“One of the most effective ways to reduce the impact has now become the norm — having a smaller wedding.”
In the Intentional Planning section of The Engagement Journal, we encourage couples to really assess their top priorities for their wedding — both for them as a couple and for their guests’ experience.
As couples craft their must-have wedding elements, many are choosing to evaluate the impact their wedding will have on the environment. Luckily, there are many ways to incorporate eco-friendly practices into a wedding celebration.
Unintentionally, one of the most effective ways to reduce the impact has now become the norm — having a smaller wedding. Having a small guest list correlates with less environmental impact. Less travel. Less food. Less waste. Less paper... you get the idea. If you’re grappling with cutting your guest list, there is at least a silver lining in that fact.
As you tackle planning an eco-friendly wedding, request that your vendors use digital contracts and don’t be shy about asking what kind of environmentally-friendly practices they utilize in their business. After all, one of the easiest ways to have an eco-friendly wedding is to financially support the vendors who are already engaging in these practices.
- Use a rental company for decor pieces. Renting and reusing items is inherently a “green” practice.
- If you opt to purchase your decor items, sell them online using Facebook Marketplace, or reach out to a wedding rental company to see if they would buy them from you when you are finished with them.
- Research “resale” or “recycled” wedding shows to sell your gently used decor items.
- Look for venues that need little “decor” embellishing. Many venues are simply beautiful without having to buy a single strand of string lights.
- When interviewing catering companies, ask how far their food travels from their suppliers. Food that travels 100 miles or less is the goal for a more sustainable choice.
- Try to source your alcohol from local businesses, including wineries, breweries, and distilleries near your wedding venue.
- Opt for plated dinners — buffets lead to extra food being provided and in turn, additional food waste.
- Consider providing recyclable take-out containers to box up remaining food (if not for your guests, then for yourselves and the clean-up crew).
- Refrain from using single-use straws for cocktails.
- Provide recycling bins beside trash cans, especially if you are serving canned and bottled beer.
- Choose a florist who sources their flowers from farms that use organic farming practices.
- Choose flowers that are in-season for your wedding date.
- If you have a green thumb and a home garden, considering planting your own flowers and picking them for your wedding day.
- Research flower growers near your city or town and buy direct from them.
- Ask your stationer to print your invitations on 100% recycled paper, cotton paper, or plantable seed paper.
- Ask your guests to recycle the invitation by printing a “Please Recycle” note on the back, like you’ve seen on paper bags, takeout bags, and cardboard.
- Opt for digital save-the-dates.
- Select a room block at hotels that have a corporate sustainability program.
- Ensure your hotel has a shuttle service to reduce the number of cars. traveling to and from the venue (if applicable).
- Carpool with family and friends.
- Utilize ride-sharing services.
What ways have you utilized environmentally-friendly practices in your wedding planning and wedding celebration? Was this a priority for your and your partner? Let us know in the comments section and we may add them to our ongoing list!