How to have your dream wedding without destroying the planet.
Congratulations on your engagement! We know wedding planning can be stressful (especially without a hired event planner), and now we have another level of stress to add for you: sustainability. It is estimated that most weddings produce about 400 lbs of garbage, and lots of extra CO2. So, how can we still celebrate the “best day ever” without causing mother nature to roll in her grave? We have you covered on some sustainable switches you can make so even your cousins from California will be proud.
Invitations. They set the tone for the whole celebration. They can be as simple as a postcard to as lavish as gold acrylic mirror invitations, $2200. Let us be honest with ourselves, everyone instantly throws them into the trash except your grandma and that one sentimental friend. You can opt for sustainable wedding invitations, or simplify your invites to just one piece of recyclable paper, or paperless wedding invites and RSVPs (a lot easier to organize than sifting through 200 RSVPs).
The Menu. At weddings, there is often extra food. Especially with buffets. Check with your caterer to see if they can donate any extra food to your local shelter or other charity, and if they compost or recycle. If it fits your budget, you could switch to a plated menu. There is much less chance for waste with plated meals than a buffet. Also, choose an in-season menu, with food sourced locally. In addition to supporting local farmers, there will be less emissions from transportation. Even the bar can be stocked with local breweries, vineyards, and distilleries (and no plastic straws of course)! The easiest thing to do is ask your vendors for help making your wedding sustainable.
Confetti. We love the pictures of couples coming back down the aisle being sprinkled with beautiful confetti thrown by their guests. However, please choose plant-based options rather than paper or plastics.
Wedding party favors. These are over. I am not bringing down judgment on weddings of the past, we are talking about the future. Do not try to force wedding party favors on your guests. Unless they are leftover decor, which brings us to our next section.
Decor. Rent. Rent. Rent. You do not need to purchase every piece of decor, only to have it rotting in your mothers basement post-wedding through the end of time. Many rental companies have everything you could ever need. From table numbers to vases, candlesticks, lace tablecloths, and more. Often, if they do not have it, they will get it for you so they can offer it for events in the future.
Flowers are a huge part of any event’s decor. Many florists are harvesting their flowers in environmentally friendly ways-ask them about it! Or reduce the number of cut flowers needed with some potted plants. Give the flowers away to guests at the end of your wedding. Your other option is to put them in your house so that they can die while you are on your honeymoon.
Skip the balloons. They look incredible, but end up in the landfill (or ocean). Here is a way too detailed history and environmental impact of balloons and how they kill birds. We are sorry to burst your balloon bubble-pun intended.
Venue and time of day. The least environmentally-impactful wedding will always be outside in the sunshine of the day. You will reduce the amount of power needed for air conditioning and lighting, and you will have a beautiful backdrop for pictures. However, this isn’t always possible! Ask your potential venues about the ways they are going green, and if you are a venue, here is a link to make existing businesses more environmentally friendly.
There is much more to take into consideration... such as transportation for guests, the honeymoon, maybe don’t use blood diamonds but instead use grandma’s from her first marriage, etc. The main thing is, don’t accumulate unnecessary decor and trinkets from your wedding, don’t end up with 400 lbs of garbage, and don’t release one and a half million balloons to break some world record.
DISCLAIMER: Every day we learn more things, and we all do the best we can at the time. Please, do not fret if your wedding is ten years past and you gave out 200 plastic mini bobble heads of you and your partner, released balloons, and sent out gold invitations.