Throwing a wedding can be incredibly fun, and no matter whether you want to have a lavish banquet or small rustic wedding, your celebration doesn’t have to be wasteful. In fact, no matter what size celebration you’re planning to have, there are some easy ways to focus on eco-friendliness and sustainability while you plan your wedding so that you make a minimal impact on the environment with your celebration and a maximal impact (of fun and joy) on everyone involved.
Here is a helpful guide for planning an eco-friendly wedding:
What Is an Eco-Friendly Wedding?
An eco-friendly wedding is one with a focus on not harming the Earth in a significant way. This means it won’t overuse resources or contribute to the pollution of land, water, or air. By being conscious of the vendors you choose, the products you use and the things you serve (like food and booze), you can ensure that your wedding is green, sustainable, and kind to Mother Nature.
Where to Start: the Venue
One of the most important decisions that you can make when you start planning your ceremony and reception is choosing the location. Not only do you have to worry about how to negotiate a discount for your venue, but you have to find one that will be conducive to saving energy.
One of the smartest and easiest ways to reduce the amount of energy you use is by planning a wedding outside. That way, you can use natural lighting to illuminate your event. If your wedding’s happening during a season or at a time that you’ll need lighting, consider lighting the space with candles and lanterns and avoiding electricity.
If you’d rather have your event inside, look into places that focus on eco-friendliness and sustainability. There are restaurants, hotels and event spaces that make sustainability one of their main priorities — and they will do things like provide recycling bins, use low-energy light bulbs, cool the space with fans and open windows, and more.
Getting the Word Out: The Invitations
To get people to attend your ceremony, you need to send them wedding invitations. However, printing invites is a total waste of trees and paper! Consider sending digital invites to your guests. It may not be traditional, but it’ll not only save a ton of paper, but it can also save you a ton of money on stamps!
If you decide that you want to send paper invites, look for companies that use recycled paper to print invitations, such as Paper Culture or Of the Earth. To cut down on the amount of paper you use for your invitation, consider sending postcards without an envelope.
What to Wear: Choosing a Dress
You’re going to need a wedding dress (or an outfit) for your big day. But it turns out you can be sustainable even when it comes to choosing what you wear. There are designers, such as Celia Grace and Janay A, that focus solely on creating eco-friendly wedding gowns.
Don’t only be eco-conscious when you choose your own dress. Consider your bridesmaids, too. You can choose a dress from a sustainable clothing company — and there are many that I love!
Chow Down: The Food
One of the most fun parts of a wedding is the food (and cake!) at the reception after. When you decide who is going to cater your event, talk to the caterer about sustainable practices and whether he or she uses organic ingredients or ingredients from local farms and providers in dishes. Also, consider going to a local, sustainable baker who uses organic ingredients in your cake as well.
Be sure to set up composting bins at the venue so that none of the uneaten food goes into the trash!
Decorating Your Eco-Friendly Wedding
You want your wedding venue to be beautiful and decorated. But, if you’re doing something eco-friendly, you can’t overuse too many resources to make the room look great. There are many ways that you can make eco-friendly choices when it comes to things like flowers, table settings, and more.
Carry Dried Flowers
For your bridal bouquet (and bridesmaids bouquets), consider carrying dried flowers. Dried flowers can be reused again and again, and they can also be incorporated into home decor after the event is over so they don’t simply get discarded. For spring and summer occasions, consider using white flowers, while for autumnal events, go with red, orange, yellow and brown blossoms.
Seat Bigger Tables
Rather than have a lot of small tables that each need flowers on them, try having guests sit at bigger tables (say, with 10-12 guests each). That way, you need fewer floral centerpieces and fewer decorations to make the room look festive.
Potted Flowers as Centerpieces
Consider using potted flowers or plants on the tables. That way, they can be given away as party favors to people in the wedding party or attendees and they can continue to live on in someone’s home or garden.
Having an eco-friendly wedding is a great way to guarantee that your special day isn’t also one where you’re hurting the Earth while you say your vows. Hopefully, these tips can keep you acting responsibly in a way that is still elegant, impressive, celebratory, and fun.
Do you have any other suggestions for our readers on how to have an eco-friendly wedding? Our readers would love to know, so please leave a comment! Plus, don’t forget to check out our Facebook and Pinterest pages for more inspired wedding content and fun!