Weddings are known for all of their grand staple elements, but they’re also incredibly wasteful. According to the Wildlife-Friendly Wedding Guide, the average wedding produces a carbon footprint of 63 metric tons of CO2 and about 400 pounds of trash. But your celebration of love doesn’t have to! As a society, we've grown increasingly aware of our impact on the environment. So with a little education, we can make weddings sustainable and equally as amazing.
There are two things people commonly think about when it comes to having a sustainable wedding. One, that it won’t be beautiful and elegant because of the misconception that green means simple and drab. Two, that it will be more expensive. Both things are false! You can have the wedding elements you want, be eco-friendly, and on a budget. Remember that it’s okay if your entire wedding isn't sustainable. It’s better to incorporate some green practices than to not have any at all. The fight for environmental justice takes one step at a time. Read on for some green tips that will make you and Mother Nature happy!
Environmentally Conscious Vendors
Find venues and vendors that align with your beliefs and goals. Look at venue options that are green and energy-efficient. Or opt for an outdoor wedding with natural light, like a vineyard, rolling hilltop, or botanical garden. A big plus is that the more natural beauty the venue has, the less décor you’ll have to use. Find a breathtaking outdoor wedding venue near you in The Aisle Guide Marketplace.
When shopping for engagement rings and wedding bands, research the origins of where the gem came from and how it was made. Does the jeweler you’re buying from have a socially responsible conflict-free mission when it comes to acquiring their diamonds? Research lab-created stones, which reduce the impact of mining since it’s created in a lab, or consider stones that take fewer resources such as salt-and-pepper diamonds.
Retro is so in! Reuse or recycle family heirlooms. This is not only a great way to reduce waste but also a sweet way to pass on tradition and keep your families’ history alive. Reinvent something borrowed and something blue by borrowing intimate pieces for your big day.
Think of your grandmother's beautiful lace dress with the delicate buttons, or that stunning vintage suit you’ve admired in pictures. You can have them tailored to fit you or use pieces from them to make a more modern dress. If you don’t have a loved one’s wedding attire to repurpose, or the garments don’t suit your fancy, consider going to a vintage store. High-end vintage stores are becoming more and more popular, so you’re likely to find one in your area. Here’s a comprehensive list of the best online and in-store shops for vintage wedding dresses.
Instead of having your wedding party go out and buy dresses and suits they may never wear again, have them buy vintage pieces that fit your theme and color scheme or have them use or buy garments that they love that they’ll likely keep wearing.
Antique Store Décor
Antique stores are very reminiscent of vintage styles, and vintage may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But worry not, no matter what your wedding aesthetic is, you can find fun décor items that fit your theme. Furniture and décor are donated and picked up by antique stores regularly. Pick out a darling couch for the reception lounge area and classic frames and table décor to make your tablescapes truly unique.
The greenest way to cut back on stationery is to not have it at all. Think about your priorities. If having tangible stationery is not something high on your list then you can opt for beautiful digital options. But of course, wedding invitations are an essential and traditional part of remembering—so compromise! Skip the paper save the dates and go digital, and keep a traditional paper invite. Choose eco-friendly invitations. Companies like Paper Source make invitations from 100% recyclable paper and they plant a tree for every order made! Or even better, Botanical PaperWorks makes custom paper that is plantable!
Waste-Free & Safe Florals
- Get your florals done by a local florist that uses organic and sustainably grown flowers that are not grown with harmful chemicals. Flowers, even the sustainable ones, are often wasted.
Flowers are a gorgeous addition that can brighten your special day and bring happiness to other peoples’ lives after your wedding. You can donate your flowers to organizations like Random Acts of Flowers who use your donation to deliver flowers to individuals in health care facilities.
Forgo floral foam since it contains toxic chemicals and is not biodegradable.
Use potted plants and flowers so guests can take them home as favors and plant them in their own gardens.
If you’re having an exit toss, choose biodegradable options like petals, lavender, leaves, dissolvable confetti, dried flowers, or herbs.
Locally Grown Food
Food and transportation are two of the largest sources of your wedding’s greenhouse gas emissions. Find catering companies that source in-season, locally grown, organic products and ingredients. This will result in fresher food, less transportation fuel, and a happier Mother Earth. But what can you do with the leftover food? Donate it! Learn more about the process of donating food and finding vendors and organizations to partner with.
Photos courtesy of Lauren Miles Photo | Design + Rentals Power of Love Rentals | Coordinator Keen Events PDX | Venue Everett West | Charcuterie Artemis Foods | Dessert 1927 S’mores | Floral Design Gifford’s Weddings | Potted Plants Red Leaf LLC | Stationery Letters and Dust | Bridal Attire Brides for a Cause | Groom's Attire The Black Tux | Jewelry TreeMyriah + Swank Metal Smithing | Hair + Makeup Jovana Combs | Specialty Glassware Alena Botanica Design Co.