usage fees and perhaps even a service group to facilitate the reception.

Another idea for an indoor ceremony is your local museum. Many museums have meeting rooms or open areas available for wedding ceremonies, and may even provide the opportunity for guests to explore the museum. Beautiful historic buildings and recreation halls are available for rental in many communities. Contact your local city, county or local government for possible venues.

You may wish to consider having both your ceremony and reception in a hotel meeting or convention room. Be sure it's a hotel with a commitment to green friendly practices, such as members of the Green Hotel's Association.