The peak summer wedding season is drawing to a close, which means many newly engaged couples are planning weddings for next year. Your wedding day will be a cherished and exciting event, and every couple wants it to be extra special. At the same time, couples are increasingly aware that weddings are also notoriously wasteful. So, when planning your big day, why not go green? To help you out, Root & Vine has put together this handy guide for planning the perfect eco-friendly wedding and reception.
The choices you make for your engagement ring and wedding bands will be with you forever—so why not choose eco-friendly and socially-responsible options that you can feel good about? A family heirloom or piece of estate jewelry is a great way to go, as is selecting vintage pieces. These older pieces are often exceptionally beautiful and may have added sentimental value. An equally sustainable choice is to use lab-grown gemstones which eliminate the need for mining. If you want to take creativity to the next level, you can also have the gold from old or broken pieces of jewelry melted down and made into a new ring or use a diamond from another piece of jewelry and have it set in a custom band. If you decide to purchase rings from a jeweler, look for socially-responsible gemstones that have been certified by the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme.
Many designers now offer gowns made from sustainable materials such as bamboo, silk, and organic cotton. In addition, some companies offer rental services for bridal gowns and bridesmaids’ dresses. Renting is a terrific option for those who want to wear designer labels but don’t want to spend a fortune or contribute to textile waste. And finally, secondhand gowns are always an eco-friendly option. Whether you purchase a dress from a consignment shop or borrow one from a friend or family member, wearing a pre-owned gown is a great way to make your wedding more eco-friendly.
With careful planning, you can have an eco-friendly wedding that is also a luxurious and fun event. One way to be eco-friendly is to reduce or eliminate the need for transportation by finding a venue to host the wedding and reception. Another way to be eco-friendly is to look for venues that emphasize sustainable and eco-friendly practices. Many outdoor venues such as botanical gardens, beach weddings, forest weddings, farms, vineyards, and national parks are eco-friendly and provide a beautiful natural setting. Outdoor venues use less energy and don’t require as much decorating.
For invitations, consider ordering them from vendors that use recycled paper or seed paper. Seed paper is made of recycled paper that is embedded with wildflower seeds. Once your guests have enjoyed their invitation, they can plant the paper and watch it grow! Another excellent alternative is to use electronic invitations which eliminate the need for paper, and also reduces waste.
Another way to minimize your wedding’s environmental impact is to rent rather than buy your decor and tableware. China, stemware, utensils, and linens available from companies that specialize in wedding rentals. In this way, you can avoid using disposable paper and plastic products, and you won’t have to worry about what to do with all your decorations after the big day.
Wedding Bouquets and Centerpieces
Sustainably sourced flowers can sometimes seem out of reach, either in terms of cost or availability. Luckily, there are some fantastic options. One is to use in-season, locally sourced flowers. This not only supports local growers but also reduces the carbon footprint of the wedding by eliminating the need to transport flowers long distances. Another option is to choose a sustainable florist who uses practices such as composting or sourcing from certified organic growers. And finally, potted plants make lovely sustainable centerpieces that can be enjoyed long after the big day is over.
Food and Beverages
As you plan your wedding reception, keep in mind that there are also sustainable options for food and drinks. Now more than ever, it’s possible to find caterers that source local, sustainable produce, meats, and seafood. Using one of these caterers, you can effectively minimize the reception’s carbon footprint and support the farmers using sustainable practices. Organic options are widely available for your wine selections and can be served in larger bottles to reduce waste. As for the meal, plated service is a more sustainable option than a buffet, but if you opt for a buffet, make arrangements to donate the leftovers to a local shelter or food bank.
Your guests will appreciate receiving eco-friendly favors that they can actually use, like beeswax candles, potted plants, and organic/fair-trade herbal tea bags. Or, if you’re looking to give something edible, choose snacks and treats that are organic or locally sourced.
The Exit Toss
After the “I dos” have been said and the newlyweds have made their recessional down the aisle as husband and wife, it’s time for the guests to celebrate! A popular eco-friendly way to do this is by showering the couple with dried lavender buds, rose petals, or micro-flowers. Dried flower buds and petals add a beautiful touch to the exit toss and they are biodegradable! If you have an autumn wedding, colorful fall leaves are a fun and festive way to celebrate your wedding and the beauty of the season. One couple even went viral on tiktok after making their bridal confetti from leaves found in their hometown.
An eco-friendly wedding is a great way to demonstrate your honor and respect for God and His beautiful creation. An added benefit is many of these eco-friendly wedding ideas can actually save some money too. With purposeful planning and some creativity, you can have a beautiful and sustainable wedding day that everyone will remember!