The decision to go green at your wedding doesn’t mean you have to give up beauty or style on your big day. Below are some practical tips on how to have an eco-friendly wedding celebration that will also go easy on the green in your wallet.
Start with your vendors
When trying to find a caterer that offers eco-friendly menu items, look for one that serves a sustainable menu of local items. This means that the food doesn’t have to travel great distances by truck to arrive at your venue, so your wedding dinner will not only be sustainably served, but fresh and delicious, too! When working with your caterer, be sure to ask about other cost-effective, eco-friendly, and organic menu options they have available. You can also make one of your entree choices a vegetarian dish, which will be better for the environment and more friendly for your budget.
As for food serving products, make sure you will not be using any styrofoam because it NEVER composts or breaks down! A wise wedding planning idea is to use actual silverware because it can be washed and reused, is much more formal, and tends to save some money from your wedding budget. It also makes for a much more enjoyable meal (it’s no fun when you’re eating a nice meal and your plastic forks snaps in two during dinner).
Photo Credit: Savan Photography
Select a local florist with seasonal blooms
When choosing your wedding flowers, go for blooms that are in season and grown as close to your wedding venue as possible. This means lower flower costs (since you won’t be flying in tulps from the Netherlands) because flowers that are in season means they are abundant and therefore won’t be as pricey. In addition, if the flowers are grown nearby, their journey to your wedding venue will require less shipping, transportation, and refrigeration needs which translates into long-lasting blooms with a smaller carbon footprint and price tag.
Photo Credit: O’Malley Photographers
A wedding venue close to home
A big way to reduce the environmental impact of your wedding is to hold your wedding in close proximity to (most of) your guests in order to limit the number of airline flights people need to take to get to your wedding. If you plan your wedding within driving distance for as many guests as possible, you not only decrease your carbon footprint but also greatly reduce traveling costs for you and your guests. In addition, if most of your guests are staying in the same hotel, you can transport all of them together in a single bus and limit emissions. This also ensures that if your guests enjoy a cocktail or two at your wedding, they will be driven home safely at the end of the night.
Photo Credit: Elyse Hall Photography
Conservation is key
Whether waste reduction or water conservation is first on your agenda, consider both. Be sure to create a behind the scenes compost pile for extra, uneaten food items (your wedding staff can take care of this when busting plates). When making water available to your guests, stay away from plastic bottles and go with glasses of water served in adorable mason jars. People tend to keep track of their water glasses whereas plastic bottles are often opened, set on a table, and left unfinished.
Photo Credit: Elyse Hall Photography
Gifts that give back
If you’re passionate about a specific cause and are feeling extra selfless during your wedding planning process, you can ask guests to donate to your favorite earth-friendly charity or create a wedding registry for homemade gifts and second-hand treasures. The idea here is for your guests to ‘re-gift’ great second-hand treasures that they once enjoyed but now no longer need, while the item still has lots of useful life left for your and your partner to enjoy. Also, ask your guests to wrap wedding gifts in newspaper – not the unnecessarily thick, printed paper with bows that will only be viewed briefly and then torn off and thrown away.
If you’re looking for wonderful wedding favors for your guests, giving them small succulent plants to take home and enjoy or replant in their home garden is a great and green idea that will create more oxygen in the air and encourage gardening with plants that are drought-tolerant (for all you California people).
Photo Credit: Carlie Statsky Photography
Make sure you notify your guests of your decision to plan an eco-friendly, green wedding by posting the information on your wedding website. This way, they can understand what going green means to you and find out how they can contribute to your environmental efforts. Keeping your guests updated on your wedding details will also help them to feel more involved and connected to your big day. Remember, making your wedding day eco-friendly is just another wonderful thing that makes you and your partner unique, so have fun with it and enjoy your big day.