If you’re getting married and planning your wedding, you certainly have a lot on your hands. Planning a wedding is no easy task, especially when you have certain values that you want your wedding to reflect. For many people, sustainability is becoming an essential value that they try to include in their lives, and a wedding is no exception.
If you care about the environment and want your wedding to reflect that, there are tons of easy changes you can make to have a more sustainable wedding. In their traditional form, weddings can cause a lot of unnecessary waste — disposable or single-use decorations and dinner items, non-recyclable stationery, and destination venues all add a significant environmental impact.
The average wedding creates nearly 400 pounds of garbage. That’s roughly the equivalent of 4-5 people’s waste for an entire year created in one day — not the best look for the environmentally conscious bride.
If you’re determined to have a wedding that celebrates with mother earth and not at her expense, use these six sustainable wedding ideas:
Food: One of the primary waste sources at a wedding is food. Arrange with the food provider or venue to make sure that food doesn’t become waste; state in your contract that food should be delivered to a food bank that will accept it or a compost facility. Offering vegan food and locally sourced food is another way to ensure your food has a low environmental impact.
Decor: No one wants to skimp on the decor for their wedding — it’s your special day, after all. Yet, the decor is a huge source of waste with all the plastic and single-use items. Instead, go for sustainable materials like glass wherever possible. Renting your decor instead of buying is also a great way to reduce demand for single-use items. If you have to buy a few key things, try to resell them afterward to extend their lifespan.
Flowers: No wedding can go on without flowers, and we certainly aren’t condemning the environmentally conscious bride to fake flowers (a sin). Just do a bit of research and look for a florist who can provide local flowers to cut down on the transportation needs that require the usage of more fossil fuels.
Venue: There’s no doubt that the right venue can make a wedding magical. Even more enchanting is a site that will work with you to increase the sustainability of your wedding. Search the Green Building Information Gateway to find venues and their green ratings so you can save time and the environment. Better yet, weddings that take place in naturally beautiful spaces, like gardens or national parks, will also cut down on your decor needs.
Dress and Jewelry: These might be the harder parts of planning a sustainable wedding only because we often want exactly what we want. Luckily you can easily find amazing dresses and wedding rings that are sustainable — just shop from brands that promise ethical sourcing or try antique rings and pre-owned dresses. These options will help sustain the environment and your bank account.
Invitations: We know how special wedding invitations are; they often stay up on the fridge of our friends and family for months before the ceremony and end up in scrapbooks for years to help us reminisce about that special day. Sustainable wedding invitations don’t have to cut corners anywhere; if you don’t want to use digital invitations, look for earth-friendly materials like bamboo paper or even this unique seed paper that can have invitations printed on it and then be planted to yield a lovely wildflower mix.