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How to Plan A Carbon-Neutral Wedding

John Platt, April 11, 2011

Getting married, or going to a wedding? Have you considered the environmental impact of getting hitched? Travel, hotels, gift-shipping, flowers, dry cleaning... it all adds up. But there are several ways you can help reduce the carbon emissions of your wedding and make sure you and your guests are all going green, even when the bride is wearing white.

Several different sites offer carbon-emission calculators for weddings, but the range of options to calculate that footprint shows just how complex this process can be. Terrapass.com asks how many people will be traveling and how far, as well as how many hotel rooms your guests will need. NativeEnergy.com gets into more detail, asking how many nights people will be staying and looking at the square footage of the wedding venue. ClearSkyClimateSolutions.com digs even deeper, looking at the square footage of both the wedding and reception venues, a wide range of travel options, flowers, and the honeymoon.

Wow. All of those people traveling and staying in hotels really adds up. According to CarbonFund.org, the average wedding could create 8 to 50 tons of carbon emissions!

Many of the sites I've mentioned so far allow you to purchase carbon offsets to reduce the total environmental impact of your wedding. Prices vary, as do how those carbon offsets will be spent. Native Energy plows the money into developing wind turbines. Another site, EnviroCitizen.org, puts the money into truck-stop electrification.

Here's another idea: instead of asking for gifts, ask your guests to plant trees in honor of your wedding, which will not only reduce your event's carbon footprint but offer numerous humanitarian benefits.

Oh, and when it comes to putting a ring on the bride's finger, here's one more thing to consider: go with a man-made diamond. Show how much you love her and mother earth at the same time.

Tags: Carbon Emissions, Carbon Offsets, Daily Green, Efficiency, Emissions, Green Central, Green Ideas, Green Weddings, Greenhouse Gases, Pollution, Sustainable Ideas, Weddings

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