Monday, January 11, 2010

Green Weddings Part 1: The Venue

When you think green weddings, you often envision a tree-hugging affair tucked away in a botanical garden or perhaps on a beach, but the venue doesn't have to be so predictable.  Perhaps you can tie the knot at a National or local park?  Or why not wed in an old barn or farmyard?  All the leftover food can be fed to the pigs!

Outside weddings can pose some obstacles, like unpredictable weather.  So if you're more comfortable with inside nuptuals, search for a green building. Host your affair at a member of the Green Hotel Association or look for another LEED-certified building to ensure that you're picking a green venue. Click here to find a directory of LEED buildings in your area. And yes, there are churches and places of worship on the list! Green buildings often have relationships with other local green businesses like florists and caterers and are very likely to help you recycle or reuse any leftovers to minimize your waste.

But it's not just about the actual structure you're holding your wedding in. Other factors contribute to the greenness.  For example, the distance guests have to travel. Destination weddings are great, but if you have 200+ friends and relatives travelling cross-country, that's a lot of carbon offsets to balance out.  Also, try to find a location that can serve as both the ceremony and reception locale to prevent guests from having to get back in their cars to drive to a second location. 

Finally the season and time of day are crucial to the green-factor.  Schedule your wedding for a time of year when you won't require lots of heating or air conditioning to make your guests comfortable. Spring and fall are already popular seasons for weddings, and with some careful planning, you can ensure that you won't need extra utilities pumping.  By choosing a daytime wedding and a venue with lots of windows (or outdoors), you can also prevent excessive use of artificial lighting. 

One final thing to consider about green venues.  While a scenic hill-top or forest clearing may be the perfect spot for your nuptuals, think about the nearby resources.  If it takes 10 trucks to deliver all the rentals and food and equipment, your green locale may not be so green any more.  Be sure to consider the impact you're having on the local environment.  It may be greener to pick the church at the bottom of the hill that already has all the chairs and tables at hand. 

Are you in search of a green venue for your wedding? We've Got It! Chicago would love to help.  Email us at and we'll help you find the green venue of your dreams.

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