While most people see weddings as the epitome of love, others have come to see them as the height of consumption.
From a gown worn only once to invitations tossed in the trash heap to flowers grown in pesticide - a growing niche is developing as more brides do their part for the Earth by
making their weddings 'green'.
"We're seeing a rise in green weddings," said Christa Vagnozzi, a senior editor at US wedding website and magazine The Knot.
As concern about the planet's well being grows, ecologically friendly weddings can no longer be dismissed as appealing only to so-called 'tree-huggers'. Reflecting the broader interest, environmental options in the US are encompassing ever more elegant styles.
"It has to do with the guilt factor, weddings are becoming so big and opulent," Vagnozzi said, noting couples want to give something back and can also use green touches to personalise their weddings.
For example, those who consider themselves 'foodies' may want to feed their guests an organic feast, she said.
On a web page dedicated to environmentally friendly weddings, The Knot highlights couples who served organic meals or used local flowers in bouquets. One bride gushes about a reception site that uses organic and recycled elements.
Those wondering how to mesh the environment and their 'I dos' can also turn to an online magazine designed for eco-friendly brides launched earlier this year. Portovert offers advice on everything from invitations on recycled paper to caterers who serve organic entrees.
Editor Meghan Meyers said in an interview she plans to expand the site's format to give brides more up-to-date information with a re-launch in the autumn and a parallel newsstand publication, Haute Ideas for a Cooler Planet, coming next year.
Weddings are a great place to start thinking about the environment because "You are making all these decisions about your life", Meyers said.
Moving in a green direction can also save couples up to 40 percent on the cost of a wedding by focusing on local providers, she noted.
She also advises those planning a wedding to think less is more and not to feel they have to do everything on the ubiquitous wedding checklist.
One novel idea for invitations uses paper embedded with seeds. After the wedding, simply plant the paper and watch the flowers grow.
When it comes to flowers, some brides choose to skip the green floral foam that crumbles and ends up in the landfill, and just use vases with plain water.
Some critics point out that despite small steps in the right direction, out-of-town guests still arrive in gas-guzzling airplanes and automobiles - not to mention the carbon dioxide that is released from jet setting around the world for an exotic honeymoon.
While the truly committed may see that as a cause for cutting down on the number of guests, or having a small ceremony with just a handful of nearby family and friends, others say that's not an option for them.
"I think that's unrealistic," Vagnozzi said. "Everybody wants that day where they say 'I do' in front of their families and friends."
To get around the issue, a handful of couples have purchased carbon offsets.
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