One of the biggest (and most exciting) wedding trends we have been seeing as we move into this decade has been a focus on having a more eco-friendly wedding. It’s more than just offering plantable save the dates (although those are totally cool), there is a myriad of ways to be more conscientious about your carbon footprint on your big day.
Travel tends to be the largest contributor to carbon emissions for most events, especially if you are hosting a lot of out of town guests. If you are torn between a couple of locations, consider hosting at the location that would require the least amount of guests possible to get on a plane. If you have your heart set on a destination wedding, try to keep the guest list small, so fewer people have to fly in.
Another eco-friendly option to consider when it comes to venue is to have an outdoor wedding. An outdoor wedding can eliminate the need for a lot of lights and heating and cooling. However, you will want to have a daytime wedding to take advantage of the sunlight! While you can’t control the weather, try to schedule your wedding during a warmer season, so you can avoid needing outdoor heaters, as well as having a few more hours of daylight.
Another great place you can take your wedding to the green side is through your catering company and menu. When selecting your catering team, make sure to ask where they source their produce. You want to make sure things are local! When putting together your menu keep in mind what produce will be in season in your area on your wedding day. Additionally, if you want to keep things really environmentally conscious, consider skipping meat (or at least beef) entirely. There are a plethora of delicious vegetarian options, so your guest won't miss the steak!
To reduce waste, make sure your catering company eliminates as many disposable products as possible. You can use cloth napkins, reusable plates, cups, and flatware. Don’t forget the bar! Make sure they have a good alternative to plastic straw and swizzle sticks (our favorite is bamboo!). For food waste, make sure to ask your catering team what they do with excess food. Most regions have homeless shelters or other services that would be happy to make sure no excess food goes to waste.
Another area that you can go green is with your flowers! The biggest things to consider are selecting flowers that will be in season and can be locally sourced. Not only will this be a bit more eco-friendly, but generally saves you a little money too! Sometimes local flower farms will offer wedding florist services, which can be a great way to make sure you are hitting both targets.
Another option to consider when selecting a florist is working with a florist who doesn’t use traditional floral foam (which is typically a petroleum-based & chemical-laced item). Many florists are moving away from this foam and either switching to more environmentally friendly options or creating foam-free arrangements.
Like with the food, the final thing to consider with your floral is what will happen to your arrangement after your wedding. There are lots of great options for donating your arrangements to a local nursing home or women’s shelters. Some areas have local nonprofits that will take care of transporting your flowers, but you may want to see if your florist would be willing to make the second delivery.
All too many wedding favors end up in the trash at the end of the night! While monogrammed can koozies are cute, more often than not they don’t make it home with guests. I recommend selecting favors that can be planted or eaten, so you aren’t adding more stuff to your guests' lives. Favors that can be planted include seeds, seeded paper, or even mini potted plants. There’s almost no limit to edible favors, just make sure the wrapping is eco-friendly (aka plastic-free!)
Another option (and my personal favorite) is in lieu of favors consider donating to a charity. There are lots of really interesting ways to set it up so it’s still interactive for guests. Consider purchasing carbon offset credits for your guests (especially those who had to travel).
*Check out this blog post for more unique favor ideas!*
I would also urge you to think beyond your wedding day and into the beginning of your new married life. Your registry is a great place to start growing your green options for your life. Consider adding reusable paper towels, glass containers, cloth napkins, and anything else on your reusable wish list. I know there is a trend to do away with the traditional registry in favor of putting together a cash fund, but I would encourage you to make at least a small registry (in addition to your cash fund) because some people will want to buy you tangible gifts and its better to get something you want.