Every couple’s wedding is the biggest day of their life to celebrate their love and the beginning of their new family. However, this doesn’t have to be at the expense of the environment. As a couple committed to an environmentally conscious lifestyle, you should opt for an earth-loving celebration. You can still throw a beautiful wedding while minimising your impact on the planet. By adopting eco-friendly practices, you can create an unforgettable wedding that both you and the Earth will love. In this article, you will learn how to plan an eco-friendly wedding that is budget-friendly, and just as special as any other wedding.
Opt For a More Intimate Wedding
Having an intimate wedding is a great way to have a more eco-friendly celebration. Since smaller weddings require fewer resources, you can reduce your carbon footprint by having fewer guests attend. This will help to reduce transportation costs. Inviting fewer people also means fewer decorations and food that need to be purchased. With an intimate wedding, you can also focus more on the details and make your special day unique. Opting for locally made gifts and decorations, using green cleaning products and supplies, and serving locally grown food are all great ways to plan a more eco-friendly wedding while still having an intimate celebration.
Use Eco-Friendly Wedding Decoration
Non-biodegradable wedding decorations contain synthetic materials. So they can have a significant harmful impact on the environment. Artificial flowers, balloons, sky lanterns and disposable decorations can all contribute to the waste that is generated from weddings. Additionally, many decorations require electricity to power, which can add to the overall environmental impact of your event. Here are some tips to make your decorations more eco-friendly.
Consider Revising Your Floral Arrangements
- Our number one tip is to substitute potted plants, dried blooms and other creative floral alternatives with huge floral arrangements. Potted orchids, spray roses, herbs and even trees – all can be used instead of cut flowers. After the occasion, these can be saved and reused in your home, on the balcony or planted in the garden. As a bonus, they also make great wedding favours.
- Opting to use flowers that are in season and sourced locally is an excellent way to reduce your wedding’s environmental impact. Not only will this cut down on the carbon emissions that come from importing out-of-season blooms, but it will also help you save money.
- Avoid using floral foam in your wedding decorations. Floral foam is a plastic-based material containing a ton of chemicals and can be a major source of pollution. It is not biodegradable, meaning it will not break down once it has been disposed of. You can use eco-friendly alternatives to floral foam to have a green wedding.
Give Away Your Flowers
4. Flowers can be given to individuals to help thank them for their work at your wedding. Some couples choose to donate their wedding flowers to individuals who have helped them with their wedding preparations. The wedding officiant, relatives who have helped behind the scenes, friends who have travelled a long way for the big day and anyone else the couple chooses may appreciate taking home one of the many arrangements from the wedding.
5. Consider donating your wedding flowers once the day is over. Many delivery services near your wedding venue can help you donate your flowers to a nursing home, hospital, or shelter. Organisations such as The Flower Bank and Floral Angles can help guide you in the donation process. Donating your flowers is a great way to brighten someone’s day and put a smile on their face.
Shift to Reusable or Recyclable Products
- If you’re looking to have an eco-friendly wedding, balloons and sky lanterns should be avoided. They can be quite harmful to the environment and local wildlife. Instead, focus on recyclable or reusable items like glassware, bunting, macramé, greenery, LED fairy lights and paper streamers. Many companies offer rental services for these items. So you can still make your wedding special without having to worry about the environmental impact.
- Rather than using confetti or rice, opt for natural alternatives that are just as beautiful and even more so. Dried flowers such as lavender, rose petals and leaves make a great send-off. If you would still like to have a fun event celebration without creating extra waste, consider recycled paper confetti or bird seeds.
Rent or Purchase Pre-owned Instead of Buying New
- A key principle of planning an eco-friendly wedding is to purchase fewer things. Rather than buying all brand-new wedding supplies, you could explore the possibility of renting or buying second-hand wedding items. Doing so is a great way to both lessen the amount of waste and lower your costs.
- If you haven’t planned to keep the wedding decorations for your own home, consider passing them on to the next bride and groom to avoid creating more waste. Besides, many stores purchase used decorations after an event.
Serve a Green Wedding Feast
- Food waste is an unavoidable reality of all weddings. To limit the amount of waste produced, you must plan ahead. A buffet-style dinner typically results in a lot of uneaten food. Instead, a plated dinner is a better option.
- Discuss with your caterer about preserving any uneaten food. See if they can wrap up any meals that were not used so you can take them home. You can also donate the leftovers to a nearby food bank or homeless shelter. Check the regulations beforehand and be sure to make all the necessary arrangements so that the food is seamlessly prepared and ready to be donated.
- Recycling materials like paper, plastic, metal and glass is a great way to help the environment. You can also set up separate bins for recyclables and non-recyclables at the venue to ensure that guests are aware of the importance of recycling and easily sort out their waste.
- A great way to reduce the environmental impact of your wedding dinner is to avoid disposable dinnerware and opt for rented tableware instead. Forgo plastic glasses and try renting stemware instead. Not only is this a more sustainable choice, but it can also help enhance the overall look of your wedding. There are plenty of options when it comes to rental tableware, with various styles, colours, and materials available to fit the theme of your special day. You may also want to rent napkins, tablecloths, and runners instead of using paper.
- Opting for locally-sourced foods is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and make a positive contribution to the environment. Not only can you reduce the amount of packaging and transport involved, but you can also support local farmers and businesses. Local produce is also fresher and more nutritious, making it ideal for your wedding menu. Ask your caterer to source as much local produce as possible and create a delicious, eco-friendly wedding menu that everyone will enjoy.
Send Out Sustainable Wedding Invites
- Couples who want to plan an eco-friendly wedding often opt to send out digital wedding invitations. This is a cost-effective and straightforward way to invite guests to your wedding while reducing paper waste. Many online services make it easy to design your own invitations. Furthermore, you can use websites like Paperless Post or Greenvelope to send out invitations and track guests’ responses.
- One way to demonstrate you are dedicated to a sustainable way of life is to use recycled materials for your invitations and thank you cards. If you’d like a physical product, platforms like Paper Culture offer invitation suites made with recycled paper.
- Moreover, you can take the DIY route and make your own wedding stationery. Your guests will be thrilled to receive a customised invitation crafted by you, made from leftover paper! It shows that you put a lot of thought and effort into their invitation, rather than just buying a stack of generic, mass-printed cards with a plastic coating.
Pick an Eco-Conscious Wedding Venue
- Find a venue that is dedicated to sustainability and has a reduced effect on the environment. Look for venues that are powered by renewable energy sources, use environmentally friendly materials, and follow green practices like composting, recycling, and sourcing locally grown food. Additionally, since eco-friendly venues tend to be located close to public transportation, your guests won’t have to drive to get there. You don’t have to compromise on the style either – many stunning venues are committed to protecting the environment.
- To ensure a sustainable wedding, consider asking venues questions about their food waste disposal, ingredients sourcing, plastic policy, cleaning products and involvement in green or charity initiatives. Additionally, look into whether or not the venue holds a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, which verifies that the space functions in a sustainable, energy-efficient way, with water savings and materials selection. This will give you peace of mind that your wedding is taking place in an environmentally conscious location.
Prioritise Nearby Outdoor Venues
- Choose an outdoor setting for your special day to take advantage of the natural beauty around you. Natural light will make for beautiful pictures with no need for extra decorations or power usage. Enjoy the views that the venue has to offer and save on costly floral arrangements. When selecting your ceremony and reception sites, look for places that align with your wedding theme to save money and reduce your environmental impact.
- The primary source of your wedding’s carbon emissions is travel, so if you can pick a spot close to most of your guests, it’ll be the most advantageous. Consider how you and your guests will arrive at the wedding. A destination wedding will involve air travel, and if you opt for a site in a secluded area, car travel must be taken into account. Ultimately, if you’re torn between a few choices, review your guest list and determine which needs the least air and car trips.
Encourage your family and friends to carpool on the big day to save on gas and make some new connections. Offering transportation services in coaches, vans, or shuttles not only makes it safer but also uses fewer vehicles and less fuel. When your guests RSVP, ask them if they have room for someone else in their car. This way, you can match up those who need a ride with someone in the area. It’s also a great way to help your guests save money on transport.
Wear Sustainable Wedding Attire
- Instead of buying a brand-new wedding dress, you can opt to wear vintage, second-hand, or rental attire. Websites such as Etsy, Still White and OnceWed have a vast selection of used gowns that can be given a second chance. Doing this is not only economical, but it’s also an excellent way to help protect the environment.
Rather than splurging on an expensive tuxedo, renting a tux from companies such as Moss Hire and TuxLux is a great way to save money and help the environment. This economical solution will also benefit your groomsmen.
- If you don’t want to buy second-hand or rent an outfit, or can’t find what you’re looking for, you can still stay true to your ethical values by buying an ethical wedding outfit. Look for designers who are committed to environmentally-friendly fabrics and ethical production, such as organic cotton, linen, and recycled and upcycled materials.
- Let your bridesmaids choose their own dresses, within a certain colour palette. This way, they are more likely to wear their outfits again later rather than discard them.
Give Out Green Wedding Favours
- Green wedding favours are a great way to show your guests that you care about the environment and to thank them for attending your special day. There are many eco-friendly favours to choose from such as wildflower seeds, tree seedlings, potted plants, reusable cups, bamboo utensils, natural soaps and other sustainable materials. Giving out edible favours like cookies and jars of honey is also a great green idea. These eco-friendly favours can be customised to match your wedding theme and make for a truly unique experience.
- More and more to-be-weds are choosing not to give out wedding favours and instead donate to a charity in their guests’ names. This can be noted on the menu cards or with single, sophisticated thank-you cards.
Work with Environmentally-Conscious Wedding Suppliers
Reduce your carbon footprint by choosing local vendors for your wedding. Not only will you save on transportation costs, but you’ll also be giving back to the local community. Seek eco-friendly partners and vendors who have sustainability in mind. When reaching out to potential vendors, inquire about their green practices.
Have an Ecologically Aware Honeymoon
Do some research ahead of time to choose a responsible honeymoon destination. Look for agents that specialise in sustainable travel and try to support locally-owned businesses when you’re there. Seek out hotels and resorts that minimise their carbon footprint and practice sustainability. Choose eco-friendly transportation and find eco-tourism activities, such as whale and bird watching, nature hikes, or even volunteering opportunities. With some extra planning, you and your partner can have a memorable eco-friendly honeymoon. You can also donate to sustainabletravel.org to offset the carbon footprint of your travels.
There’s no such thing as a perfect wedding. In the same way, there’s no such thing as a perfectly ethical wedding. However, it is very possible to reduce the environmental footprint of your wedding while keeping a romantic and luxurious vibe. You can’t solve all of the world’s problems with a wedding. However, you can strive to make more ethical and eco-friendly choices, and you never know, you might just inspire other couples to do the same. Planning an eco-friendly wedding is less about making everything perfectly environmentally friendly. It is more about being thoughtful and intentional throughout the planning process.