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Green Up Your Wedding Registry

April 23, 2008

When it comes time to register for your wedding (or baby or house warming or asking for presents for any occasion really) you may look at what you think you “need”, what your parents/family/friends say you “need”, what Martha Stewart and Modern Bride magazines say you “need” or when you go to the store you may reference their recommended list of “needs.” But what too few of us do is really think about what we truly need. Because lets all be honest we don’t need a complete 10-12 person serving of fancy china, three sets of wineglasses, cast iron heart/pepper/apple shaped casserole dishes, silver serving utensils, a fondue set, etc etc etc.

And look I’m not saying all these things are bad, if you would really use the fondue set on a regular basis then ask for it. But at least think about your lifestyle and how that lifestyle affects the environment. While I propose that we could live without everything on those suggested registries I realize that we do have some needs and no matter how much you could use cash people aren’t going to just give you a check. So here are my suggestions to green the process up a bit and please keep in mind that less sometimes really is more.

  • If you can register at small local businesses and bring some business to the “little guy.” If that isn’t an option look on Etsy and you will find a plethora of artisans trying to make a living at their craft. Supposedly Etsy has an online registry but I couldn’t figure it out. Instead I used The Things I Want because I could add items from any online merchant to that one list.
  • If you do need to use big box stores look and see what greener options they have. Instead of registering for new sheets how about new organic sheets or organic towels? Pretty much all linen that you would want or need to register comes in organic cotton, hemp or bamboo. Depending on where you look the price is the same and you are doing yourself and the Earth a big favor.
  • If you are going to get a big wooden salad bowl and serving utensil how about bamboo or at least sustainably harvest wood sources certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The same goes for cutting boards and utensils. There are lots of bamboo/wood options for these and they are much better for the environment then plastic (they are also more visually appealing in your kitchen).
  • If you want a rain fall shower head look at low flow options
  • If you want cookbooks you can put them on a registry at Amazon but let people know that used copies are a great option and they can be found on Amazon or The books are graded by condition and you can save more then 50%. While you are at it you can register for a cookbook on how to build a solar cooker.
  • If you want candles ask for beeswax in glass containers. The glass can be reused or recycled should it break or you decide you don’t like it anymore. It’s also relatively easy to find glass candlesticks in thrift stores.
  • Instead of teflon coated pans which can cause chemicals from the lining to eventually leach into your food register for cast iron which will naturally become non-stick through use. While new cast iron can be expensive, used options abound on places like Craigslist.
  • Instead of plastic tupperware try pyrex. Again glass is a better option then plastic for the environment and it also doesn’t leach chemicals into your food. I’m sure most people have heard about BPAs but do you really think that’s the only bad plastic?
  • Rather then registering for a new TV/IPOD/DVR etc etc you could register for a solar charger for your small electronic devices, or a solar powered lantern, or a smart power strip.

Now I’m not saying you need to register for everything you would need to live off the land because peak oil has arrived and the world is going end but the people that would make some compelling arguments that shouldn’t be ignored. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that we as a human race are living beyond are means and we are hurting the earth, animals, plants and ourselves in the process. Our lifestyle has been the impetus for the very chemicals that are slowly killing us through disease and reproductive issues.

So keep that in mind and maybe when you are registering think about adding some gardening paraphenalia and some heirloom seeds. Start your marraige off on a sustainable path and you will be happier for it.

And so will these guys:

If you are looking for some other green wedding ideas you can ideas for centerpieces here and images from our “green” wedding here.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. becky permalink
    April 23, 2008 9:53 pm

    does this mean i don’t have to buy you guys something from crate and barrel? and i can instead pick something up from my local thrift shop…or better yet, my garage! we have 18 pairs of combat boots, 30 sets of bdu’s and dcu’s and plenty of brown t-shirts fo you if y’all are interested 😉

  2. April 23, 2008 10:30 pm

    Thanks for this. I think a lot of people do register without even giving it a 2nd thought, cause it’s what they’re “supposed” to do.

    I hope that people do start thinking about it, so little of all of this stuff is needed, especially for babies! I am expecting my 3rd, and can definitely say that 95% of what is touted as need just isn’t.

  3. April 24, 2008 6:08 am

    Very true! When we were doing our registry it was really hard for us because we were already living together and there was a serious difference between WANT and NEED and finding the balance. 🙂

  4. April 24, 2008 11:39 pm

    It’s so easy to get sucked into a votex of “everyone says I need” on big occasions. Babies are phenomenal attractors of stuff. My kid was given so many items of clothing he hardly wore.

    Fortunately we’ve moved on from the newborn stage and he is now happily wearing hand-me-downs almost all of the time. My sister in law overbought big time on her son’s clothes, it’s nice to give them a second life. I’m glad I was given most of the paraphenalia second hand (pram, highchair, cot, rocker chair etc) because most of it is only used for a short period even if it is really useful. Or you find yourself with a kid who refuses point blank to use it long before you think they should, like my friend with a very expensive pram.

    Friends of mine recently married (several of them actually) and they’ve varied in their approaches to presents. Some asked for money to landscape their backyard, another asked for contributions to their travel fund (there was some online account voucher type thing, they live overseas and returned home for the wedding), another had a fairly traditional collection of registry items (plates, platters etc) along with a camera and board games and the registry was with a company who only do registries and who have an environmental policy. They sell online to wedding guests and then deliver all the goods in one go to the happy couple. So while the presents weren’t necessarily stamped Eco Friendly, the process was (the bride and groom are able to nominate ‘no wrapping’ for example, and the company use solar/wind power). I’ve known some people to ask for contributions to a holiday or whatever rather than objects too, which is especially cool if you’ve been living out of home for a decade and already have cutlery.


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