Monday, 23 December 2019 12:56

Lean and Green

Written by  Kelly Brown
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Downtown Market. Downtown Market. Photo by Lexi Lauren Photography

 One might not associate the word “small” with the word “wedding.” Yet more and more couples are choosing to go micro, instead of macro, when it comes to their big day. 

What really is a micro-wedding? It’s an abbreviated celebration of marriage involving anywhere from two to 20-ish people in a shorter duration; it’s simpler in format too. 

As the millennial generation continues to grow conscious of their impact on the planet and its people, micro-weddings are seeing a rise in popularity. 


Why Micro-Weddings?

Micro-weddings differ from elopements in that they’re pre-planned — not spur of the moment or secret — and still feature many of the traditional values in a larger wedding. A micro-wedding, however, is not the type of occasion where couples should cut corners. These downsized weddings can still feature the grandeur of a larger wedding, though on a smaller scale. 

Micro-weddings will save you money and feature an intimate setting, one that often creates a more meaningful impact than a huge ceremony. With fewer people present, couples can spend more time with those select family and friends. Micro-weddings generally last two to three hours, reception included. The shorter time frame means fewer complications, fewer distractions and fewer things to worry about, ultimately leading to a less stressful wedding day. A smaller-scale wedding, still pre-planned, also allows for more flexibility and creativity without having to focus on an overwhelming amount of detail. 


Environmental Impact

One of the biggest perks of micro-weddings: They generate less waste and environmental harm. These downsized weddings often feature a small cocktail bar and bites to eat, which results in less food waste and energy usage. With a smaller wedding size, couples can choose to use their budget wisely to make other smart environmental decisions when planning.

One main component of going green for your wedding is to consider the venue and hotel for your guests. 

“When looking for sustainable vendors, even if they aren’t labeled so, don’t be afraid to ask if there are ways you can make your event more sustainable,” suggests Alyssa Ferguson of Fleurology Designs. 

“Not everyone markets to sustainability, but many are just as passionate about it. For instance, maybe your caterer buys local meat and produce, and with a request can compost food scraps. Or finding a venue that is LEED-certified already means the building functions sustainably.”

The Grand Rapids Art Museum, Downtown Market and Meijer Gardens are all LEED-certified buildings that also offer their space as wedding venues. As for lodging, CityFlatsHotel in downtown Grand Rapids is LEED-certified and the Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown is an IHG Engage Hotel, implementing a wide range of green solutions to manage their environmental impact. Additionally, you can cut back on fuel emissions by hosting your ceremony and reception in the same location. 

For brides, one of the biggest decisions for their wedding is their dress. 

“Support and buy local for everything you possibly can,” Ferguson said. “Rent as much as possible; everything typically gets washed to be reused. Renting locally cuts down on the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.” 

Deciding to purchase second-hand is an easy way to lessen the environmental impact and waste of your wedding day. Businesses such as Second Dance on Division in Grand Rapids provide a wide selection of modern designer wedding dresses that are lightly used and ready for a second life. 

The best tip for being sustainable on your wedding day: Get creative. 

“Send out electronic invites to minimize paper use,” Ferguson said. “Seasonal flowers are a lovely touch where you can honor the time of year. Or if you go all out, contact retirement or VA homes and donate everything after a wedding, so it’s not a one-time use and doesn’t immediately go to the trash. You use it for your wedding and then you can spread some joy to our local elderly or disabled community.” 

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