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Proper Green: Carbon Offsets For Wedding Guests

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Proper Green is a blog about good manners in a green world. Today's topic: purchasing carbon offsets at the request of the bride and groom.
proper green wedding

Dear Proper Green:

I recently received a wedding invitation from my niece. The invitation was forwarded by email, and included a link to a website set up for additional information about the wedding. I have no problem with the email invitation (although I did hear grumbles from others that were invited) nor with the website which did include pictures of the happy couple and other things like where the couple was registered, etc. My problem is with one particular request that seems strange to me. On the wedding website, there is a link to a place to purchase carbon-offsets. The couple has requested that everyone purchase these to cover their cost of the environmental impact at the wedding. (I had to explain what these were to my 78-year-old mother.) I think it’s nice that they are concerned about the planet, but these offsets are expensive. If I buy them, am I still expected to buy a wedding gift as well? Shouldn’t the couple pay for these since I am an invited guest?

Dear Reader:

Would you go to the reception and expect to pay for your own dinner? I’m guessing the answer is no. You are right that this couple is trying to lessen their impact on the environment, which is a good thing. But I think it’s rude to ask guests to pay for their own offsets. After all, you have had no say in the type of ceremony planned or the amount of environmental waste that’s being covered. Don’t feel obligated to buy the carbon-offsets. If you want to purchase them, that is okay, too, but you are also free to view that as your gift to the couple. I suspect the newlyweds will be setting up housekeeping with quite a few certificates for carbon-offsets. The good news? They can email their thank you notes.

About Proper Green

The “green movement” is a relatively new one. And because it’s so new, ideas about what constitutes proper behavior within the movement are still evolving. But we think it’s important to establish some guidelines to help smooth the way. Proper Green is (at least we hope) a blog about good manners in a green world. And while people often confuse “etiquette” with “manners” - the former deals with social custom, i.e., which fork to use or how to introduce your niece to your husband’s cousin at your step-sister’s second wedding––the latter is an expression of respect.And that’s what we’re going to focus on.

Good manners, like our planet, need care, attention and dedication. We hope you find inspiration and answers here.

Do you have a question for Proper Green? Send inquiries to . Questions may be edited for clarity and length.
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Proper Green
Proper Green
Proper Green is Recyclebank's green advice column. From promoting good manners in a green world (because ideas about what constitutes proper behavior and th... more
  • Rebecca R. 7 years ago
    Completely agree with the response. I think it's great and all that the couple wants people to do carbon offsets, but they can't really expect them to add that expense just in order to come to their wedding.
  • Kathy H. 7 years ago
    So much change in the world but compassion,understanding and patience for others learning new ways is needed. Also respect for others beliefs is important..
  • Lois J. 7 years ago
    Interesting. I have yet to run into this, but know of several other situations that are similar. I tend to equate it to non-green request, and evaluate in the same way. Some requests are just too much for the guest to handle financially.
  • karen d. 7 years ago