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Best 15 Tips for a More Sustainable Wedding

by Leslie Youngblood

Your wedding is a wonderful way to incorporate thoughtful choices and more earth-friendly details. There are a variety of simple ideas and tips that are good for the planet and that will also make your special day feel more like you, too. We pulled the best 15 that we’ve seen here.

Of course, planning a wedding can also be overwhelming. Keep in mind that you do not have to do every single thing suggested. Any or a few will have a fantastic ripple effect and contribute to a happier Mother Earth for the long haul.

1. Send Digital Save the Dates and Invitations

Invitations, envelopes, inserts, stamps.  Cuts down on your carbon footprint and save money too by going with digital Save-the-Dates and invitations. Of course if you still desire to do printed versions, go with recycled paper.

2. Cut Down on All Printed Items (digital RSVP, no seating assignment cards)

Think about the other pieces you would normally print and consider how to cut back on those too. Request that guests RSVP digitally via your wedding website.

Forgo individual seating cards and use one diagram or print out of reception seating assignments (and if you’re tech savvy, modern, try a QR Code).

Or why not forgo seating assignments altogether and allow guests to sit at whichever table they choose?

3. Choose a Sustainable Venue

Look for venues with LEED Certifications and Energy Star ratings. Outdoor locations including barns and gardens are also more eco-friendly.

4. Choose a Venue that will Double as Ceremony and Reception

Hopefully that outdoor space can also accommodate for your vows and your party. That way, guests won’t have to drive between venues which saves fuel and energy.

5. Choose a Green-er Send Off Material (leaves instead of confetti, rose petals, dried flowers, feathers

Instead of rice or confetti, we’re completely enamored with the idea of guests tossing rose petals, dried flowers, or feathers. So much more environmentally friendly and endlessly more original and romantic.

6. Upcycle a vintage dress

Sure, on first glance a throwback frock might not be your style. But with a little vision and talented seamstress or tailor, you’ll have an affordable, one-of-a-kind, and sustainable wedding dress that’ll really wow your beloved and family and friends.

7. Support an ethical or sustainable designer for your dress and/or bridesmaids dresses

If you aren’t really a vintage guy or gal, but still want to be greener with your ensemble, simply seek out and shop pieces from ethical and sustainable designers and clothing lines. We love Mara Hoffman, Wear Your Love, and Leanne Marshall. They’re a little pricey, but it is your big day!

8. Rent your decor

You can for sure rent real dishware and utensils, linens, chairs and other fun pieces to bring your dream vision to life. Google really is your best friend here, and many places can create more inexpensive package deals.

9. Buy used decor

Facebook Marketplace, Etsy, Ebay… These are goldmines for fantastic decor at a fraction of the new price. And you’re being more sustainable too.

10. Go with edible favors (Bonus if it’s from a local vendor!)

Favors are tricky. You want something people will remember and that they’ll actually use and that also feel like you. That’s why we say go with something they can eat. Unlike trinkets food is something that people will crave—especially after a few spins around your dance floor.

11. Choose a plated meal

Plated meals may be more expensive, but they also do not waste as much food, since amounts are cooked to serve the specific number of guests.

12. Make your buffets better

If you go with a buffet, save the leftovers and/or set up a plan to send leftovers home with guests, family, or the wedding party. Buffets are notorious for extra food that gets thrown away.

12. Make your buffets better

If you go with a buffet, save the leftovers and/or set up a plan to send leftovers home with guests, family, or the wedding party. Buffets are notorious for extra food that gets thrown away.

13. Donate your flowers to a charitable cause

Reach out to local charities and mission-driven companies that repurposes wedding and event flowers and arrangements. They might even come and pick up your arrangements at the end of your event.

14. Forgo single use straws

Go for eco-friendly straw types including bamboo straws, wheat straws, paper straws, or even reusable straws that can double as bonus favors.

15. Go greener with gifts

We’re sure you’ve already registered for eco-friendly items, but don’t forget to go greener with parent and wedding party gifts too. Hand poured candles, personalized reusable water bottles, and elegant plants are special and also have a lower environmental impact.

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