- Category: Living Green
28 Apr 2011
- Published on Thursday, 28 April 2011 04:26
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By Jen Balboa
Aside from the obvious, one of the biggest values to holding a green wedding is the value savings it can have on costs with the re-using, recycling, and reducing involved in carrying it out. The soon to be married Prince William and fiancée Kate Middleton, coming from royal and affluent backgrounds, probably do not need the monetary savings, the green steps they take walking down the aisle would be valued more for how the royal couple are setting themselves as examples in the fight to mitigate climate change.
How has the couple fared, so far? If the United States environmental organization Sierra Club’s top ten tips for a green wedding would be considered – covering clothing and accessories, location, pre- and post-wedding events, the actual ceremony, food and gifts – the royal couple may have already scored a few points.
The Sierra Club, one of the largest environmental grassroots group in the United States, suggests that couples use family heirlooms for the rings – which Prince William has done. The engagement ring he presented to Middleton is a blue oval 18-carat, diamond-studded sapphire that was his own mother’s Princess Diana’s. The wedding rings to be used in the ceremony will be made of locally-sourced Welsh gold which has a lower impact on the environment.
Another component of a green wedding would be choosing a location that is convenient and accessible to a majority of the guests to cut down the impacts of travel arrangements. Travel by car or airplane releases a lot of emissions and could greatly increase the carbon footprint of a wedding.
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With a lot of the royal wedding guests being foreign dignitaries and celebrities from abroad, it’s inevitable that the emissions percentage from the travel factor will increase. Tourists are also expected to flood London.
In the face of these, the couple has not formally requested the guests to offset their carbon footprint from the travels. But if the proximity of the wedding ceremony’s venue to the other locations where the wedding parties are billeted is considered, the couple once again scores a point.
Westminster Abbey, where the wedding will take place, is within the range of Clarence House and Goring Hotel, where the couple and their families are staying before the wedding. Buckingham Palace, which will host the reception, is also nearby.
Though there are no reports that the couple or their guests will drive electric vehicles – or other low-emission vehicles - the couple and some members of the royal family will be taking horse-drawn carriages during the procession.
The Sierra Club tips also recommend reducing waste via the use of recycled paper, which was done with the Royal Wedding invitations were made with recycled paper.
Most people will want to have copies of pictures of the royal wedding, fortunately for them they need not purchase printed ones. The organizers of the wedding will post pictures of the royal couple in their official website, Facebook, and Flickr sites. Even the official souvenir programs are available as free electronic downloads.
The wedding gown is another way to go green with the greenest option being going for vintage or second hand, though using organic or local materials are also low-carbon options.
Palace officials have yet to divulge information on the wedding gown, so it remains to be seen how green Middleton’s gown. Even if she does not opt for that, Sierra Club cites the donation of wedding gowns to charities as another green action.
The decorations for the wedding are green in more ways than the obvious. The flowers and trees for the wedding will be locally-sourced from gardens of the royal estates and other growers in Britain. The chosen flowers such as azaleas, rhododendrons, wisterias and lilacs, are all seasonal.
The couple chose London-based florist Shane Connolly, who is known for elegant, unique, and sustainable displays. Mr. Connolly favors the incorporation of growing plants and trees rather than cuttings.
English Field maple and Horbeam trees will be transported to Westminster Abbey as part of the floral design and kept alive and growing in planters. After the wedding, many of the trees will be re-planted at Highgrove Gardens.
It is unlikely that the posh affair will use disposables for food ware. On the contrary, the royal household has already been preparing its own glassware and silverware for the reception. As for sustainable food, home-grown ingredients and British produce will be used in both the savory and sweet canapés and cakes in the menu. Local wines will be served.
Initial reports indicated the queen’s Balmoral estate in Scotland as a possible honeymoon venue. The highly-secure 50,000-acre estate assures the royal couple privacy, not to mention that it adheres to the Sierra Club tip of staying local. But there are also reports of the couple going to Jordan and Kenya for their getaway. Unless the couple decides to offset their honeymoon travels’ carbon footprint, this leg of their wedding adventure may not be green.
The royal couple’s crowning effort may be in their call for gifts – they are encouraging people to donate to a charitable gift fund which will benefit 26 organizations. One of these is Earthwatch Institute, an international non-profit organization which supports scientific field research and education on maintaining a sustainable environment.
"The young volunteers we work with are the world's future environmental stewards. We applaud Prince William and Miss Middleton in their efforts to shine a light on the issues of young people and the environment because we need to energize the world's youth toward action, not apathy, in the face of the greatest environmental challenges the planet has ever seen," said Nigel Winser, executive vice president of Earthwatch.
In the end, green actions that the royal couple will do after the wedding will count even more. As Prince William and Middleton have been constant supporters of climate change-related and environmental causes, a green happy-ever-after is very likely.