Weddings, on average, are hugely wasteful. There are so many parts of a wedding that produces trash or waste, and I would love to see a new trend in weddings and couples making conscious efforts to reduce their impact. A lot of people don’t realize that there are some really simple ways that they can have an environmentally friendly wedding. Here’s a list of 10 ways couples can reduce their impact.
1. Rent your wedding clothes or buy used/vintage
Fast fashion is one of the worst things for the environment because of the process of making and the way people dispose of clothing they no longer want. It’s safe to assume that some of the box stores that sell wedding attire is included in that. So if possible, rent suits or dresses (rent the runway) for bridesmaids, or try to buy used or vintage items.
Read more about fast fashion here.
2. Use flowers/leaves instead of confetti
Most confetti is left on the ground where it’s thrown. People rarely clean up after themselves, and even if you do, it’s plastic and goes straight to the landfill. Some biodegradable confetti/glitter can also be harmful to the environment because of the way it’s produced. The best way to have confetti is to go the completely natural route (leave the rice at home though). Use flowers or leaves, and take it a step further by buying your flowers from local sources and making your own leaf confetti.
Read more about eco friendly confetti tosses here.
3. Renting linens, tableware, and glasses instead of using disposable options.
By renting these items you’re cutting down on waste and every item you rent is reusable. This may be a more expensive option but by far worth it. If you don’t want to rent you can always BUY (could be way more expensive) and then re-sell or rent out to other weddings/events afterwards. If you want to buy, I suggest checking your local thrift/peddlers malls for your cheapest options or buying from someone who just had their wedding.
4. Forego Gifts and Have Your Guests Donate to a Charity
Weddings gifts are normally household items that couples already have. Instead of getting gifts that create waste (wrapping, boxes) that you may have to return later you can have your guests donate to your favorite charities instead. Make sure to put it on your invites or website with easy links to which you choose. Also have information ready for them so that they know their donation is tax deductible.
If guests insist on giving you a present or card, make sure to recycle the paper and wrapping accordingly.
You can check out different charities here.
5. Donate the Decor You Do Buy
Do you really need to have all of the wedding decor you used stuck in boxes in your attic? Or are you just going to throw it away anyways? If you aren’t going to use what you have make sure to donate it to a company (like Habitat for Humanity) or donate it to someone else who is having a wedding after your own. This saves on what ends up in landfills and helps you save space in your home.
6. Buy Your Flowers From Local Growers
A lot of imported flowers come from South America, which isn’t bad, but they do use pesticides that are dangerous to the environment and the workers on these farms. You would also be bringing those chemicals into your home when you purchase them and around your guests at a wedding. Not to mention the amount of CO2 it takes to transport them to you.
Buy buying local you cut down on CO2 emissions AND you get to help out a local farmer, which in turn helps the bees.
Read more about why you should buy local flowers here.
7. Donate Your Leftover Food to a Local Homeless Shelter
Not only should you pick a caterer that sources their food locally, but you should definitely consider donating your leftovers to your local homeless shelter or animal shelter. You don’t want the food to end up going to waste so it might as well go to people and animals that will be very appreciative of it.
Learn more about how to donate food.
8. Give Plants or Local Flower Seeds as Favors
Instead of giving your guests things they wont use or keep, consider giving them a small plant or Native Flower Seeds (save the bees and all). Obviously buying flowers from a local source is better than ordering them, but either way you’re giving people something that will create some O2 and be nice to look at.
Learn more about other eco friendly favors here.
9. Go Paperless
We all know that going paperless is better for the environment. It can also be more convenient for your guests. Consider setting up E-Vites. It’ll be easier for your guests to RSVP and you don’t have to worry about wasting money on stamps. Plus, there’s no guarantee that the beautiful paper invites you send out won’t end up in the landfill. By going paperless you’re helping the environment and you’re helping your wallet.
Learn more about E-Vites here.
10. Light Your Reception With Candle light
By using candles and simple string lighting, you’ll cut down on electricity. You’ll also create a VERY intimate mood for your guests that will be more rememberable than fluorescent lighting or the DJ’s spotlight. If you go this route please make sure to hire a photographer and videographer who are comfortable photographing in this type of lighting. You want to make sure that you’re photos convey the mood without ruining it.
Other ways you can help
- Dont give your bridal party disposable gifts, like “team bride” merchandise.
- Find a caterer who sources their food locally.
- Donate your flowers to another wedding the following day or the nursing home.
- Don’t buy from sites like amazon.