If you’ve called the office recently, you may have noticed our CEO seems a little distracted. The recent Times article and the effect of Cupid’s arrow may have something to do with it. You see, Tom is trying to figure out a way to get his girlfriend to agree to marry him and also to reduce carbon emissions from the wedding. And they say romance is dead.
Weddings have a dark side (and, no, I’m not referring to marriage). With friends and family in San Francisco, DC, and London, Tom’s nuptials will be the cause of a lot of carbon emissions, mostly from airline flights. One possible solution is for Tom and his intended to bring the party to the guests by going on tour like the Stones.
I dug into the math (Excel) a bit to see whether this idea has any legs.
I looked at two scenarios, one in which just the bride and groom fly around, and another more lavish scenario with a traveling wedding party of ten. In both scenarios, the wedding is split across three locations: San Francisco, DC, and London.
The results are startling. A roving wedding can save 70-95% of the carbon emissions over its stationary counterpart. That’s savings of up to 200,000 lbs of CO2, or the same as keeping 10 Hummers off the road for a year.
There are some other benefits as well. By splitting the party up, the bride and groom can spend much more time with each guest. Fewer invitees will be prevented from attending by expensive plane tickets or difficult travel arrangements. Fewer hotel rooms will also mean reduced emissions and lower costs. The need for smaller venues allows greater flexibility. And so forth.
The rub is that this arrangement shifts a lot of cost from wedding guests to the the bride and groom. Throwing three parties is much more expensive than throwing one. Overall, guests save a ton of money in the form of reduced airfare, but those savings don’t do the bride and groom any good unless they pass the hat, which most will be reluctant to do.
So perhaps this is an idea whose time has not yet come. Just to experiment, consider the question below. If you were invited to a wedding, how far would you go to lower carbon emissions?
Of course, for weddings that are already planned, you can use a TerraPass to balance out the carbon you and your guests will create.