Clothing + Fashion

Published on January 14th, 2011 | by Wenona Napolitano

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Recycled Bride Reveals 2011’s Hottest Sustainable Wedding Trends

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Chalkboard

According to Recycled Bride, Weddings in 2011 are going to be all about simple elegance, creative DIY projects, and attire and decorations that can be used again after the big day. I personally am loving the DIY aspect of that.

“A sustainable wedding is one that includes elements which have a positive social and environmental impact. It’s incredibly exciting to be at the forefront of sustainable wedding trends and to observe how couples all over the world are making beautiful, ethical choices for their celebrations,” says Tracy DiNunzio, founder and CEO of Recycled Bride. “This year’s sustainable wedding trends are going mainstream, with more couples than ever incorporating eco-friendly elements into their weddings.”

Here are Recycled Bride’s Eleven Sustainable Wedding Trends for 2011

1. Diamonds are no longer a girl’s best friend:Inspired by the sapphire ring that Prince William gave to Kate Middleton, alternative gemstones are all the rage for engagements in 2011. Brides will express their individual style — and avoid conflict diamonds — with rings made of colored stones like sapphires, emeralds, and rubies, and sparkly diamond alternatives like moissonite and synthetic diamonds.

2. Chalkboard chic: Stylish slate signs will take the place of paper wedding programs, seating cards, and menus. Chalkboard signs can be made to look elegant and fancy or sweet and rustic, and can be created inexpensively at home using scavenged picture frames, chalkboard paint, and a little creativity. Reducing paper waste at your wedding never looked so stylish!

- This is an idea I really adore- DIY with a bit of creative and unusual flair- awesome. Imagine the pretty DIY chalkboards that can be created to go along with the theme and color scheme of the wedding- and with a bit of chalkboard paint anyone can make one from materials they may already have on hand.

3. Weddings go local:Farmer’s market menus and locally sourced favors and gifts are hip as can be this year. By doing their wedding shopping locally, couples minimize their carbon footprint, support their local economy, and delight guests with unique details they won’t find elsewhere. This trend caught fire after Chelsea Clinton’s locally lovely wedding in Rhinebeck, New York, and will continue well into 2011.

4. The “staycation-moon”:The popular staycation trend meets the honeymoon as couples skip the expense and carbon footprint associated with honeymoon travel in favor of romantic hometown adventures. Picture a week of museum visits, local theater and sporting events, park picnics, bucket-list adventures, and romantic dining — no luggage required!

~My husband and I were ahead of the times back in 2003 when we got married because we did the staycation-moon. Partially due to the kids, partially due to finances and really because there is so much to explore close to home that we never get to on a regular day to day basis.

5. Intimate weddings: Weddings with small guest lists create less waste, offer more warmth, and give couples tons of flexibility when choosing a location. Intimate wedding celebrations range from elegant multi-course dinners in hotel penthouses to backyard barbecues featuring local bands and brews.

6. Cocktail wedding dresses: Short wedding dresses are all the rage, and just about every major bridal designer has debuted a knee-length collection for 2011. A cocktail-length dress can be worn again, and many are just as formal and elegant as a long gown.

7. Paperless Invitations: Electronic wedding communication is easier and prettier than ever, with companies like Glo offering stunning, interactive online save-the-dates, reply cards, invitations, and more. E-mail invites are less expensive than paper and help to reduce wedding waste.

8. Greener Gifting: Registries have gone green, with tons of new options for brides and grooms who want to receive ethically-made gifts and support the sustainable economy. Two of our faves are the Green Bride Guide Shop and The Knot’s Gift Registry 360, which lets couples create one centralized registry with products from any online retailer they choose. And green donation gifts, like Bluebell Giving Cards, will be popular as both wedding presents and guest favors. 

9. Face Forward: Long veils are sitting on the sidelines this year, as brides forgo them in favor of birdcage styles and unique hair accessories that can be worn again. Expect to see 2011’s brides in headbands, vintage hair clips, flowers, and chic tiaras.

-Hair accessories, clips, even tiara’s can easily be handmade. This is another fabulous way to go DIY for your wedding. Check out the book- The DIY Bride for a great DIY tutorial for a tiara made from old jewelry.

10. Flexitarian Feasts: Another trend inspired by Chelsea Clinton’s veggie-conscious wedding is reducing the amount of meat on the menu. This year, more couples will offer vegetable- and grain-based meal options for their guests in an effort to save money and save the Earth.  

11. Wedding Recycling: More brides, grooms, bridesmaids and guests than ever are shopping and selling on sites like Recycled Bride. Smart users enjoy the financial, environmental, and social benefits of wedding recycling, and discover the joy of sharing, saving, and passing on treasured wedding items to other happy couples.

I totally agree that green is the way to go.

After just planning a green wedding for my mom I have to admit that while it’s a lot easier to be green than it was 5-10 years ago- some places still need to catch up and get with the green times. Here in Flint, green is not easy to find.

I still had to order 95% of the green supplies online- but going DIY and local is a great way to be green even if you can’t go all out eco. And we did a lot of DIY projects, including DIY catering.

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About the Author

Wenona is married with three crazy kids that range in age from 4 to 18. She is a freelance writer, poet and the author of The Everything Green Wedding Book. She enjoys reading, writing, crafting and gardening. She tries to do all of these as "greenly" as possible. Her writing has appeared in several local and regional publications, Pack O Fun, Today's Creative Home Arts, and Indiana Living Green magazines as well as numerous online sites including PlentyMag.com, EthicalWeddings.com, MyEcoChicWedding.com, eHow, Associated Content, Suite101 and Life123.com.



  • aarti

    Conflict diamonds… such a loaded phrase. In actuality the regulations on colored stones are more lax than diamonds. Do your research instead of using media overblown propoganda. From someone that has been in the jewelry industry for years… Canadian diamonds are a great option OR FAIR TRADE gemstones… do your research. Just because it’s not a diamond, doesn’t mean it’s conflict free, labor abuse free or environmentally friendly.

  • Vic_the_nic

    We DIY’ed our wedding, and it was wonderful, intimate, and inexpensive. It’s all about deciding what you really care about, focusing on that, and simplifying everything else.

  • http://kraftykatina.blogspot.com/ Cerise

    Thanks so much for this great post!!!!!

  • http://pinkpartygurl.blogspot.com PinkPartyGirl

    These trends are not just for 2011…Last October my daughter’s Fall, vintage-themed wedding received more ‘wows’ then I ever imagined, and when I got numerous phone calls in regards to the decor, I knew I was on to something! Why? Our use of ‘natural and organic elements’, such as the authentic Texas barn wood runners on the tables (from her great-grandparent’s ranch), surprised everyone, and they’re still talking about them today…in fact, her wedding was recently featured on the front page of our local lifestyle section, in our newspaper! The little chalkboard signs we also did on each food station table, however, I spray-painted the frames in copper – one of her bridal colors…


    Cheers!
    Cindi Mladenka, CEP
    “Creating Signature Celebrations”!

    Be a Follower, Fan & Friend!
    http://www.pinkpartygurl.blogspot.com
    Facebook Pages:
    “Pink Party Girl”
    “Pink Mesquite Parties & Events”
    “Pink Perfection Weddings”

  • Rachel

    Yay for DIY weddings! I’m off to check out Recycled Bride.

  • http://twitter.com/YesBride Kelly Gera

    It’s always great to see brides saving money and being eco-conscious.

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