Who doesn’t love the celebration of love? As much as we love the excitement around weddings, they do contribute quite a lot to the carbon footprint, from food wastage, optional extras, and the travel to get everyone in the venue.
However, it is possible to plan an eco-friendly and sustainable wedding, but don’t forget to be easy on yourself. The very fact that you’re here looking for options says a lot! So, let’s get into it.
Disclaimer: There’s no such thing as a perfect, sustainable wedding, but substituting things can greatly help the environment.
How to Have an Eco-Friendly Wedding
There are several ways to have an eco-conscious wedding without sacrificing style or going beyond your budget. Here are my favs to make the earth just as happy for your wedding as you are!
Be Mindful of your Wedding’s Location
Transportation emissions are one of the top contributors to environmental damage, so considering how your guests are getting to the wedding venue is a good place to start. If you want to have a destination, this means air travel, and a remote location means a long car journey.
You should be able to get married wherever you want; however, it’s a good place to start looking at your guest list and shortlist options accordingly. Fewer plane and car journeys reduce the carbon footprint by almost 40%!
Turn Your Menu Around
Whether your wedding venue is sorting out the menus or you have a separate catering company in mind, you should ensure they are sustainable and source local, organic food where possible.
You can go for a full vegan or vegetarian menu, as this will greatly reduce the impact on the environment; however, not everyone would like this! So, you can opt for a menu that contains 50% vegetarian. You should also look to buy alcohol from local sources instead of exotic ones.
Question Your Wedding Venues
Your wedding venue plays a big role in reducing the carbon footprint of your big day. It is important to choose a venue that also values sustainability and the green approach.
Look for the following things when reviewing a venue:
- Do they send their documents and contracts digitally?
- Do they use renewable energy sources, such as solar power?
- Are they against single-use plastics?
- Can the venue host the reception and ceremony to reduce traveling?
- How do they go about disposing of food waste and recycling?
- Are they a part of any eco-friendly charities?
You should also research eco-friendly wedding vendors who are committed to the green cause.
Everyone knows that vintage is the new in-thing! I love the look of vintage items, which certainly add character to your wedding. You can consider renting or shopping at thrift shops for wedding favors and other décor instead of buying them brand-new. In this way, your wedding is unique and catered exactly to your taste!
Apart from saving the environment, you’ll be saving lots of money! If you cannot find anything to your liking in the thrift stores, then event rentals are the next option.
Eco-Friendly Wedding Attire
You have to look like a princess (and prince!) at your wedding, and this can be done sustainably. You can take the approach by doing one of the following:
- Renting your wedding clothes- Renting a suit or dress is a viable option. There is a wide range of designers you can choose from. Renting means that you are not responsible for the use of unsustainable resources. Plus, you’ll be saving money!
- Alternative clothes- If you’re not sticking to the usual, traditional wedding, you can dress in something that is completely eco-friendly. You can also encourage your guests to do the same thing. This incorporates the green approach in your wedding.
- Eco-conscious materials- Sustainable living is trending, so finding wedding clothes made from eco-friendly materials is easier than ever. These materials include hemp-based silks, organic cotton, satins, and locally sourced materials. However, you should be careful of the price of hemp, as it can take up a substantial part of your budget.
Ethical Wedding Rings
This may sound tough to source, but it’s actually pretty easy. Whether it’s your wedding or engagement ring, there are ways to ensure that it is sustainable and conflict-free.
You should research the jeweler and look for the following signs:
- Promotions about their ethically-sourced gems
- Supportive of initiatives that ensure the safe extraction of precious gems and diamonds
- They fund projects dealing with ethically sourced gems
If you’re having a hard time finding these signs, you can reach out and ask the jeweler where they source their gems from. If they are not being too direct with their answer, then you should not consider buying from them.
While most countries have an ethical way of getting their diamonds, some are still questionable. These include areas such as Ivory Coast, Angola, Zimbabwe, and DR Congo.
Remember, you don’t have to get a low-quality ring because you’re opting for the ethical option! Since many jewelers have quality and ethics combined, you would have many options to choose from.
Have a Smaller Wedding
A smaller wedding is more intimate, means less waste, and is more affordable. Shortening your guest list and planning a wedding with your nearest and dearest with a lovely lunch or dinner at a restaurant or an at-home BBQ sounds fun!
Technology is also a thing, so you can livestream your wedding to include everyone, wherever they may be!
A Sustainable Wedding Cake
Yes, it’s possible and attainable!
You can ask your baker if they can use organic and local ingredients and seasonal fruits in the cake recipe. A vegan option makes a smaller impact on the environment, and you can have lovely, fresh fruits in your cake. Yum!
Organic and Local Flowers
In a sense, all flowers are organic, but how they get to us is the problem. Aside from the carbon footprint racked up when they are transported to us, there are also issues of exploitation of the people who pick out the flowers.
You can instead do the following:
- Buy seasonal and local flowers- You can buy flowers from the local florist, who often has cute combinations and other sustainable ways to go about your décor. Buying seasonal flowers means that you don’t have to have them delivered to you, which decreases the environmental impact.
- Grow your own wedding flowers- While this may be a long game, using your own flowers can be quite amazing at your wedding! You can always use Google or someone’s help for arrangements and how to make the flowers look sharp for the day. There’s a lovely charm to a self-grown bouquet!
- Sustainable florist- An eco-friendly florist is easy to find these days. You can spot them by looking for those who do not use floral plastic or foam, are transparent about how they get their flowers, and always makes use of local flowers instead of exotic ones.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to compromise on your décor in an effort to be green. There are smart techniques you can use to be eco-friendly and stylish at the same time. Anyway, your wedding will be one of a kind when you implement the following:
- For lighting, you can set up solar panels in the daylight to make a difference in the evening. If you collect enough solar power, your evening can be lit using a renewable source. If this is not possible, you can use candles. This can be a cool idea to hang from the ceiling to provide a nice ambiance and natural lighting.
- For the traditional confetti, you can swap it for dried-out petals. This option is still within the aesthetic of your wedding; however, it breaks down quicker in the environment. Traditional confetti is non-biodegradable, and some wedding owners charge a fee for clean-up or even ban the use altogether.
- For place cards, you can use bamboo or recycled options. Your wedding invites can be digital, and you can ask people to RSVP online. If you know some guests who are unsure about using the computer, you can phone them.
- For your tableware, you can use rustic natural wood, which is sourced sustainably from forests. This can be for bowls, tables, and even cutlery. Your tablecloth can be made from hemp or organic cotton.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I budget for my wedding?
Saving for a wedding can honestly be hard work, especially if you want basically everything! Here is a useful breakdown of how much of your budget you should section to each part of your wedding:
- 50% towards food, drinks, and reception
- 15% on your wedding attire
- 10% on flowers
- 10% on photography
- 10% on entertainment
Can my honeymoon also be eco-friendly?
Your honeymoon is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, so I’m not suggesting a holiday not far from home unless it’s what you like, of course! Researching your destination is important when looking for a location. You can also opt for a travel agent who looks for responsible holidays. You can support local stores, hotels, and attractions at the destination.