This is a guest post by our friend Celeste who is about to marry our other friend Craig on Sunday!

I’m getting married this weekend! I’m overjoyed because (a) I get to say “I do” to my favorite person in the world, and (b) my year of planning is coming to an end. When I start thinking about how many hours I spent browsing websites and talking to people in an effort to make our wedding not only reflective of our personalities, but also reflective of our values…well, it starts to make me uneasy.

So in an effort to help other engaged idealists sift through the clutter, I’d like to pass some of that knowledge along. Here are some ideas for a socially conscious celebration:

Before the wedding

  • Paper-free invites: Services such as Paperless Post can help you design lovely invitations, or simply have people RSVP via a wedding website. Keep in mind, however, that this might be more challenging for guests who don’t use or have access to a computer.
  • Eco-friendly decor: There are myriad ways to make your wedding eco-chic, from plateware to stationery to even your venue choice. Check out Hitched blog and the I Do Foundation for some green inspiration.
  • Local vendors: Find caterers or restaurants who use locally grown, seasonal ingredients.
  • Handmade accessories: Support the movement by buying from smaller artists on Etsy. With their new wedding section, they’ve already done half the work for you.
  • Do-it-yourself projects. Explore your creativity and save some money and resources while you’re at it by getting crafty. DIY Bride is a great site to peruse for innovative ideas.

During the wedding

  • Charitable favors: Instead of knick-knacks that will most likely collect dust, donate to a nonprofit on behalf of your guests. Or help repopulate the Earth’s flora by giving nicely designed plantable seed paper as favors.
  • Minimal gift table clutter: While having a fancy Lenox picture frame might seem enticing, what about having your friends and family gift you experiences instead? Try a site like Wisegifter to help you afford the honeymoon you’ve always dreamed of.

After the wedding

  • Generous leftovers: A lot of food banks will accept surplus food; check Idealist.org for services in your area. Make sure you call ahead beforehand, as there can be strict guidelines for accepting food.
  • Reusable wedding dress: While it may sound tempting to wrap your dress in plastic and save it for future generations, there’s someone who could probably use that dress right now. Brides Against Breast Cancer, for example, refashions donated dresses, and uses the proceeds to support the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation. (I know that for some folks, this is a tough one. If you’re not quite ready to give it away, try redesigning your dress yourself into something you can wear again.)
  • “Honeyteer”: Go somewhere beautiful and relaxing – and use some of that down time to volunteer. Browse sites like Idealist.org or GoAbroad to find an ideal placement.

If you’ve tied the knot lately or are about to, what other ideas come to mind?

This list was compiled with the help of Leigh Ann Smith, the editor of From Hello to Hitched.

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