Local Artists
From Left: Ceramic Platters at KirstenBassion.com, "Farther Than Far" Oil Painting by TinaSotis.com, Hand Blown Glass Cups from TandemGlass.etsy.com Pin It
My husband, Jim, and I are very concerned about the health of our planet and made many eco-friendly choices throughout our wedding planning process. We also wanted our gift registry to reflect our shared environmental values. With a little research we were able to find so many great alternative gift ideas, s... read more

My husband, Jim, and I are very concerned about the health of our planet and made many eco-friendly choices throughout our wedding planning process. We also wanted our gift registry to reflect our shared environmental values. With a little research we were able to find so many great alternative gift ideas, some of which I am excited to share with you in my first Eco-Friendly Friday post.

I believe that one of the best ways to be eco-friendly is to support local businesses and artists, as this reduces the travel distance of your gifts, thereby reducing CO2 emissions. Have you been eying a painting at a nearby gallery? Perhaps there is a local potter that makes the best dish sets, or a glass-blower who makes unique drinking glasses? Most artists will be more than happy to work with you in creating a custom gift list for your guests to purchase from.

Tree of Life Tapestry at Ten Thousand Villages

There are also many options for shops that offer alternatives to your typical gift registry items. While we registered for some traditional house wares (blender, rice cooker, towels, etc) at a big department store, Jim and I also decided to create a gift registry at Ten Thousands Villages, a nonprofit fair trade organization with retail stores throughout the United States and Canada, as well as an online shop. They sell handcrafted products made by artisans in 38 countries. The items are usually made with earth-based or recycled materials and have a handcrafted, natural look. The local artisans are also supported with fair prices for their handiwork, which appealed to our social conscious as well.

Photo Credit: VivaTerra.com

In choosing our registry items, we also paid attention to the materials in the items we listed. We tried, when possible, to stick to recycled or renewable materials, such as the bamboo in our towel set.  We were happy to find many eco-friendly material options at conventional stores as well as specialty stores.

Many of your guests will want to stick with traditional items, but some will really embrace the concept of alternative gifts. Since we are trying to build up our garden, we requested potted plants and gardening materials. Jim’s cousin re-potted plants from her garden into decorative containers and included a basket of fresh eggs, hatched from her very own chickens! We were so excited to receive such a thoughtful and personal gift, and enjoyed the delicious eggs at brunch the next morning.

Photo Credit: pshab

I recently learned that New American Dream has created a great gift registry service at AlternativeGiftRegistry.org. They offer a completely different approach to the usual material gifts. You can request second-hand books, recipes, items for your reception or simply spending time with your guests via a home cooked meal or a day out together.

Many couples today have already established a house with everything they need. What could be more eco-friendly than requesting contributions to your favorite charity in lieu of gifts? If you have a wedding website, you can list links to your favorite charities or even ask your guests to donate to a charity of their choice in honor of your wedding. You can also use a charitable gift registry service, such as GlobalGiving.com, which allows you to create a registry for any occasion. You can choose from a wide variety of projects around the world that you would like your guests to support.

Photo Credit: GlobalGiving.com

As you can see, there are many options to the traditional gift registry that will reflect your value system while reducing your overall wedding footprint.

Alternative Gift Registries:

3R Living: 3rliving.com/category_s/50.htm
Alternative Gift Registry at New American Dream: alternativegiftregistry.org
Branch: branchhome.com
Earth Friendly Goods: earthfriendlygoods.com
Gaiam: gaiam.com/category/gift+registry+gateway.do
Global Giving : globalgiving.com/givingtools
Ten Thousand Villages: tenthousandvillages.com
Viva Terra: vivaterra.com

Artist Links:

Ceramic Platters: Kirsten Bassion
“Farther Than Far” Oil Painting: Tina Sotis
Blown Glass Cups: Tandem Glass

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