The average wedding produces up to 600 pounds of waste - just for one day! Favors, programs, uneaten food - even flowers create waste. These seven easy tips can help you greatly reduce what goes in the trash can, so your wedding day will celebrate your love for each other, and for the Earth.
NIX THE PAPER
Thinking about whether you need each piece of paper is an easy way to reduce your wedding day footprint. Consider the amount of paper that is used. From invitations and save the dates to RSVP cards, programs, thank you notes and envelopes - even wrapping paper or paper cups and plates from your shower and bachelorette party - all create a lot of bulk that just goes into the can.
Where possible, swap out paper products for electronic versions. Online shower and bachelorette party invitations are a great start. If you're not sold on emailed invitations for the wedding itself, consider online RSVPs. When you do need physical paper pieces, look for recycled paper. There are even companies that provide beautiful paper made with flower seeds inside, so guests can 'plant' their invitations after they are done. For disposable plates and utensils, look for biodegradable products, or those made from sustainable materials like bamboo. They often look better than the normal paper ones, and they're much better than filling up the landfill.
FORGET THE FAVORS
Do you know how many guests forget to bring home those wedding favors you so painstakingly chose? A lot. You'll end up with a lot of leftovers. Skip the favors altogether - we promise your guests won't even notice the absence of Jordan almonds or dinner mints.
If you're set of giving your guests a token for their attendance, try sustainable gifts like bird seed feeders, seed packets, locally made jam or honey, potted plants or succulents, or dried cooking spices.
RENT THE AISLE-WAY
You may be renting things like linens and decor. But now, with a variety of dress rental options from companies like Rent the Runway, Vow to Be Chic, and Union Station, you can rent designer dresses. Not only does this save the earth from being covered in one-time-use bridesmaid dresses, but brides can use them to find the perfect little-white-dresses for every wedding-related occasion. You can even rent a wedding gown! As a side benefit, it can save you and your bridesmaids hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Research the flowers that will be in season during your wedding. Local, seasonal flowers won't have to be grown in energy-sucking greenhouses, or have to travel long distances in refrigerated trucks. They'll be fresh and festive, and will give your wedding day the perfect seasonal style. You can reduce your floral waste by donating your bouquets to hospitals, nursing homes and local shelters, so others can enjoy them after your wedding. You can arrange this through one of several companies, or work directly with your local organizations.
Alternatives to fresh flowers, such as high-quality silk flowers, are a beautiful option. They look real, but will last forever. You can keep them as a memento or pass them on to another eco-savvy bride.
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE (AND COMPOST)
Ask your venue about recycling and composting policies. If it's not your venue's usual policy to recycle or compost, you can still arrange these services with outside vendors for your wedding day. Consider recycling and/or composting at all your wedding-related events, like your shower, bachelorette party, engagement party and rehearsal dinner.
As we know very well, mined diamonds and gold have a huge impact on the environment. When choosing your wedding bands and wedding day jewelry, look for pieces with recycled gold, choose a family heirloom (which doubles as your 'something old' and 'something borrowed'), design your perfect pieces here at Forever Artisans, or choose from a wide selection of diamond simulant pieces from our sister company, Diamond Nexus.
What will you do to make your wedding day more environmentally friendly?