Weddings have a bad reputation for being wasteful – after all, one wedding on average is responsible for over 400 pounds of waste, according to Zola! Annually, more than 63 tons of CO2 is released into the air from U.S. weddings.
The decorations, food, and fashion featured in weddings are commonly single-use, meaning they are used once and then thrown away after the celebration ends.
The good news? More and more couples are becoming eco-conscious and opting to consider sustainability when making decisions around their wedding day.
Going green pays in more ways than one: in addition to being better for the environment, it’s also better for your wallet. Many sustainable wedding practices, such as using seasonal ingredients and local vendors, are cheaper than their wasteful alternatives.
Discover how you host a responsible wedding day that helps the planet and your wallet with these tips below!
Select a like-minded wedding venue
The easiest way to host a sustainable celebration is to pick like-minded partners to make your day come together. Your wedding venue is a major vendor that plays a massive role in setup, breakdown, and waste removal.
If you choose a vendor that already has eco-friendly practices built into their event strategy, it will take less of the burden off of you. For example, a venue that already uses energy alternatives and sustainable waste removal procedures means you won’t have to reinvent the wheel in order to be eco-conscious.
When touring wedding venues, ask about their Energy Star ratings, LEED certifications, and waste removal practices.
You can still have a traditional mail invite, but research other ways to go paperless during the wedding planning process to reduce your paper waste. Sending out digital ‘save the dates’ is a great way to reduce costs and paper usage. You can also design a wedding website to communicate details online, that way you don’t have to mail extra papers about booking hotels and travel.
Lastly, ask your vendors to send you digital information packets rather than printed booklets. This will help you keep all your information in one place as you can easily access it online. We recommend setting up a wedding-specific email address to keep everything streamlined.
Host your ceremony and reception outdoors
While sometimes weather gets in the way, hosting both your ceremony and reception outdoors is one great way to reduce energy usage. Take the dancing outdoors and use candlelights to light up your event. If you host your ceremony and reception at the same site, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating the need for cars to travel to multiple sites.
Remember that venue sites such as farms, campgrounds, and gardens make great eco-friendly wedding sites.
Feature seasonal flowers
Before you choose your wedding bouquet, research popular seasonal blooms that will be in season during your celebration. Using seasonal flowers reduces costs and carbon emissions because florists can purchase the bulbs from local vendors rather than having to ship them in. You’ll also help support your local nurseries and gardens. No matter what season your wedding is in, there are popular and gorgeous seasonal blooms for you to choose from.
Book transportation for your guests
Create a great guest experience and cut carbon emissions at the same time by booking a shuttle to and from your venue. This eliminates the need for multiple cars, reduces drunk driving risks, and makes it easier for your guests to get to your event. You can get creative with the type of transportation you book; popular event transportation includes buses, trolleys, and limos.
Embrace romantic candlelight
Cut the lights to turn up the romance and reduce your energy usage. Candlelight creates a dreamy aesthetic, perfect for a romantic wedding vibe. Pick a scent that both you and your partner love. Candles will also help keep bugs away if you do take the party outdoors and your photographer will be able to get great photos using this lighting technique as well.
Rent or buy vintage fashion and decor
You don’t need everything to be brand new on your wedding day. There are tons of rental companies that offer decorations, furniture, and fashion for you to choose from. Vintage veils and antique jewelry are great ways to feature used fashion, and you can always opt to rent your tux rather than buy new.
Help reduce wedding waste with even more eco-friendly ideas from Zola’s visual below!
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