Are you excited about your wedding day but worried about your carbon footprint? After all, planning the biggest party that you’ll ever throw for a handful to up to hundreds of your closest friends and family members is a lot to take on. Nevermind if you want to do so with sustainability in mind.
But don’t fear, there are things that you can do to ensure that you minimize your environmental impact without minimizing the fun. Try implementing these seven tips for the sustainable wedding of your dreams.
Responsible Ring Shopping
It’s no secret, the diamond mining industry is bad for the earth and bad for people who work in it. From habitat destruction to poor working conditions, many couples are straying away from traditional stones in favor of eco-friendly alternatives. If proposing with a conflict-free stone is important to you you’ll want to purchase a diamond alternative such as moissanite, a lab grown diamond, or a diamond simulant.
Another option is to propose with an antique engagement ring or an heirloom piece. Antique rings are always in style thanks to their timeless design elements and heirloom jewelry often holds great sentimental value making both a fabulous and eco-friendly choice.
Choose Your Venue With Care
Don’t be afraid to ask questions while scouting out potential venues. Ask about their policies on recycling. What’s their strategy for food waste disposal? Do they have a strong take on plastic usage? And if you really want to get down to business, find out if they’re involved in any charity or green initiatives.
In addition, don’t forget to consider your wedding location. Are you inviting a lot of guests from out of town? Do you want a destination wedding? Considering methods of transportation is essential when planning a green wedding since airplane and car emissions are big contributors to environmental damage. If this is something that concerns you take a look at your guest list and try to find a venue that will require to least amount of travel.
Many sustainability-minded couples opt to move all of their communication online. That means wedding invites and programs that are accessible by email or a custom website dedicated to the big day. However, you don’t need to ditch paper invites completely to be environmentally conscious. Instead, look for invitations that are printed on recycled paper or alternative materials such as upcycled fabrics, leather, and wood. Some companies like Paper Culture even go as far as to plant a tree for every order that they receive.
Create a Sustainability-Minded Registry
A wedding registry is a great opportunity to ask for eco-friendly products and home goods to help start your life together. Add items that will support your mission such as stainless steel straws, reusable produce bags, and metal tea bags. And don’t forget to ask for goodies from stores that advocate for environmental initiatives like B-Corp, 1% For the Planet, and REI.
The Big Day
Rent What You Can
Single-use items are terrible for the environment. Thankfully, there are several companies that are geared toward renting wedding decor and equipment. From dinner settings - think table linens, napkins, runners, drinkware, and fine china - to furniture, there are so many things that can be rented.
Bonus: Not only does renting reduce your overall waste, it also makes it easy to create a cohesive look throughout your reception.
If you don’t want to rent, try swapping out all disposable dishes and utensils for biodegradable alternatives. Plates, napkins, cutlery, and even straws are available in earth-friendly materials that will be perfect for your big day.
Arguably one of the best parts of any wedding, there are a few areas of focus when it comes to choosing a sustainable dinner menu.
The first thing to consider is who you want to cater your event. Is the venue providing the meal? Or will you be working with an outside team? Whatever the case, make it a goal to find a catering company that uses local, organic, and ethically sourced ingredients whenever possible. Additionally, consider a vegan or vegetarian meal. You don’t have to go all out, but aiming for a menu that’s 50% vegetarian can largely reduce environmental impact. And don’t forget about the booze! Serving alcohol from local wineries, breweries, and distilleries will give you and your guests a buzz that you can feel good about.
Embrace Sustainable Travel
Don’t let the eco-wedding ideas stop after the reception night. Extend your environmentally friendly efforts with a honeymoon focused on sustainability.
Don’t worry, we’re not saying that you need to ditch all of the fun luxuries that come with a newlywed getaway. Instead, try to make responsible choices while in-destination by supporting locally-owned hotels, shops, and attractions. You can even work with a travel agent that specializes in planning eco-focused holidays if you need a little help.