The DOs and DON’Ts for an Eco-Friendly Wedding

Green weddings have been trending for years now, both in the sense of floral greenery and what’s healthy for the planet. If you want a truly eco-friendly wedding there are lots of dos and don’ts when it comes to sustainability. Here are five things to focus on and five to avoid.

grooms look at rings

Do: sustainable wedding rings

Right from the start, if you’re environmentally conscious, the best thing to do is tell your partner you want to avoid diamonds or anything that was un sustainability mined. There are great options with lab-made diamonds or more conflict-free stones. The best thing to do is use a family heirloom if possible.

Don’t: send invitations on non-recyclable paper

After popping the question and planning the eco-friendly wedding of your dreams, the first thing your guests will see are the invites. Don’t be wasteful and choose a heavy and non-recyclable card stock. If you choose paper invites, opt for partially recycled stationery, or better yet, send online invites! More and more couples are going digital and saving on paper and postage.

Do: find a vendor that uses local or vegetarian options

One of the biggest areas of waste for weddings relates to food. A few things you can do is make sure your menu is as waste free as possible. That means choosing locally sourced foods that cut down on transport emissions and on vegetarian or vegan options which cut out excessive livestock CO2 waste.

Don’t: let vendors throw away excess food

Even if you do your best to make sure the menu is as green as possible, weddings are notorious for throwing away leftover food. Speak to your vendor in advance, bring in lots of Tupperware, and ask for all leftovers to go to you. Then you can freeze them, share them, or donate them, as you please!

Do: use natural settings or reuse decor

An outdoor setting and a stunning sunset go a long way when it comes to wedding photos. Don’t waste resources on disposable wedding decor, all those signs and banners and balloons end up in the trash, so choose more durable or meaningful decoration. My partner and I chose memorabilia from our travels as decor and stacked books from our home library. At the end of the ceremony, everything went back on the shelf and nothing went to waste. Another great idea is to buy or rent decor from previous weddings.

Don’t: go overboard with registry gifts

Most couples get married after living together, so the need for a registry including bedsheets, luggage and cookware is a bit outdated. If you skip the registry altogether or limit it to a honeymoon collection or something more cash-focused, guests save on wrapping and shipping and you won’t receive anything that might collect dust in your closet.

Do: let friends and family take home some flowers

Other than leftover food, you’ll also be left with a lot of flowers. Make sure to spread the love and gift your flowers to members of the wedding party or choose a winner from each table to take home the centerpieces. Enjoy the flowers in your home until it’s time to take them out to the compost, or press and preserve them as a wedding souvenir.

grooms holding hands and flowers

Don’t: choose cut flowers from outside your region

If you really want red roses, they come at a price, and we aren’t talking about your budget. Many roses are grown and shipped in South America, so it’s not only costly but harmful to the environment to source flowers from another continent. Ask your florist about locally sourced flowers and greenery and choose more wildflowers or even potted plants.

Do: offer consumable thank you gifts

It’s always nice to give your guests a parting gift, but given the excess of wrapping (not to mention the inevitable waste of buying a generic gift for all your guests), choose something simple and consumable. A friend of mine offered homemade spaghetti sauce in mason jars. We offered handmade wine. Another trend is to give guests a paper bag and let them load up on sweets to take home. Either way, make sure nothing ends up in the trash.

Don’t: forget about your wedding attire

Last but not least, once the wedding is over, don’t let your wedding attire get musty in your closet. Rentals are great ways to reduce the number of suits and gowns bought and worn for one day only, but if you did purchase something, consider renting it out, selling it or donating it so it can have a second, third or even fourth life.

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