Your wedding day involves a lot of planning, supplies, and materials from start to finish. These kinds of events usually produce a level of waste that you’re not used to seeing on a daily basis. One of the biggest ways you can help minimize waste is by striving to be eco-friendly and lessen waste especially after a big event such as a wedding. Now, we’re not asking you to be completely plastic-free at your wedding but we have compiled several ways that you can be more eco-friendly and sustainable when you plan your wedding.
Working with your entire vendor team to create a wedding that is low-waste should help with this. Be clear with your expectations so that your wedding planner and your vendors can offer you options that will help with waste reduction such as options for florists, invitations, giveaways, and wedding event items that can be recycled.
Your Venue Matters
Selecting your venue is very important if you want your wedding to be eco-friendly and low-waste. Avoid destination weddings unless it’s an intimate wedding with a select number of people. Flying dozens of people to another country actually contributes to C02 emissions and carbon footprint. If you have quite a few guests, go for a local venue, or keep your guests to a minimum if you really want to go for a destination wedding.
Find out if your wedding and reception venue has recycled and composting options. If they do not, find out which companies you can work with so that they can provide proper disposal and take care of handling the recycling and composting for you after the event. Finally, go for venues that either have natural decor such as gardens, barns, or vineyards, or event venues with reusable decor so that you can minimize having to bring in additional materials that would later be taken down and thrown away.
Work with your Florist
While flowers themselves are all-natural, most of the materials that go into handling them are thrown away after the wedding alongside the floral arrangements and bouquets, and in the end, they still add to waste. A lot of these arrangements are made a day or two prior to your event, so by the time your wedding rolls around, they will only be able to last for the day after being exposed to heat or different elements during the entire wedding day.
Work with your florist, and as much as possible, use local and seasonal blooms. Not only would you be supporting the local market, but you will also reduce emissions by having blooms shipped from overseas. Check out what options you have for robust arrangements with longer-lasting floral elements and use these as favors for your guest. Live potted plants make wonderful centerpieces, and double as giveaways for your guest. And if you can, go foam-free for your floral installations. It’s very helpful in reducing waste, and biodegradable options are an available choice anyway.
Focus on Reusable Elements
Compostable or reusable goods should be at the top of our list. Look for products that are made with compostable or reusable materials. And if you do need to throw them away, make sure that there is a bin provided for these types of wastes. Get vendors that use materials that are reusable such as flatware, glassware, table linens, napkins, and dish sets. There is no need to purchase your own materials as there are vendors who provide these. Make one of these reusable elements double into a wedding favor as well such as champagne or shot glasses, coasters that they can take home as a memento for the evening.
Go Online with Your Invites
We’ve said this before, and we will say it again: thank goodness for the internet! Nowadays, it’s easier to keep in touch with family and friends through different social media platforms. That is why online RSVPs and invitations play a great role in reducing waste. Not only are you saving paper, especially with your RSVPs, but this is also one of the fastest and easiest ways to get a response from your guests, as well as answer any questions they might have.
If you can, go online with your event by creating an invitational website containing all the information your guests would need. Imagine, no limits to space, and your guests can find everything from your online wedding website at any point in time. Save the paper invitations for traditional guests such as members of the family, your grandmas, and grandpas, aunts, and uncles who are not well-versed in using the internet, and let everyone else’s fingers do the walking.
Save More Trees -- Save On Paper
Whenever you can, skip on paper waste. Understandably, the paper is biodegradable, but if you are going for a low-waste wedding, skip printing out individual menus or handheld paper fans. You can use one whole board or standee to display the menu for the night to save on paper. Instead of individual place cards or escort cards, use another board or standee for your wedding seating arrangements. There are several low-waste seating charts that are multi-purpose as well. Check our list of different wedding seating charts that can help you reduce waste on your wedding day.
Support Sustainable Brands
Finding the perfect wedding dress is one of the highlights of wedding planning. If there is probably something you want to get right, it’s your wedding dress. That doesn’t mean that you should go all out and splurge on a dress you’ll be wearing for the night. You just need the right dress that will not only make you look stunning on your special day but help you achieve your advocacy for your wedding.
There are several sustainable wedding dress brands that put their efforts into creating beautiful gowns without harming the environment as well as stores that produce ethically-made wedding rings. Renting your gown or your partner’s tux would also benefit you a lot not only in terms of price and storage space, but because you can reuse these items, you can also request eco-friendly reusable bags to have your outfits shipped with.
Go for Consumable Wedding Favors
If there are one thing wedding planners, brides and grooms want to ensure, it’s that their guests get some type of parting gift or wedding favor to remember the night by. Sometimes, not a lot of thought goes into whether or not these wedding favors will actually be kept by the guests, and the sad truth is, most of the time if it’s not anything really special, you might actually find it in the trash, or falling off the wedding favor table.
Go for edible wedding favors such as locally made pies, cakes, and different treats. If you are using local vendors and products, you’ll find several hundred options as consumable wedding favors in reusable containers.
Are you planning a low-waste wedding? Incorporate one (or more!) of these days for a sustainable wedding day.
Kara has been with Wedding Favors Unlimited for 2 years. She’s been giving wedding and style advice for the past 5 years from bridal magazines to bridal boutiques. Feel free to ask Kara a question below!