Kate Middleton and Prince William’s royal wedding in April will hardly be a toned down, eco-conscious affair; almost 2,000 guests will descend on Westminster Abbey from literally all over the world to attend.
But the Prince and his new princess will be adding at least one carbon-footprint-friendly element to their big day: After the ceremony, a 100-year-old horse-drawn carriage will carry the couple to their reception at the palace, leading a procession of four other carriages.
While this was likely a sentimental choice rather than an environmental one (the same carriage carried Princess Diana on her wedding day), it got me thinking about ways the rest of us — who don’t have century-old stagecoaches at our disposal — can green the travel options for our weddings.
Hire a Shuttle Bus
If your ceremony and reception are in two different places, work some type of group transportation option into your budget. You’ll take cars off the road and your guests will appreciate the fact that the logistics are taken care of for them. (Just make sure you have a way to get guests back to their hotels or cars at the end of the reception, too.)
Use Rickshaws or Bikes
It may sound silly, but pedal power can add a fun — and memorable — element to your wedding. The bride and groom can arrive at or depart from the wedding on bikes (as this adorable couple did), or, if you’re in a big enough city, you could arrange for guests to be chauffeured back and forth in a rickshaw or pedicab — the International Bike Fund maintains a nationwide directory of rentals.
Charter a Hybrid or Low-Emission Vehicle
If you’re going to rent a limo, a town car, or another traditional mode of transportation to get the bridal party to and from the weddalting, see if you can find a dealer in your area who provides eco-friendly options. Low Impact Living has a great blog post with lots of options around the country.
Offset Carbon Emissions
For guests who have to fly to the wedding, request that they pay to offset their carbon emissions in lieu of bringing gifts — or, take some of the money you’d spend on favors and make a donation yourself to offset the carbon footprint of your entire event. (Terrapass’s wedding calculator can help you figure out the cost and will make sure your money is used wisely.)
Cut Out Transportation Needs
For my wedding, I’m going with the easiest and most cost-effective option: making the ceremony and reception in the same place. Luckily, we found a beautiful venue that’s multi-purpose enough for both, and we’re booking rooms at a hotel just blocks from the site. Some guests will still need a car service to get back to the hotel late at night, but transportation, for the most part, won’t be needed.
As for how this bride and groom are getting to the ceremony? That hasn’t been decided yet, but I’d really love to pose for pictures — in my dress — on the subway!