Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! It's wonderful that you've made it to this blog because that means you are considering making your wedding an eco-friendly one. The below tips will help you plan an environmentally conscious wedding.
REDUCE STATIONARY NEEDS
One of the first things you can do to be more environmental with your wedding is to eliminate or reduce your stationary needs. There are some great options out there to send save-the-dates and/or invitations electronically. If you still want to mail something to your guests, consider mailing just the save-the-date or just the invitation. For information that guests might require leading up to your wedding and upon their arrival for traveling guests, direct them to your wedding website. This way your website can contain all the additional information you want to share with guests opposed to more paper inserts.
Using recycled paper products or other elements like wood, are great alternatives when mailing out stationary.
Stationary needs the day of your wedding can include programs, menus, and signs. All these items can be easily made on reusable materials like chalkboards, mirrors and acrylics. Renting these items and hiring a calligrapher will dramatically reduce waste.
Supporting local vendors is an easy and great way to be environmentally conscious. Hiring vendors like caterers and florists that prioritize using organic and local products reduces the carbon footprint of your wedding because the distances food and flowers travel is greatly reduced. Bonus, you're also supporting the local economy.
OPPORTUNITIES TO REUSE
It's no surprise that weddings produce a lot of waste. But there are several ways you can reduce that waste by recycling and reusing.
A big trend right now is repurposing family gowns and purchasing vintage wedding gowns. It's such a wonderful sentiment to wear your mother's or grandmother's wedding dress. And you don't have to wear it just like she did. Contact a local seamstress or designer to alter the dress so it not only fits you but is unique to your style and personality.
Wedding decor is another area that you can make decisions that are more sustainable. Consider renting decor items as well as tableware and glassware. The environmental impact is a lot less than purchasing disposable items. You can also look to local marketplaces for used wedding decor. Adding your own spin to these items will give them a new look and a new life away from landfills.
Faux flowers are no longer your grandma's silk arrangements. You can hardly see a difference between real and artificial these days. There are many businesses out there that offer faux flowers for your wedding that will then be returned to be repurposed into a new arrangement for another wedding. Can you tell that the bouquet in the below photo is made up of faux flowers? Some might be able to tell but that doesn't make it less pretty. This bouquet also lasted all day- no wilted flowers during sunset photos for this couple.
SET YOUR GUESTS UP FOR SUCCESS
Setting your guests up to be environmentally conscious the day they arrive your destination wedding will greatly reduce waste and potentially create new habits that can continue well past your wedding day. Providing guests with reusable water bottles and tote bags not only is a suggestion to be environmentally aware, but make great guest gifts. Instead of stuffing those tote bags with local maps, visitor guides and activity brochures, print a postcard sized note with a QR code that will direct them to all that information online. And because your inviting guests to a destination that they many not be informed on, consider providing them information on how they can take part in sustainable tourism. Being a Colorado based wedding planner I am always sharing information about the Leave No Trace initiative.
Using carbon offsetting to reduce the environmental impact of your wedding is a great option for couples that want to take their eco friendly wedding to the next level. There are several online calculators that can estimate your carbon footprint based on factors like the number of guests that are attending your wedding, travel distances, and food and beverage choices. Every wedding is unique but according to TerraPass, the average US wedding produces 62 tons of carbon dioxide. That's equivalent to CO2 emissions from 7.5 million smartphones charged. Yikes!
Make sure to include information about your carbon offsetting efforts in your wedding communication such as your wedding website. You can even add it to your gift registry.
No matter how many of these tips you implement for your wedding, remember that even small steps can make a big difference. Showing your commitment to sustainability and making an effort where you can is movement toward making the world a better place.