Weddings, however beautiful and magnificent, can often be rather wasteful events. If you’re an environmentally conscious person, a sustainable wedding is probably something you’re aiming towards.
But let’s get something clear first – no wedding is ever going to completely eco-friendly. It doesn’t matter how many sustainable wedding ideas you manage to come up with. But that’s not a reason to give up on the notion entirely.
It’s just a gentle reminder that there’s no place for guilt on your wedding day and that every little bit towards helping the environment counts. Now, let’s go over some of the best tips on making your wedding more sustainable.
Pick the Right Location
Destination weddings can be beautiful, but they’re not only expensive, they’re also not very environmentally friendly.
If you and your guests need to take a long car drive, or even take a plane to get to the wedding location, you’re going to create a significant carbon footprint.
A wedding at the beach sounds lovely, but if you do a little bit of research, you’re likely to find a closer location, one that appeals to you at the same time.
The next big item on the list for organizing a sustainable wedding is the venue. If you’re able to get this one right, it’s going to make a huge difference.
Don’t be apprehensive about asking management all the questions you may have. How do they deal with food waste? If they’re the ones catering the wedding, do they have any sustainably sourced foods?
And are they using plastic? When you’re trying to maintain an eco friendly wedding theme, it’s important to know all the details.
Create Sustainable Menus
The wedding menu can be a tough one to figure out. You want to pick something everyone will like, or at least the majority of the guests. But how does that fit into your eco wedding ideas?
If you can’t make the menu 100% vegan or vegetarian, which would reduce the environmental impact the most, you can at least do half.
Also, if possible, try to find a catering company that uses locally sourced organic ingredients. Plus, you can choose to get all your alcohol in bulk and reduce the waste even more.
Have a Delicious Yet Sustainable Wedding Cake
If you’re overwhelmed with the idea of how to start organizing a sustainable wedding, the cake is an excellent starting point.
Check with your baker if they have any organically sourced and Fairtrade ingredients. You can go with the vegan cake, and if there are fruits in the recipe, make sure they’re seasonal.
Use Recycled Paper for the Wedding Invitations
Most couples nowadays choose to go digital when it comes to wedding invitations. It’s convenient, not to mention the number one choice when planning an eco wedding.
But if for some reason you’re feeling nostalgic about the way weddings used to be, using paper invitations doesn’t have to feel like you’re doing something wrong.
You can find a printing company that uses a more sustainable practice. They can print your wedding invitations on recycled paper. And be sure to ask your guest to recycle the invitations again.
Pick an Ethical Wedding Dress Designer
This can be a hard pill to swallow for some brides, but if you’re already a sustainably oriented person, it makes sense.
There are so many wedding dress designers out there making strong efforts to create their pieces more ethically. When doing your research, look for designers that use only ethically sourced materials.
But if that feels a little too difficult, another way to go is to buy second-hand. There are so many gorgeous wedding dresses that are up for sale, worn only once, and waiting just for you.
Think About the Rings Too
You can start your sustainable wedding plans even before the actual ceremony. A diamond engagement ring plays a significant role in the wedding tradition.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of controversy about how some of these diamonds are obtained. And your engagement ring isn’t something that should remind you of immoral mining practices.
That’s why you can either search for an antique diamond that still shines just as bright. Or you can do your best to find a diamond dealer openly committed to buying jewels responsibly.
Talk to Your Florist
There’s nothing quite like beautiful flower centerpieces to make your wedding look and smell divine. But some people decide to abandon the idea of flowers at their wedding because it just seems so wasteful.
Especially if the florist has to obtain them from far away. However, if you can’t imagine a wedding without flowers, there are a few things you can do. Ask your florist to either shop for locally grown flowers or just use potted flowers instead.
Go with Reusable Décor
Wedding trends come and go, but some types of décor are here to stay. For a more sustainable wedding, it’s best to go with items like glassware, ribbons, artwork, and even books.
You’ll probably be able to rent some of this stuff too. You can also make the most out of candles, especially if you go with the non-toxic kind. When it’s time for confetti, there’s actually biodegradable brands available nowadays.
Use Cruelty-Free Makeup
A bride’s makeup is a big deal. You’re likely going to have to book a makeup artist months in advance of the big day.
This is another opportunity to look for someone who advocates the use of cruelty-free makeup brands. If this quest proves futile, you can buy the makeup yourself and ask the artist to use yours.
Pick a Sustainable Wedding Registry
Your ethical wedding might be all you ever hoped that it would, but what if your gifts turn out to be less eco-friendly? To ensure your efforts aren’t in vain, make all your wedding gift registries sustainable.
And you can even ask your guests politely, that if they’re going to go with a gift of their own choice, that they think about the sustainability factor.
But here’s another idea – you can ask all the wedding attendees to donate money to a charity of your choice. That’s a wonderful way to remove any chance of waste and help a cause you believe in.
Organize Shuttle Transportation for Your Guests
Another amazing way to lower the carbon footprint for your sustainable wedding is to organize shuttle transportation for your guests.
Do you have many guests that are staying in hotels or live in the same area? You can make sure that they all safely arrive at their destinations after the party.
It will save everyone a lot of trouble, fewer vehicles will be used, and also, it’s a very sweet and thoughtful gesture.
Donate the Leftovers
It doesn’t matter how well you thought it out, there’s going to be a lot of leftover food after the wedding reception. It’s a considerable waste just to throw it away, and many couples who want to start their eco friendly marriage donate it to a food bank.
You can find many local food banks that will happily take chilled foods that haven’t been served. You could ask your caterers in advance if they’ve done something like this before. If they have, you could ask them to organize it for you.
Even the Birdseed Matters
Once the newlyweds are ready to make their exit, it’s time to throw some bird seeds at them. It’s a genuinely fun tradition that puts a smile on everyone’s face. But even the birdseed you use at the wedding can throw off the balance of the local plant ecosystem.
Usually, bird seed comes mixed with all kinds of plants, some of which might not be native to the location of the wedding. In order to preserve only the native plants in the area, you can opt for non-mixed bird seeds and buy them locally.
Choose an Ethical Honeymoon Destination
You might be hesitant to choose a faraway destination for your honeymoon, but it’s something that only happens once. It’s still possible to travel to a tropical island and stay vigilant about your sustainable practices.
Just make sure that you do enough research before you go. Your honeymoon can also be a fantastic opportunity to support local businesses. Perhaps opt for a non-commercial hotel chain. Or choose to eat at local restaurants. You can consult a travel agent for more advice on how to support local businesses.
There are so many ways to make your wedding more ethical and more environmentally friendly. Even if you choose to apply just several of these tips, you’re still making a fantastic effort. A sustainable wedding doesn’t mean you have to give up on essential wedding items.
It just means that you’re going to do a little more research and sacrifice a few less relevant things for the greater good. It’s also a wonderful way to start a new life with the person you love.