In honor of Earth Day, April 22, conscientious brides and grooms around the globe are contemplating ways to plan their ideal destination wedding while reducing strain on the environment. One of Manhattan’s most exciting wedding planners, Karen Bussen – who has designed celebrity nuptials and five wedding packages for Palladium Hotels & Resorts’ http://www.palladiumweddings.com/ properties — offers seven tips for staying “green” on your big day at any of the Palladium beach-front resorts in Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

Palladium wedding chapel

1) Choose a venue for your celebration that embraces nature and actively shows respect for it. One of the reasons I chose to design destination wedding packages for Palladium in the Caribbean is that they’re committed to the environment. They’re always looking for ways to conserve energy and preserve the natural environments that surround and sustain the resorts, such as replanting coral reefs in Punta Cana and a mission to save sea turtles. Knowing that you’re celebrating in a place that celebrates nature is a great way to begin.

2) Ask your potential vendors what their policies and attitudes are toward eco-friendliness. Eco-friendly vendors will be able to demonstrate that they are eliminating waste wherever possible, and use local, organic, and sustainable materials. Ask what they do to make food preparation less wasteful. Brides who ask these types of questions are the leaders who will drive vendors to make eco-friendly policies a part of their business, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s good business.

3) If you’re having a big celebration, provide transportation for your guests. A bus or two emits far fewer gases than dozens of individual cars. Not only will you relieve friends and family of the possibility of drinking and driving, you’ll also be eco-friendly.

4) Plan a 100-mile menu for food, wine, and cocktails. This means you strive to design your whole menu around ingredients that are grown and produced within 100 miles of your celebration. You’re supporting a local business, which is part of sustainability, and you’re eliminating the need for long-range trucking and shipping as much as possible.

5) Go digital for some traditionally printed items. You should send printed invitations to the most important party you’ll ever host, however, you can ask for eco-friendly papers that use recycled elements. And you can request digital RSVPs, saving a card and envelope for the reply. For satellite celebrations such as the engagement party, post-wedding brunch or the welcome party, I suggest using online invitation services, such as Paperless Post or evite. You can also deliver itineraries and accommodation details via a wedding website rather than printing copies.

6) Use what you have wherever you can. Before you rent a bunch of items, take a good look at what your venue and florist already have, like candles, plates, tablecloths and vases. And instead of buying a cake cutting set or champagne flutes you’ll never use again, use heirlooms. It’s not just eco-friendly–it’s charming and meaningful, too.

7) Skip guest favors altogether. Part of being eco-friendly is just generally reducing your consumption of unnecessary goods. Guest favors require the item itself, plus packaging and sometimes a label or note. Most packaging (and lots of guest favors) is discarded at weddings, and that is just plain wasteful.

Palladium wedding pink

For Palladium, being eco-friendly doesn’t stop at weddings. The resorts’ policy includes using biodegradable products, recycling solid residue and re-using materials that can be utilized for other purposes. Guest rooms are equipped with energy-saving lighting and air conditioning, and the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa has the largest solar photovoltaic facility in Jamaica.