This summer, America has been plagued with very little rain and scorched crops. In fact this summer marks the poorest corn crop yield in a decade. As temperatures soar into the double digits in many areas, people are dragging out their hoses to salvage what's left of their lawns and gardens, or giving up all together because of mandatory water restrictions. When there is so little rain, backyard weddings are in danger of getting dried out.
No matter where you are getting married, conserving water should always be a priority. Here are a few ideas that I used at my green wedding and extended into my daily life.
Think Outside the Plastic Bottle!
The plastic used to bottle water is not the best choice for the environment. Transporting plastic bottles from plants to your local convenience store and supermarkets uses the same amount of oil as one million vehicles over one year.
If you are going to provide water for guests, use filtered tap water and put it in large recycled glass beverage dispensers. Instead of running the water until it is cold, you can refrigerate it and let it chill. At my wedding we served water in glass pitchers with fresh slices of organic lemon.
Hosting a backyard wedding is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors and keep your wedding casual yet eco-chic. As we all know, there is a lot of preparation involved in making your lawn look perfect before your big day.
I use rain barrels to catch water to maintain my garden. I also only plant native species of plants that are well adapted to the soil; they usually require less water than plants from other regions.
Know your Water Footprint
Have you ever stopped to think about how many gallons of water the food you eat consumes? Put this to good use when you're at the grocery store or eating at a restaurant. Once you get the hang of this, you can apply it to your wedding.
For example, beef consumes way more water than chicken, and mangoes consume more water than nectarines.
Fruits, vegetables, and grains are on the lower side of the water footprint, while meat and dairy products are much higher. To figure out the water footprint of your food, visit: Waterfootprint.org
Flush or Bust
I always make sure that my bathroom is eco-efficient. This is especially important if you are having a wedding or big event at home. Check for leaky toilets a month or so prior to your wedding. If you repair this in time you can save 200 gallons of water.
You can also install a water saving toilet. If yours is older than 1992 (when water conserving toilets became mandatory) then scrap your old toilet.
Choose an Eco-Conscious Venue
Look for venues that recycle gray water, which is water from bathroom sinks, showers, tubs and washing machines. While gray water may look dirty, it is a safe and beneficial way to irrigate water in the grounds surrounding the venue.
Ask the venue to place tap water in pitchers or carafes instead of having bottled water at the ceremony and reception.
If your guests are staying in a hotel, make sure that the guestrooms have low-flow showerheads and toilets. You can save a lot of water this way!
Ask the hotel to skip on washing your sheets and towels every day. Small changes such as these can make a huge difference in the amount of water your wedding party uses.
Don't worry if you cannot make all of these changes! Do what you can with what is available and remember that every choice makes a difference.