Couples today are looking for ways to throw guilt-free green weddings that have a less negative impact on the planet. Weddings tend to involve a lot of details that not only waste money but also add to landfills and produce carbon emissions. If you want to embrace green wedding ideals, here’s how to plan a sustainable wedding for the eco-minded couple.
While most weddings will have at least a few guests travelling to the event, there are ways to reduce the damage caused by airplane and automobile emissions on your special day. Consider a location central to guests to reduce transportation. This means no destination weddings and as little journey time as possible. Just weigh your other green plans with the location to see if a bit more travel to a more eco-friendly venue actually balances out other environmental issues.
Choose an Eco-friendly Venue
Choosing a venue that respects the environment can be challenging. You might assume a local farm venue is better than a city event hall, but you may be wrong. Ask each venue about their practices and find out about their recycling, food sourcing, food waste, use of plastics, cleaning practices, and involvement with local green charity initiatives.
Plan a Locally Sourced, Eco-Friendly Menu
Speak to your catering company about creating an eco-friendly menu. Some tips would include:
- Using a majority of sustainable, locally sourced ingredients
- Ethically produced, fair trade foods
- Vegan and vegetarian meals to reduce environmental impact
- Organic produce
- Locally sourced spirits, wines, and beers
- Sustainable, organic, eco-friendly cakes
All these steps will help reduce the impact your wedding meal has on the planet.
Go digital with all your correspondence to reduce wasting paper. This can prove to be lots of fun, allowing you to get creative. From a fun video with you and your partner extending a personal invitation to hysterical memes, to specially created social media pages or websites, your digital wedding communication keeps everyone up to date on what’s happening while reducing paper waste. Do keep in mind that some older guests might not get memes, or have access to technology. In this case, create a traditional paper invitation, using recycled paper and natural inks.
Choose an Ethical Clothes Designer or Go Vintage
Many chic clothing designers today are into ethical production. Look into the most eco-friendly designers and see if you can access their wedding gowns, suits, and bridesmaid collections. You can also choose to go “vintage” with your wedding gown and wedding party clothes. This is considered trés chic for today’s wedding parties and can add a whimsical or highly unique look to your wedding photos. Remember, used wedding dresses have only been worn once and are carefully preserved. You can also save a lot of money going the vintage route.
Choose Eco-Friendly Floral Ideas
Although fresh-cut flowers are “natural,” they are not necessarily produced in an eco-friendly manner. A big trend in wedding flowers is using potted plants instead. You can offer them as gifts to guests, so they don’t go to waste. And it doesn’t just have to be flowers either. Potted herbs and greenery, such as ferns or even palms and trees, offer a natural look that is neutral and elegant. You can make things as upscale or whimsical as you like, using different styles of urns and containers. You can still use flowers in the wedding; just make sure they are locally grown and in season. Living plants are also great, as you can repurpose them easily. Have them at the site of the ceremony and then transport them to the reception venue.
Use Reusable Décor
Plastic décor, glitter, confetti, balloons, and sky lanterns are harmful to the environment and local wildlife. Choose reusable décor that won’t cause damage or add to landfills. Recyclable or reusable items can include:
- Vintage finds
- Non-toxic candles
- Biodegradable confetti and glitter
- Living plants such as trees, potted flowers, and herbs
You can also rent props to create a unique setting, or shop around for reclaimed items such as doors, stained glass windows, furniture, etc. A fun way to add a unique touch to your wedding tables is to source used table linens and create a different design for each table. Another way to reduce décor is to choose a venue that offers its own natural backdrop. From lovely gardens to forested areas and rural spots and industrial spaces, the more interesting the backdrop, the less effort is needed for decorations. This can also save you money in the long run.
Eco-Friendly Gift Registry
If you are just starting out, it can be hard to forego the whole gift idea. Create an eco-friendly gift registry that lists gifts or retailers that fit your ethics and sustainable material criteria. Ask for things made of recycled materials, locally sourced household items, organic fabrics for linens, etc. Offer suggestions for shops you feel meet your criteria. Also, ask that gifts be wrapped using reusable paper such as in a newspaper or retro fabric. Instead of wasteful gifts, you can always ask guests to give to your favourite ethical charity.
Give Away Green Favours
So much waste goes into wedding favours, as guests often toss them out. If you choose something guests can use, you’ll reduce waste while offering a lovely gift. Favours such as plant seeds, little potted plants, coffee or tea satchels, homemade jams, cookies, and chocolates are always welcome gifts. You can also go the charitable donation route, letting guests know what organization you’ve chosen.
Plan an Ethical Honeymoon
Although this should be a once-in-a-lifetime trip marking your new life together, it doesn’t mean you need to travel too far. There are many beautiful trip options in your own backyard that can provide romance and a more responsible honeymoon. You can still choose to travel to further destinations by researching environmentally responsible honeymoon spots online.