The Green Bride Guide

It’s green wedding week here at To kick things off, I’ve reviewed Kate Harrison’s The Green Bride Guide: How to Create an Earth-Friendly Wedding on Any Budget. Stay tuned for more eco-friendly wedding posts throughout the week!


You will not save the planet by having a green wedding (headlines like this one from the Toronto Star bring my blood to a rolling boil.) Using soy ink on your recycled paper invitations, and opting for a second-hand dress is not going to save Mother Earth, but if you are an eco-conscious individual who happens to be planning a wedding, green nuptials are a natural choice. After all, a wedding is one of the most significant events in one’s life and it usually reflects the values of the couple saying ‘I do.’

That said, just because you are environmentally conscious does not necessarily mean you know how to navigate the foreign land of veils and vendors with a ‘green’ compass. And that’s where Kate Harrison’s The Green Bride Guide comes in.
The Green Bride Guideis a comprehensive guide to help eco-conscious couples of all budgets make green decisions in all phases of wedding planning. The book covers everything from finding a ‘green’ venue to choosing the most eco-friendly wedding favors. In every chapter, the green choices that are offered are divided into price categories ranging from the least expensive to the most expensive.

According to Harrison, the size of a wedding has the biggest influence on how ‘green’ it is.

“The size of your wedding is the most influential factor affecting both the cost and sustainability of your wedding. Generally speaking, the smaller the wedding, the less expensive it will be and the less environmental impact it will have. A fifty-person wedding at $100 a head is $5,000. A two-hundred person wedding at the same location is $20,000 and has roughly four times the environmental impact,” she writes. {Chock another one up for small weddings!}

Harrison stresses the importance of communicating your vision of a green wedding to each of your wedding vendors. She includes an anecdote from her own wedding that highlights the importance of clear communication.

“My new husband and I were waiting with our friends for the arrival of what was supposed to be a biodiesel shuttle, when up pulls a pimped out (faux-leopard interior) SUV limo – pretty much the least environmentally friendly form of transportation you can imagine … We had been unwittingly ‘upgraded’ by our well -intentioned but environmentally uninformed transportation company,” she writes.

Harrison also discusses ‘greenwashing’ and advises couples to be vigilant about choosing vendors. Terms like ‘green’, ‘eco’ and ‘environmentally friendly’ are not regulated by the US government and can be used by anyone. (Just think of all the ‘organic’ shampoos on the shelves that are loaded with parabens.) ‘Green’ has become a giant money-making industry and oftentimes it’s difficult to know who is legitimate and who is simply out to make a buck. Harrison’s book and website help couples choose legitimately sustainable businesses that the author personally recommends.

One of the most important points that Harrison makes is that a green wedding is not only about making eco-friendly purchasing decisions, but also about spreading the gospel – in a non-preachy way.

” … in the same way that a wedding is an opportunity for you and your fiancé to showcase your tastes, it is also a unique chance for you to showcase your values.”

When it comes to creating a green event,  it doesn’t have to be all or nothing: trying your best is what counts, says Harrison. And The Green Bride Guide: How to Create an Earth-Friendly Wedding on Any Budgetwill help you do just that.