Gift Registry and Bridal Showers

Planet-Friendly Party Plans and Gifts that Give Back

Wedding planning can lead to excess, which can undermine your eco-conscious intentions. Too many costs, too many requirements and too many things can break budgets and overwhelm everyone. Rarely do people complain about too many gifts, but some of the items you receive won't be needed, and they may not be suited to your sustainable lifestyle. For an eco-conscious wedding, it's important to think about how you will avoid excess and handle your gift registry before the parties – and gifts – are upon you.

Create a Guilt-free Gift Registry

Gift Registry and Bridal Showers

Since many of your guests will be looking to your gift registry for guidance as soon as the engagement party or bridal shower invitation arrives, give some thought to what you want to include (and what you want to avoid) with a few easy steps:

  • Take stock of what you have and what you truly need. Once you know which items you need and which ones you want, you'll be able to prioritize and cut down on extraneous stuff that will likely just collect dust in your home.
  • Take your list with you when you set up a registry. If you plan on registering at a department store, you'll probably get a handy electronic scanner to mark all things you want to receive. These fun little gadgets will rack up a load of unnecessary items in no time at all, items that you'll forget about as soon as you're out of the store. Your list and your willpower are your greatest weapons when you hit the aisles.
  • Research brands and stores. Big box stores aren't your only options. So many places offer gift registries these days, from local boutiques to worldwide online retailers. Fortunately, more choice means more chance to find the brands and materials that echo your green lifestyle. And if one single store can't offer you everything on your list, begin a registry with a few different retailers.
  • Stay local whenever you can. Transporting goods takes a good deal of energy, and that can leave a big carbon footprint. Try to find locally made furnishings and accessories wherever possible, and consider how far the items will travel before you put your list together.

Choose Donation over Accumulation

While careful lists and good restraint are steps in the right direction, you might want to think about foregoing material items altogether. Although it's not the best course of action for everyone, some couples that have been living together for a while will already have most of what they need for married life. If you fall into this category, think about a registry that will benefit your marriage as well as the planet.

If you support charities, you can request donations to your favorite organizations in lieu of personal gifts, or else you might like to ask your guests to make a donation in your name to a charity of their choice. But this can be a tricky area: despite your noble aims, some guests will insist on giving you a gift to celebrate your big day. In order to avoid gifts you don't need or want, it's a good idea to have a small list of options. These could include coupons towards your favorite eco-friendly activities or an online "bank" where guests can contribute the amount of their choice to your honeymoon adventure. In fact, a captioned photo of you and your new spouse enjoying your travels with the help of their donation would make a heartfelt thank-you card!

Of course, the parties leading up to the wedding can also be grandiose and rather wasteful, and though your family and close friends might insist on planning the events, you may want to express your concerns. Gently remind the planners that you would prefer reusable tableware to disposable, or a simple social gathering rather than a veritable shower of presents. As long as you remind everyone how grateful you are for their help, their generosity and their gestures, you shouldn't have any trouble as you navigate the gift-giving challenges in your eco-savvy wedding.