Last month Alex and I booked our wedding venue. aka IT’S REALLY HAPPENING PEOPLE!! We got engaged in May, but it took us a bit of time to sort out what we both envisioned and wanted for our wedding. We found a venue that we both love and I couldn’t be more excited to start planning.
From the beginning, I knew I wanted to be mindful of how we were planning. I wanted to do it in a way that was as sustainable as possible, without getting too crazy about it. This is fitting for the both of us as I work in the sustainability field and we are both nature lovers. We love taking trips to National Parks, going off the grid, and being out in nature. I am striving to be more mindful of my impact on the planet in all that I do – wedding included. According to the Green Bride Guide, the average wedding produces 400 lbs. of garbage and 63 tons of CO2. It’s honestly hard to wrap my head around what 400 lbs of garbage looks like, but I certainly don’t want my wedding to create that much waste.
Here are a few things we already have planned to cut down on waste, as well as a few additional things I’ll be looking more into:
Reuse décor. One of the major upsides of the venue we chose is that they have all the décor you could need in house. I’m talking every color / style of linen you could dream up, table markers for days, and all kinds of variations of tables and chairs. Not only does this save us major money (because they are reusing for multiple weddings their pass through cost to us is way lower!!) but also means that we do not need to go out and purchase any new goods. If your venue doesn’t do this, look into renting or buying previously used items. Wedding Recycle is a great resource for previously used wedding decor, but you could also check Offer Up, Craigslist, and Letgo for local goods.
E-vites. Although electronic invitations get a bad rap as being cheap; I personally DGAF. It’s A LOT of paper to print save the dates, invitations, RSVP cards, and envelopes for everything. And TBH I only ever put the save the date on my fridge and don’t really pay too much mind to the invite. SO, we will be printing and sending save the dates to all our guests, but are going electronic with the invites and RSVP. This makes the RSVPs soooo easy because it automatically will track who has responding and again SAVES MONEY. win win! We haven’t officially chosen which provider we will do for this but I am leaning towards Greenvelope as they plant a tree for each purchase.
Favors. I kinda feel like this may also be unpopular, but we aren’t going to be giving out favors at the wedding. I personally feel like many favors are a bit gimmicky. One favor I LOVE, but isn’t realistic for us as many guests will be flying to our wedding, are mini plants. My bestie had little succulents at her wedding and I thought this was the IDEAL favor. You do you here, but think about if your guests will realistically use the items again
Carbon Offsets. On the note of many of our guests flying to our wedding….I know this is definitely not the most eco friendly form of transportation. However, it felt important to Alex and I to have our wedding out here. California is where most of our relationship has taken place, and where I would say we really started a life together. It felt right to us to have our wedding here. Given that, I plan to budget in for offsetting our guests travel. Based on the number of guests we will be having and average distance of travel, this works out to about $500. You can calculate the carbon offsets for ANY of your trips at CoolEffect.org
Flowers. This one is a bit tricky because flowers are pretty central to every wedding’s décor. However there are a few things you can do to be more sustainable here. 1) Buy in season, local flowers. For example, if you’re having a fall wedding, peonies are probably not the best eco friendly options for you are they are a spring only flower. They will also be WAY more expensive if you do HAVE to have them because they will need to be flown in from halfway round the world. Choose flowers that are local and in season. 2) Fake flowers. I know I know, it seems like this would look way cheesy and terrible but there are some REALLY good fake flowers out there on the market now. 3) Repurpose flowers during and after. During your wedding, re-purpose flowers wherever you can. Bridesmaids bouquets can be part of the centerpieces. Flowers around the altar can decorate your sweetheart table. Again, not only does this save you money by cutting down the flowers you will need to purchase, but will mean you’re purchasing less aka smaller footprint. After your wedding, see if you can donate them to a local hospital or nursing home. This will brighten up the space for those who need and deserve it! I plan on doing #1 and #3 for our wedding.
A couple things I am thinking of but still in the process of figuring out (our wedding is still more than a year off so I’ve got time!!)
Food waste. Food waste is a PRIMARY contributor to greenhouse gas emissions aka climate change and is something I would like to minimize at our wedding. I plan on chatting with our vendor about plated vs buffet (typically less food waste from caterer’s for plated because they can be specific about how much they are making), donating leftovers, and composting scraps.
The Dress. There are some really goods sites for previously worn wedding dresses. While I LOVE this (because when are you really ever going to where your wedding dress again?!?) I kind of feel like wearing someone else’s dress is taking on their wedding juju / energy and IDK how I feel about that. TBD friends. TBD.
Overall, the main things I would say on trying to have a more sustainable wedding are:
- YOU DO YOU. There are a zillion traditions when it comes to weddings, but if it doesn’t fit you, don’t do it. If it’s not your jam and it’s not good for the planet, DEF don’t do it.
- TALK W YOUR VENDORS. In a nice and polite way that is. The good news is, going green is cool these days. People are generally open minded to it. Chat with your florist, caterer, venue, etc. about ways to cut down on waste. Come with an open mind and suggestions for options and see what they say! This can be a great marketing point for them as well if they chose to take on more sustainable actions for future events 😉
That’s all for now! Have suggestions on ways to go green for a wedding? Send em my way! I’ll keep you all updated as the planning progresses 🙂