Being eco-friendly these days is the name of the game, as we all seek to live and work in a cleaner, healthier environment. We all do our part to recycle and repurpose in our daily lives, but when it comes to planning a big event like a wedding, the idea of keeping things green can be daunting. That’s why the wedding experts at Walter Knoll Weddings have compiled this list of ways you can maintain an eco-friendly celebration that you and your guests will love. Take a look and find a few ways you can alter your wedding plans to be more eco-friendly. You’ll feel good about making small, important changes on such a big, important day.
Choosing the venues for your ceremony and reception are often one of the biggest and earliest decisions you’ll make in the wedding planning process. Think about opting for an outdoor ceremony in a natural setting, like the beach, a local park or botanical garden, or even a local preserve. Not only will you reduce the energy used by capitalizing on natural lighting, but you will also find you need far less decor because the surrounding area provides plenty of natural beauty. If you have guests traveling from far away, book a block of rooms for them at a hotel that uses ethical environmental practices. You can also hold your ceremony and reception at the same location, reducing the amount of fuel emissions from guests traveling back and forth between venues.
Eco-Alternatives to Paper Products
One obvious way to reduce the amount of paper used at your wedding is to go digital with all communication, eliminating paper save-the-dates, invitations, and programs altogether. If you choose to include paper items throughout your wedding, consider using recycled paper and organic vegetable-based ink for a safe, eco-healthy option. Some invitations are even made with seeds, making them plantable. Your guests can literally grow your invitation in their own garden. Instead of paper plates and plastic cups, opt for reusable china to reduce waste at the end of the reception.
Many flowers can be grown organically, meaning harsh chemicals and toxins are replaced with natural fertilizers and pest control measures. These make great options for cut floral bouquets and centerpieces. For even more organic and earth-friendly decor, choose potted plants, topiaries or flowers that can be sent home and planted after the wedding. Choose pieces of fruit or vegetables for centerpieces and have guests toss herbs instead of rice or bubbles as you leave. Another quick way to make your wedding day eco-friendly is to include locally-grown, in-season flowers. Here are several popular wedding flowers listed by seasonal availability:
Fall: amaryllis, asters, calla lilies, dahlias, marigolds, sunflowers, and zinnias
Winter: daffodils, evergreens, hyacinth, and tulips
Spring: allium, freesia, iris, lilacs, peonies, tulips, and violets
Summer: dahlias, geraniums, hydrangea, peonies, roses, sunflowers and zinnias
Year-round: baby’s breath, birds of paradise, eucalyptus, ferns, gardenias, ivy, lilies, orchids, statice, and stephanotis
Many caterers offer organic or vegan options, along with farm-to-table fare that will keep your menu locally-sourced and eco-friendly. Choose to invest in reusable china, flatware and glasses instead of disposable wherever possible, or opt for biodegradable versions of these so recycling is a breeze. Pre-arrange to have recycling containers and compost bins available at the reception so guests can dispose of their food and containers responsibly. Talk to your caterer about donating any leftover food to a local food pantry or shelter- some may even be willing to deliver for you after the reception ends.
By choosing local vendors for your catering, flowers, seating, photography and any other services, you’ll not only support local businesses (and possibly farms); you’ll also be reducing fuel emissions from vendors that might travel a distance to service your wedding. Many companies have excellent donation and give-back practices that re-energize the local economy as well. Be sure to ask each potential vendor what they do for the community, how they protect the environment and what their stance is on eco-responsible practices. You’ll likely find plenty of options that align with your eco-friendly mindset.
Repurposed Wedding Attire
To keep your wardrobe eco-friendly, think about repurposing a pre-used wedding gown or other wedding apparel. It’s often traditional to wear your mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress, but you can also find something unique at a vintage clothing store that can be redesigned to suit your style. You can also rent dresses and tuxedos or donate your dress when the wedding is over so someone else can benefit from it, as well.
Making your wedding eco-friendly does not have to mean a complete overhaul on all of your wedding hopes and dreams. Just a few small changes here and there can be the difference you’re seeking while keeping tradition and your vision of the perfect wedding alive. Plus, having an eco-friendly wedding ceremony and reception will be a great example to your friends and family, and leave a lasting positive legacy for your children and grandchildren. To talk about your specific wedding details, call the professionals at Walter Knoll Weddings. We will love to help you choose more ethical, earth-friendly options that will delight you and your wedding guests.