Planning an Eco-Friendly Wedding On a Budget
A growing number of couples are interested in making sure their wedding day is eco-friendly—and for good reason! According to The Green Bride Guide, the average wedding produces anywhere from 400 to 600 pounds of trash and 63 tons of CO2 in just one day!
But when it comes to planning a sustainable wedding, costs can certainly add up, especially since eco-friendly products are typically more expensive. Luckily, there are ways to throw an event that's good for the environment without blowing your budget. In fact, as Kristen Gosselin of KG Events & Design points out, green weddings can actually save some money because certain details, such as balloons, paper escort cards, menus, ceremony programs, etc., will not be purchased. “Less is more in the case of green weddings!” she explains.
To get you started, here are some easy ways to have your dream wedding while also staying eco-conscious—no matter how much money you have to spend on the day.
Hold a Smaller Event
Since green weddings generate the least amount of waste, the best way to achieve this is by keeping the guest count low, explains Gosselin. The guest count will drive the budget so this will automatically keep costs lower.
Gosselin also recommends hiring a caterer who sources their food locally. “This doesn't always mean higher prices and will leave a much smaller carbon footprint,” she says.
One of the easiest ways to go green is to limit the amount of paper you use for your event. Send save the dates and invitations digitally, and then have guests RSVP online. This will also save you money on postage. If you don’t want to use digital invites, then find a stationery company that uses recycled paper.
Secondhand doesn’t mean second best. You can find a variety of wedding items—from designer dresses to like-new décor—in places such as thrift stores, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and BravoBride, the largest online marketplace for used wedding items.
Choose a Convenient Location
You can significantly cut down on your carbon footprint by selecting a wedding location that doesn’t require a lot of travel time for guests. This could include skipping an exotic destination so no one has to jump on a plane and finding a venue that could host both your ceremony and reception.
Rent Over Buying
While those monogrammed cocktail napkins are cute, single-use anything is never eco-friendly. Instead, rent your linens, dishes, glasses, etc. If you’ll be serving drinks with straws, you can even rent stainless steel ones, or simply buy paper straws that are better for the environment.
Reuse Your Décor
Ask your planner to come up with design elements that can easily transition from the ceremony to the reception. For example, can the floral backdrop from your vows be transferred to the party space? Can the candles around the altar be used at the guest tables?
Donate Flowers & Food
Don’t let any leftover items go to waste! Find a local hospital or nursing home that will take the flowers to brighten up their residents’ day and look into sending any leftover food to a nearby shelter.
These are some of the biggest wastes at weddings. If you want to send something home with guests, stick with edible favors or something that family and friends can plant at their homes. Even better: Donate to an eco-friendly charity in lieu of favors!
Hero photo courtesy of Christy Kendall Photography