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We’re all concerned about climate change and what impact humans have on our planet. And weddings aren’t usually known for their conservation. Following the news that Ritz-Carlton is offering “Something Green” wedding packages, here are a few small things you can do to help offset your carbon footprint on the big day:

Source locally: Almost anything can be found in your city or nearby. Some food and drinks are probably grown/produced where you live. For finding local food producers, check out networking sites like Local Harvest.  Flowers are also worth sourcing locally. Community gardens are a good place to start.

Question vendors: Everything you buy or rent for your wedding will have an environmental and social impact. Can you encourage caterers to use organic produce? Are those conflict-free diamonds in that new wedding band? Does your stationer use recycled or tree-free paper? Even if you can’t establish the green credentials of every single supplier, asking questions about such issues can make a difference.

Transportation: Why not provide a shuttle from your ceremony to the reception. That way you can move people en masse instead of everyone driving, getting lost and burning more gas. And while your own transport is likely to be a small part of the overall footprint, it certainly can further your message. Pictures of the happy couple arriving on an adorable tandem bike will preserve the eco-propaganda value of your wedding and makes for wonderful photos.

The registry: There are almost too many retailers of green gifts to mention these days, and many offer registry services. Popular choices include Viva Terra, Branch, and Gaiam. Many mainstream retailers now have many eco-options, such as organic linens. If you already have all you need, why not create an online donation registry to a worthy cause? At my wedding, instead of favors, we made donations in our guests’ names to Human Rights Watch.

Buying offsets: To be truly green, make every effort to cut emissions, waste and other negative impacts of your wedding at the source. However, the event is still likely to create a some impact and buying carbon offsets can help. Native Energy even has an online wedding offset calculator.

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