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Planning the Perfect Eco-Friendly Wedding

There are so many moving parts involved in planning a wedding, and it’s normal to want things to be beautiful and perfect for your big day. Unfortunately, weddings can be quite wasteful if you’re not paying attention to things like decor and food.

If you consider yourself environmentally conscious, there are plenty of things you can do to add sustainable consideration to your wedding. Not only will an eco-friendly wedding reduce your carbon footprint, but it could inspire your guests and offer a unique touch to your special day.

From your catering to the decorations, making simple swaps to ensure a more eco-friendly celebration is easier than you might think.

Keep it Small and Simple

One of the best ways to immediately make your wedding more eco-friendly is to keep it small and intimate. While celebrating in person with the people you love is a fantastic part of getting married, if you want to keep things small, consider inviting a set amount of people to attend, and give others a link to a live video stream so they can watch your ceremony live on the big day.

You can even go digital with your invitations. There’s no question that weddings can be pricey. Sending out digital announcements and invites is a great way to save money on paper invitations and stamps. Plus, it’s a much more eco-friendly option that will save you time and money.

No matter how many people you invite, consider foregoing a venue and hosting the event in your backyard. Not only will you save a lot of money, but you’ll do your part for the environment by not wasting a major venue’s resources, including water, HVAC, and electricity.

Hosting a backyard wedding can make for a special, intimate gathering, and it puts you in complete control when it comes to making things more sustainable. Some of the simple swaps you can make if you’re hosting include:

  • Using recyclable dishes;
  • Hiring an acoustic musician;
  • Reducing food waste;
  • Using natural decor.

Hosting at your home also gives you the opportunity to get family and friends more closely involved with setting up and making things special, so while it might be a smaller event, you’re likely to remember the details for years.

DIY Decor

Decorating for your wedding yourself is another money-saving tip that can also be a lot of fun – and better for the planet. No matter when you’re getting married, you can likely use the natural beauty of the world around you in your decorations. If you’re getting married in spring or summer, consider using wildflowers in your bouquets instead of going with a florist. For table centerpieces, fill bowls or lanterns with flowers, colorful rocks, or even bamboo sticks.

Bamboo is a fantastic way to decorate your entire wedding. It’s a sustainable material that can be used in everything from the archway you say your vows under to the plates and cutlery you’re using. You can also use bamboo panels for DIY signs, or even for a guestbook.

When it comes to your wedding favors, leave your guests with something that lets them know sustainability is important to you. Things like seedpacks to spread wildflowers or other local vegetation are cute, festive, and fun. Other options include:

  • Reusable water bottles;
  • Cork wedding coasters;
  • Plantable place cards;
  • Fair trade coffee;
  • Spice blends.

Get creative and utilize nature when you start decorating for your special day. Everything can go back where it belongs when you’re done, and you’ll cut down on a ton of waste.

Eco-Friendly Eating

Speaking of waste, perhaps the biggest source of it at weddings is food. You always want to make sure to have enough of everything so your guests don’t leave hungry. But, catering can be both expensive and detrimental to the environment.

Start by only ordering what you need. You don’t want to run out of food, but it’s easy to order too much because you think you’re getting a better deal. If there is food left over at the end of the day, send some of it home with guests, or donate to a local homeless shelter so it doesn’t get thrown out.

You can also work with a caterer who specializes in sustainability. Nowadays, it’s easier to find caterers who work directly with farmers and local suppliers to make sure your ingredients are organic and locally sourced. Do your research and find someone to work with you who shares your values. Sourcing from local vendors also cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions and your guests can sample everything your area has to offer.

Planning a wedding can be stressful, and trying to make it eco-friendly can add even more pressure. But, you can reduce that stress by making a checklist and prioritizing the most important items, like creating a budget, finding a location, and deciding on a guest list. But, your checklist should also include eco-friendly practices you want to put in place so those helping you plan know how important those sustainable efforts are to you. 

No matter the size and scope of your wedding, there are simple and effective ways to make it more eco-friendly. Start planning now, and you’ll be able to pull off a sustainable ceremony and green reception without having to compromise on any of the fun, excitement, or beauty of a wedding day.

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