Just because a winter wedding is considered "off-season" and "nontraditional" doesn't mean it can't be as festive as a ceremony in spring or summer. All you need is a little imagination, some do-it-yourself skills, or an amazing collection of costumes for a themed wedding. Pull out all the stops this winter by adapting these green trends to your own "white wedding."
1. Ice, Ice, Baby
Winter ice lanterns are incredibly easy DIY projects and use only natural materials. You can line your walkways with the lanterns, put them on fence posts, place them around a buffet of chilled foods at your reception, or set them in the snow for a beautiful outdoor photo op. All you need is water, a used paper carton or some other round container and natural pieces to place inside like cranberries, pine needles, or seasonal flowers.
Fill the container halfway with water and let freeze. Place cranberries on top of the frozen layer, around the perimeter. Add more water, then freeze. You can build layer upon layer of beautiful red cranberries suspended in ice and place a soy tea light inside to illuminate your ice candle. Once the wedding is over you can reuse the candles for a holiday event if they are still frozen, or just let them melt away. All of the materials used are natural and compostable, and birds will have a delicious winter snack waiting for them in the form of crisp, cold berries.
2. The Proof is in the Frosting
Each year, more brides are doing away with plastic cake toppers and focusing on lovely layers of whipped and textured frosting for their cake décor. For winter weddings, focus specifically on frosting and fillings made with seasonal fruits like blackberry or orange. Brides living on the East Coast or in the Midwest who want a seasonal winter fruit should seek out apples or pears. For West Coast brides, cantaloupes, honeydew, tangerines, pomegranates and strawberries will be fresh and in season.
This serves the dual purpose of familiarizing wedding guests with local and seasonal fruits -- and can be extended to all of the wedding food to include vegetables. Make green choices for your wedding and you will probably end up saving green by avoiding the shipping costs (and carbon footprint) of transporting fruits from other areas of the country.
3. Have a Carbon Neutral Wedding
The 2.5 million weddings in the United States this year will produce an average of 62 tons of carbon dioxide. A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide emitted due to your consumption of fossil fuels. So the carbon footprint of your wedding would include any travel, items shipped, and the carbon footprint of the vendors that you hire for your big day. Your wedding's carbon footprint extends to any leftover items that end up in landfills -- save the dates, invitations, food and flowers, to name a few.
A Carbon Neutral Wedding offset eliminates the impact of your wedding on the planet. The green movement encourages reducing waste and lowering fossil fuel consumption, which isn't always possible in everyday activities. When you can't cut back, supporting these projects balances your own emissions and contributes to a sustainable future for the planet.
Your special day is the perfect opportunity to share your commitment to the environment with friends and family by helping to build clean energy projects in communities across the country. What a great way to start life as newlyweds! Give your wedding guests carbon offsets as favors. They will feel better about the impact their carbon footprint had on your special day.
4. Art Deco Vintage Venues
Winter weddings are often held in historic mansions or banquet halls. What better era to choose for a fancy indoor venue than a ritzy roaring 1920s wedding? You can also give back to the venue if they offer donations to the restoration of this historic treasure. The 1920s theme is going to be huge in 2013 and is a great way to liven up a strictly indoor winter wedding. Brides will be shopping for vintage gowns, vintage gloves, vintage hairpieces and more. Think art deco earrings, hats, and costumes -- they're back!
The guest favors and decor can be period-inspired pieces: Vintage found objects, beautiful fabrics, tassels, gold and lots of organic bathtub gin. An old-fashioned photo booth for entertainment will keep guests coming back for more black and white pictures of their wonderful night. Brides can choose a live jazz band that specializes in 1920s music and have a grand old time while the photographer captures sepia-toned images for an old Hollywood look. Any wedding that places importance on using vintage or antique items and avoids buying new mass-produced products is an extremely eco-friendly affair.
5. Bringing Woodland Whimsy Indoors
Woodland weddings were a huge hit this past spring and summer. Take the untamed wilderness indoors and add a touch of rustic charm to your decor with wooden cake stands, coasters, ornaments and favors. Bring some bare branch trees indoors and dress them up with vintage ornaments, antique crystals or plantable favors in fun shapes like hearts and flowers.
Woodland wedding themes are also a great way to share your favorite charities that support forests. You can give your wedding meaning by including donations to these organizations or donating in your guests names as favors. Making something new out of a devastated tree population is another popular wedding trend this winter. Trees ravaged by insects like the Colorado Beetle Kill Pine are often made into new items such as ornaments. Using wood that would otherwise go to waste is the perfect way to go green this season.