Planning a green wedding can be stressful, because it’s not always easy to balance our desire to host a beautiful celebration with the hope that it will have a small environmental footprint. But no matter your budget or aesthetic, there are many easy steps and ideas you can consider to make your wedding a more eco-friendly event without compromising style.
Including organic ingredients on your menu and decorating with locally-grown flowers might cost less than you might think; in-season, local finds can be more economical than flying in hothouse blooms or serving exotic ingredients, and you’ll be supporting growers and small businesses within your community.
As much as we love engraved and letterpress stationery, there’s no denying that digital invites from companies such as Paperless Post are now an increasingly stylish, and more economical and convenient option. Plus, guests can forgo old-fashioned reply cards and RSVP with their food requests and +1’s in seconds. (If your family insists on paper invites, for the sake of offline relatives, look for invites made with recycled paper, or that are compostable or biodegradable.)
From the wedding dress to crystal vases for your centrepieces, choosing vintage or second-hand pieces for your big day is not only environmentally-friendly, but also allows you to stretch your budget and create a more unique, memorable reception. It’s ok if everything doesn’t match perfectly, so long as it fits in with your theme and discerning aesthetic.
Interesting venues such as an art gallery or botanical garden will require less propping and decorations to personalize than a banquet hall or blank-canvas event space. Which means less for you to plan, and to source! Some venues might even have a “green” component, such as solar panels, green roofs, or LEED certification.
Pick biodegradable and recycled
Whenever disposable cutlery or napkins might be necessary—for example, if you’re serving late night snacks to your guests—go for compostable options made with recycled or sustainable materials. And throwing rice or flower petals instead of confetti makes for a greener clean-up. Apply the same principle to your wedding favours, and give your guests edible or practical items rather than mass-produced or gimmicky trinkets that will be promptly discarded.
Rent instead of buy
Renting decor such as your centrepieces or table cloths means that they’ll be reused instead of sent to the landfill, or your storage unit, once the party’s over. If you’re not sentimental about it, even designer wedding dresses and accessories can be rented these days—when will you really wear white heels again?
Hosting your reception on a scenic farm or estate in the countryside can be beautiful, but all of the cars driving to and from each location contributes to the carbon footprint. Why not charter a fuel-efficient bus to ferry guests from the city? Bonus: no designated drivers required! For a destination wedding, consider making a donation to carbon offset any flights your guests will have to take.
Whether you’re registering for a designer tableware or household essentials, look for environmentally-friendly choices wherever possible; these days, many won’t cost much more than conventional products from high end labels. Think organic linens, sustainably-harvested wood furnishings, or even a programmable thermostat for your home.