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Green weddings are a rising trend and environmentally conscious couples around the globe are opting to go green for their upcoming nuptials in ways big and small. Weddings don’t have to be wasteful and you can plan a wedding that is both a joyous, and an environmentally friendly occasion.

"A lot of people are having green weddings these days" says Christa Vagnozzi, senior editor at the online wedding site, The Knot. "It's not just environmentalists. Being green is going a lot more mainstream."

For Rusty Carlson and Mark Hedin of Alameda, California, their invitations were made of recycled paper embedded with wildflower seeds, so they could be torn up and planted after the wedding. The plates, cups and tableware were biodegradable and could be turned into compost. There was no chicken or beef - just salmon, caught nearby, and as many organic foods as possible. They also serve local kegged beers and locally made vodka. The tables were decorated with organic herbs and flowers planted in recycled cans.

In Ahmedabad, India, Ankita Salecha and Prashant Balar planned an eco-friendly ceremony with the venue lit up with castor oil lamps, decorated with wild flowers and rangolis in natural colours. The couple also wore outfits made of khadi. The wedding guests were served holistic food cooked on traditional chulhas, (Maybe not so eco-friendly! –Ed) served in traditional Indian plates made of leaves. The invitation cards too were made of hand-made paper and were printed using natural ink.

It’s not only about being environmentally friendly for a day but having a clean and green lifestyle and passing it on to the next generation as well. You could be a green role model and help in spreading awareness and the urgency to protect our planet. All of those people who come to celebrate with you are learning the values and commitment that you have, and they might be encouraged to do something in their lives as well.

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ATTIRE: Most wedding dresses are made of taffeta and polyester, which are not easily biodegradable. You could use dresses made out of cotton, hemp and other organic blends. Another idea is using a vintage dress, something that someone has already worn. Hiring a dress is also an option. These can be altered or re-styled. Buying or making a dress that the bride can wear again on another occasion, is economical and better for the environment.

COSMETICS: Use hairstylists and make-up artists who use organic or natural mineral products which have no environmentally harmful ingredients. If you are buying your own products, buy eco-friendly ones. (link to cosmetic article)

FLOWERS: The best is to forgo the flower boutique completely. Otherwise pick a place that uses certified organic practices to grow flower or go with locally grown flowers.

INVITATIONS: E-mails or well designed, personalised E-cards are the best possible eco-friendly way to invite your friends and family. Recycled paper invitations look trendy and pretty, too.

DECORATIONS: Using plastic, thermocol and cloth is highly polluting and toxic. Instead, for a table decoration, you can use plotted plants, soy candles, packets of different types of exotic seeds that the guests can plant or even organic chocolate! For confetti, you could use organic or locally produced flower petals or made with recycled paper or bird friendly seeds. Or even real rice - despite the myth that it's really bad for birds!

FOOD: Serve food that is organic or buy the produce at a local farmers market and organic wine and juices to go with it. This may be a little expensive but it supports local farmers, goes a long way to protect the environment and the food is tastier and healthier! For you wedding cake, use free-range or organic eggs and organic ingredients where possible. GIFTS: While looking for gifts, you may consider organic cotton linen, bamboo dishware, recycled glass cups. The couple may also forgo the gifts and request friends and family to gift cash, so as to save energy on transportation and packaging material.

TRANSPORT: Ideally try to use a local venue to cut down on transport but if needed use vehicles which are run on LPG or bio-diesel, or hire a horse and carriage, rickshaws or cycles. If you have a lot of guests traveling by cars it may be more eco-friendly to hire a coach or bus to transport them all.

ENTERTAINMENT: Try to hire entertainment which is local to you to cut down on their traveling and try to use acoustic musicians where possible to cut down on power used.
If you are considering eco-friendly options for your wedding, here are a few ideas to get you started: