How to Have an Eco-Friendly Wedding

Your wedding day is meant to be all about you and celebrating the love between you and your spouse. So make sure it represents your lifestyle and what is important to you! Going “green” or choosing sustainable or recyclable products is something that is important to you, bring it into your big day! You can absolutely have an eco-friendly wedding and in some ways it may be more economical as well.


The average wedding creates 400 pounds of waste and 63 tons of CO2 according to zerowaste.com. That is a lot of garbage for a single day! While it may seem daunting to plan a wedding that celebrates your love and your love of the environment, it may not be as difficult as you think. With just a few of these suggestions you can feel good about helping the Earth while tying the knot.


Bailey Shepherd and Jack Tallman used green plants and herbs for their wedding June 18, 2022.
Bailey Shepherd and Jack Tallman used green plants and herbs for their wedding June 18, 2022.

Put the (Right) Ring on it


You can say yes to being eco-friendly from the moment you are popped the question! Buy vintage or estate jewelry as an engagement ring. These beautiful pieces have little to no environmental impact. It may not be as difficult as you think to find the right ring and it also may have a lovely story to go with it. See if there is family heirloom that you can have or shop some local estate sales until the right piece catches your eye. You can easily find your wedding band this way as well.


If you do want to buy a new ring, shop for sustainable diamonds. Know the origin of the diamond you are buying. “Blood diamonds” or smuggled diamonds used to fund a civil war, are probably not the way you want to start your new lives together. Ask your jewler about where they get their diamonds or use a diamond tracker website.


Save a Tree (or 50)


Weddings use plenty of paper. From save the dates, to shower invitations and wedding invitations to the program and thank you (don’t forget to send the thank yous!), the piles of paper used for your wedding day can be mind boggling! Going green for all your paper is a great way to help the planet.


Many stationary and wedding vendors who sell invitations have a wide selection of eco-friendly options. Seed paper is the most environmentally conscious option. The paper is made from post-consumer material and embedded with seeds. The invitation, menus, programs, etc. can be planted in the ground after use and the paper will decompose and the seeds will grow! This type of paper can also be a great reminder to your of your nuptials for many months to come!


Another eco-friendly option for invitations is an online invitation. This requires no paper or waste at all!


Choose the Right Decor


The wedding decor can set a tone or theme for your wedding. Being eco-friendly does not have to be your theme, however. You can choose sustainable products and decor to fit just about any theme.


Choose to rent pieces rather than purchase them for your wedding. This ensures they will have more than one use. Rent your dishes, flatware and glasses rather than purchasing disposable ones. This goes for tablecloths and napkins as well. Avoid plastic straws in glasses. If you must have straws, choose paper or reusable stainless steel.


For centerpieces, choose potted flowers, plants or even herbs instead of cut flowers. Bouquets can be trickier, but it is possible for them to be eco-friendly. Choose seasonal flowers grown locally which will not require them to be transported long-distances (tropical flowers, for instance would have to be flown in for a midwest wedding). You can also ask if your florist will compost your greens after the wedding.


Whatever decor you do purchase, reuse or donate after your wedding. Also look to borrow items from friends and family as well. This will not only help the environment, it will save you money as well!


Bailey Shepherd and Jack Tallman used green plants and herbs for their wedding June 18, 2022.
Bailey Shepherd and Jack Tallman used green plants and herbs for their wedding June 18, 2022.


Take Advantage of Mother Nature


A great sustainable way to get married, is to take the ceremony and reception outside! If you are getting married in a temperate climate or during the summer months, take advantage of Mother Nature and use the great outdoors as your backdrop. Not only can you utilize the scenery as your decor, but you will also save pollution from air conditioning used to cool a hall and/or church. Not to mention saving electricity from lighting.


No matter where you get married outside - be it in a botanical garden, by a lake or in a park, the flowers, water and/or trees provide a beautiful backdrop and no need for extra floral arrangements or decor. You can also choose to have your wedding inside and your reception outside or vice versa.


Make the Cuisine Sustainable


This part of your wedding celebration can be one of the more difficult to do - in terms of eco-friendliness. But it is not impossible! With a little planning and patience, anything is possible! Talk with your wedding planner about good caterer options.


A good way to “go green” when it comes to your menu is to shop local! Use caterers that use local and sustainable farms and products to create their meals. Also, think seasonal. Opt for meals that can be made from produce that is currently being harvested such as asparagus in April or strawberries in June. This may end up being more cost effective for your budget as well, as the carter does not have to seek out specialty ingredients.


Along with using sustainable caterers and insead produce, think portion size as well. The idea of a buffet may seem cost effective, but can actually be quite wasteful. The leftover food is often thrown out at the end of the reception - which is a terrible waste of money for you and is also bad for the environment.


Plated dinners allow for the proper amount of food to be cooked for your guests, eliminating waste. Get as accurate a list of your guests as possible, so your caterer knows exactly how much food to prepare.



Do a Little, Do a Lot


When it comes to having a green or eco-friendly wedding, do as much as you are able. Even incorporating one or two sustainable aspects to your big day will be a great way to help the environment. If everyone does a little, it will make a big difference!


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