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How To Throw a Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Wedding

Your wedding is meant to be one of the best days of your life, it’s a huge milestone. However, it can also be the most wasteful. There are often tons of leftover food and décor that just ends up getting tossed. This isn’t a plea to not have a gorgeous wedding with all the details, but rather to be a little more aware of the environmental impact. If you’re eco-conscious you should lean into a green wedding.

Here is how you can reduce your carbon footprint at your wedding.

What Is a Green Wedding?

A green wedding means a wedding that is sustainable and eco-friendly. It is a celebration where couples aim to reduce the amount of energy that goes into and the amount of waste that comes out of the wedding. There are heaps of ideas for you to have an eco-friendly wedding and we will discuss just a few of them.

Tips For Having an Eco-Friendly Wedding

Planning a green wedding isn’t any harder than planning an average wedding. If you choose to go green, it will be part of your planning process. Here are some of our favorite eco-friendly wedding tips. 

Shop For Sustainable and Ethical Diamonds

When picking your engagement rings and wedding bands look for ethically sourced diamonds or gemstones. Try to track the origins of your stones. There are plenty of jewelers who can provide you with this information. Additionally, The Kimberly Process is a good resource to use for tracking your stones. 

The last thing you want is to be unknowingly wearing a blood diamond to represent your eternal love. Talk about bad karma. It’s also important to ask your jeweler if they are committed to sourcing conflict-free stones. Also, there are plenty of stones that require fewer resources to mine, like salt and pepper diamonds. Or, alternatively, look into stones made in labs. Moissanite is a rare mineral that is lab grown. This way you aren’t harming the earth or getting involved in a conflict.

Eco-Friendly Wedding Invites

More and more wedding vendors are becoming eco-friendly or at least, offering green alternatives. It is becoming much easier to source green materials for your wedding invites. Not to mention, this can be a fun way to get creative. 

Look into recycled or unconventional materials for your wedding invites. You can consider using recycled paper, upcycled fabrics, leather, or wood even. Another unique material you can consider is something biodegradable or even plantable. Botanical Paperworks offers paper that can be planted to create plants or flowers. If you’d rather go with a company to do your invites, check out Paper Culture. They give back to the planet by planting a tree for every order they receive.

Charitable Registry Instead Of Gifts 

Maybe you and your spouse-to-be already live together and don’t need much from your guests, or maybe you just aren’t into material gifts. You can instead, opt for a charity registry. Let your guests donate to charities or causes that are near and dear to your heart. 

This will definitely invite some good karma and energy into the beginning of your marriage. With Joy offers charity registries. Or, Arbor Day Foundation plants a tree in honor of each guest and supports rainforest protection efforts.

Outdoor Wedding

Having an outdoor wedding has plenty of benefits. You will have natural greenery and decor which can help you cut some costs. You save on energy usage by using fewer lights and, natural light is much better for pictures. 

If you choose an outdoor wedding, consider booking a national park. This helps fund the conservation and many of the fees include clean-up efforts. 

Donate Decor 

Instead of tossing your decor after your wedding day, consider donating it. You can easily donate things like vases, candle holders, and other accessories to local donation stores like Goodwill or The Salvation Army. Even consider donating your flowers to hospitals, senior centers, or homeless shelters. 

If you have small table decor, offer them to the staff at the venue or to guests so they don’t go to waste. Additionally, consider using decorations that you’d like to take home afterward, like mirrors or lanterns. Oh, and donations are tax-deductible!

Sustainable and Ethical Meals 

Sustainability and ethics really come into play when you start planning your wedding food. Look into local caterers or caterers that supply sustainable and seasonal cuisine. Make sure you ask them where they source their meat. The more local your vendors mean the smaller your carbon footprint. 

A good tip for a sustainable and ethical wedding meal is to forgo meat entirely. Going fully vegetarian has a much lower environmental impact and you won’t be harming any animals.

Also, look into organic and natural wine that comes in biodynamic bottling. A single-serving package often creates more waste. Consider pouring drinks from large bottles that are easier to recycle.

Have an Eco-Friendly Honeymoon

No, we aren’t saying spend your honeymoon volunteering. Instead, we are asking that you look into resorts that have a sustainability pledge. For example, Six Sense Resorts offers resorts all over the world that are highly sustainable. 

You can also try booking flights that have fewer emissions. Or, look into booking sites that donate as well as embrace sustainability, like Kind Traveler.

Additionally, once you are on your honeymoon, try supporting the local economy and environment. You can do this by visiting animal sanctuaries, dining at local restaurants that source their food sustainably, going on hikes in national parks, or participating in beach clean-ups.

Reduce Food Waste 

Food is often the biggest source of waste at a wedding, buffets being the number 1 offender. Buffets often have a lot of leftovers which usually are tossed at the end. Opting for a plated dinner helps to avoid excess food. However, if you do choose a buffet, speak to your caterer about leftovers. See if you are able to donate extra food to food banks or shelters. You may need a permit, so be sure to get all the details ahead of time. 

Rent As Much As Possible 

Using single-use items, in general, is bad for the planet. Forgo paper/plastic plating and cutlery. Instead, look into renting. You can rent pretty much anything these days, decor, china, glasses, linens, and the list goes on. You can even rent your wedding attire. 

At some venues, they provide linens and flatware with the space. This makes it a lot easier and reduces the amount of effort you need to make. Additionally, use reusable metal straws or paper straws instead of plastic. 

Edible Favors 

Reduce waste at your wedding by giving your guests an edible favor. Tasty favors are very popular and honestly, guests that traveled to make it will appreciate the snack on the way home. You can source your favors at local shops or farmers’ markets.

Alternatively, don’t have any favors. Instead, donate to a charity in your guest’s name. You can announce the deed on your guest’s menu or name card.

Environmentally Friendly Exit Toss 

Once you say your “I Do’s”, it is a tradition to do an exit toss. We often see plastic confetti or rice being thrown, but there are pretty bad for the environment. Also, it just isn’t that pretty. Instead, go for something biodegradable like dried lavender, rose petals, or micro flowers. You can make them available in paper bags that be recycled or in a large vessel to grab out of.

No, we aren’t saying spend your honeymoon volunteering. Instead, we are asking that you look into resorts that have a sustainability pledge. For example, Six Sense Resorts offers resorts all over the world that are highly sustainable. 

You can also try booking flights that have fewer emissions. Or, look into booking sites that donate as well as embrace sustainability, like Kind Traveler.

Additionally, once you are on your honeymoon, try supporting the local economy and environment. You can do this by visiting animal sanctuaries, dining at local restaurants that source their food sustainably, going on hikes in national parks, or participating in beach clean-ups.

Eco-Conscious Floral Arrangements

Surprisingly, fresh-cut flowers aren’t great for the environment. Forgo blooms altogether and consider potted plants, like orchids, herbs, or even trees. Consider using plants that you can reuse at home for your patio, or be replanted in your garden. 

Also, you can give your guests some of the plants as their favors, or donate your flowers to local hospitals or senior centers. If you do opt for flowers, consider locally grown seasonal blooms from a sustainable florist. Some florists will even compost your greens after your wedding.

Eco-Friendly Venues 

Lastly, try to find an eco-friendly wedding venue. This is one of the easiest ways to ensure you have a green wedding. You can help by having your ceremony and reception at the same place to reduce the amount of travel required. 

There are plenty of venues that take sustainability seriously. Ask if they have a pledge or any details. Look for LEED certificates or an energy star rating (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) when looking for hotels and event spaces.

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