Your wedding is going to be the biggest party you’ll ever throw. And we’ve all seen the aftermath of a good party. From the leftover bottles, food containers and bags to the use-once-and-throw-away decorations, it’s a big carbon footprint.
Making smarter, sustainable decisions in the way we consume is something we should all be practicing. With some planning, incorporating these principles into your big day is easy to do. And as you will see, having an eco-conscious wedding doesn’t mean you have to compromise your style and personality.
Choosing the venue is likely going to be the biggest decision you will have to make. Look for a place that offers the option of having your wedding outdoors (at least the ceremony). Using natural lighting will significantly cut down on energy use. Many couples are now having the ceremony and reception in one place, which greatly diminishes fuel emissions. As you meet with venue directors, ask if the building is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, and if they use energy efficient appliances and biodegradable products.
We’ve all heard the saying “Save a Tree.” For invitations and other stationery such as wedding programs, table numbers, and menus, choose designers and companies that use recycled paper. Paper Culture uses 100% recycled paper and plants a tree with every order. Bloomin’ makes invitations using all-natural, plantable seed paper, which are embedded with real wildflower seeds! In place of snail mail, more couples are opting to email the ‘Save The Date’ to cut down on paper waste.
Ask your florist for a list of flowers that are going to be in season at the time of your wedding – this is not only good for the environment, but also ensures that you’ll have the freshest blooms. Also ask them to check into getting flowers from local farmers who use organic growing methods (the cost will be more, so do what you can within your budget). Don’t let those beautiful blossoms go to waste after the celebration. Repeat Roses transforms your flowers into beautiful arrangements for hospitals, nursing homes and shelters, which will then be composted.
Shopping second hand for décor is an easy way to stay with a ‘green’ themed wedding. Thrift stores are a treasure trove full of unique décor pieces that will add style and personality to your wedding. You’ll find everything from centerpiece vases to mirrors that can be used for welcome signs and seating charts to vintage tableware and candle holders. And oenophiles rejoice – wine bottle flower vases add rustic charm to the tablescape.
The Food & Drinks
It’s a given with every wedding – guests will be talking about how the food was long after the party is over. Not just good for the environment, farm-to-table cuisine is delicious and often the most creative. Find a caterer that uses locally grown, sustainable ingredients. Going organic will be more expensive. To keep cost down, build your menu around in-season fare – this also ensures the freshest, best-tasting food will be served. Stock the bar with goods from local wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Feel good knowing you’re supporting small businesses while cutting pollution and packaging waste that results from product transportation.
The Engagement & Wedding Rings
The jewelry industry has a long, damaging history regarding human rights and the environment. Knowing how and with what materials your rings are made is important for the social-eco minded couple. Phrases to look for while shopping for wedding jewelry include ethical and conflict-free diamonds and gemstones, recycled gold, fair trade, and fair labor practices. The following designers and brands meet social/environmental guidelines in some way: Noémie, Aurate New York, James Allen, Blue Nile, Fairtrade Jewelry Co., Trumpet & Horn, Fair Trade Jewellery Co., Bario & Neal, Ken & Dana Design, Brilliant Earth, and Fitzgerald Jewelry.
The Wedding Dress
Similar to jewelry, the fashion industry is leaving a sizable carbon footprint on our planet. This unfortunate truth extends to wedding fashion. Of course, you want to wear something that makes you feel beautiful down the aisle. Knowing that your dress has positively impacted the world will only add to your bridal glow – we promise! An obvious eco-friendly option is re-wearing a gown – many brides wear their mother’s dress. If mom’s frock doesn’t match your personal style, perhaps you can have it altered to better suited design. Vintage and consignment shops carry gorgeous couture gowns. If the idea of a wedding dress has never been important to you, consider borrowing a dress from websites like Rent the Runway.
But what if you’ve always had your heart set on finding the perfect, and admittedly new and never been worn, wedding dress? Not to worry. There are plenty of sustainable designers and brands making breathtaking gowns for every type of bride. Topping the list are Reformation, Leannne Marshall, Tara Lynne Bridal, Wear Your Love, Celia Grace, Stella McCartney, Leila Hafzi, Christy Dawn, and Minna.
Saying “I do” to an eco-conscious wedding requires a little more work and planning, but it’s totally worth it in the end. You’ll enter marriage with sustainable ideals to carry you through the rest of life together. And hopefully by making smarter, greener choices for décor, food, and attire, others will take note and follow.
Categories:Blog, Floral Arrangements and Decor Advice, Must Read Bridal Advice, Your Inspiration Fix