Your happily ever after needs a setting for it to take place, and that’s why you’re doing all you can to protect the earth. The only problem is that so many wedding ideas look gorgeous, but waste resources that’ll only be used once before ending up in the trash. And that’s no way to make your big day an eco-friendly one.
So, as you start planning your nuptials, take heed of the following ten tips for an eco-friendly wedding. Each one will make a facet of your eco-friendly wedding gentler on the earth without sacrificing an ounce of the ambiance you envision.
1. Put an Ethical Ring On It
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but they’re not always on great terms with the earth. As such, you should make sure that the rings you wear to symbolize your union are responsibly harvested and made by brands you can trust. You’re even better off if you can go with a hand-me-down or heirloom piece because you won’t be using any new resources to make your bling.
2. Hold Your Wedding Outdoors
Perhaps the eco-friendliest place to hold your wedding is outdoors. Rather than pay for air-conditioning and lighting, Mother Nature will provide all of that for you. And, as a bonus, you get an incredible natural backdrop, thus reducing the amount of décor you need to purchase and flawlessly place.
Fortunately, outdoor weddings are in high demand, so you can find plenty of venues with the indoor conveniences — namely bathrooms and sinks — that you would expect from a traditional indoor location.
3. …Or Plan Your Ceremony and Reception in the Same Place
Of course, an outdoor wedding won’t suit every climate or every bride’s vision. In that case, find a venue where you can celebrate both your ceremony and reception in the same place. That way, you don’t have to worry about transportation to one place to another — and you’ll cut down on fuel usage, too.
You get bonus points for choosing a place flooded in natural light — again, no electricity required — or if your location has put green practices into place. As you search for an indoor venue, be sure to ask if they believe in the eco-friendly systems that are important to you.
4. Get Creative With Greens
Flowers take a notoriously large chunk of the wedding budget, but that’s not all: it’s a waste of resources to clip blooms and use them once before they’re tossed — in the trash.
So, get creative with your bouquets and greenery so that it’s budget-friendly and earth-friendly. Give your flower girls a basket full of herbs to spread down the aisle. Not only will sprigs of mint be cheaper than rose petals, the herb is also a symbol of virtue, perfect for wedding day vibes. You can also reuse your bridesmaids’ bouquets as centerpieces during the reception: they’ll be low enough for guests to see over, but flowery enough to set a romantic scene.
At the very least, choose flowers that are in season at the time of your wedding. That way, you can select something that grew naturally, and something that won’t break the bank when shipped to your ceremony.
5. Send Sustainable Invites
Depending on the length of your guest list, you could be using a ton of paper to make your save-the-date cards, wedding invitations and thank you cards, as well as the invites to your shower and bachelor(ette) parties.
As such, narrow your material search to include only recycled paper, so you’re wasting as little as possible. Rely on your wedding website, too: you don’t need to mail directions to the venue when you can just post that information online.
6. Find the Right Vendor
Not every local merchant is as earth-focused as you. It’ll be up to you to research potential vendors and ask questions about their eco-friendliness. Even if they’re not up to date on what constitutes a green practice, you can ask if they’d be open to learning more and connecting you with suppliers who meet your standards. For example, your florist might be able to source your greens and flowers from a local supplier to save on fuel.
7. Eat Eco-Friendly
Similarly, farm-to-table dining can be pricey, especially for an extra-large wedding celebration. Still, you can work with your caterer to create a menu that incorporates seasonal produce for a more responsible meal. The person in charge of your cake could also use cage-free eggs and organic ingredients, for example, so that the sweetest part of your reception is guilt-free.
8. Go Old School
We’ve touched on this with your rings, but using heirloom pieces and décor that you already have can save the earth’s resources — and your money. Take, for example, a hand-me-down dress: you can use the bones of your mother or grandmother’s frock while still making it your own. Often, this type of refurbishment costs less than a new dress.
As for decorations, peruse the local thrift shop and flea markets to find accessories you can re-style as table decorations. Even natural resources — like a fallen tree or your seashell collection — can be transformed into a centerpiece.
9. Rent What You Can
There’s no chance you’ll need ten matching tablecloths after your wedding day, so don’t buy the fabric — rent it instead. In fact, borrow as much as you can for your big day: flatware, silverware, cloth napkins, glasses and more can be leased for the day. On top of that, rental fees usually include post-use cleaning, so you won’t have to lift a finger after dirtying up linens or dishware.
10. Gift Them With Green
Send your guests home with a green parting gift. It could be a few packs of seeds to grow your favorite flowers, or a sapling so that they can plant a love tree in honor of your eco-friendly union. Make sure your guests take home the bouquets so that they can be enjoyed for a few extra days instead of meeting their fate immediately after the reception.
Say “Yes” to Green Nuptials
There’s no need to sacrifice your vision to plan a wedding that’s as eco-friendly as you are. Instead, you’ll find the day even more beautiful because you worked so hard to ensure it lived up to your vision — and aligned with your beliefs.
About the Author
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Style Me Pretty, Tripping.com and more! Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!
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