How to Plan an Eco-Friendly Jewish Wedding
I recently heard a story that got me thinking all about green weddings. I don’t mean “green” as in color scheme. I mean “green” as in “eco-friendly.” Although “being green” is somewhat of a new idea to us, it is deeply rooted in Judaism. If you think about it, the whole idea of Tikkun Olam or “repairing the world” relates to being green.
Brenda and David Jaffe were concerned about the effect their long-distance courtship was having on the environment. Brenda lived in Dover, DE and David in Havre de Grace, MD. They met on JDate (surprised?) and once they started dating, they were soon driving almost 375 miles weekly just to see each other. To address the Jewish guilt they were experiencing over their environmental concerns, they not only got married, but they also turned to the Jewish National Fund (JNF). Using JNF’s GoNeutral Calculator, they were able to determine the approximate amount of carbon their cars had emitted during their three-year relationship. They then donated towards the planting of trees in Israel to help offset those emissions and reduce their carbon footprint.
All it takes is a bit of creative thinking to come up with ways to reduce your wedding’s negative impact on the environment. Here are some ideas:
1. Many Synagogues are joining the greening trend with environmentally friendly buildings and eco-conscious initiatives. Consider holding your wedding at a venue that is in line with your own earth friendly values.
3. Give out yarmulkes made of recycled materials, like these made out of soda bottles, yes soda bottles!
4. After your guests yell “Mazel Tov!” save the glass shards from your breakable wedding glass. The glass can be made into a mezuzah, candle sticks, kiddush cup and many other items. Not only does this reduce waste but it also makes for a special wedding keepsake!
5. Choose a tallis made of natural fibers like organic cotton or hemp, which are less likely to have been grown using pesticides and fertilizers.
6. Rent or buy a used wedding dress. Seek out a gemach in your local Jewish community. A gemach, is an organization that lends out items such as wedding dresses for a small fee or donation. Gemachs often have a great selection of wedding dresses and will also offer alterations!
7. Ask your caterer to supply your wedding with organic Kosher wine. The Jew and the Carrot recommends Four Gates Winery and Hafner Winery which both offer organic meshuval wines as well as many of Baron Herzog’s wines which come from sustainably grown and low spray grapes.
8. It’s customary to offer guests a small favor at weddings. Most of the time these favors are tchotckes that are forgotten and discarded. Consider gifts that keep on giving like seed packets, small plants, or beeswax candles. Sites like Beau-coup, Wedding Things, and Little Things Favors all offer a wide assortment of eco-friendly favors.
9. Planning to give your out-of-town guests welcome bags? Stay away from paper products and present them with reusable bags instead. These Schlep Tote Bags are not only hilarious, but are also eco-friendly (They make great bridesmaids’ gifts too!) You can also include other goodies like Organic Kosher Chocolate, a green guide to your city, and tickets to your local botanical gardens or a map of a local nature preserve.
Have any other great eco-friendly wedding ideas? Please share them with us in the comments section below!