It’s official: wasteful weddings are out, and sustainable celebrations are in. With growing concerns about the impacts of climate change, more and more couples are looking for creative ways to reduce the carbon footprint of their day – and the good news is, it’s a lot easier than you might think!
From digital invitations to green wedding venues and a thoughtfully curated guest list, there are countless ways to go green for this milestone celebration. If you’re looking for some sustainable wedding tips and ideas, keep reading for 9 simple ways to have an eco-friendly wedding below.
Choose a Green Wedding Venue
Your wedding venue will play a pretty big role in the carbon footprint of your day, so you’ll want to be mindful about choosing a sustainable, eco-conscious location.
When it comes to choosing a “green” wedding venue, some things to look out for would be:
- What is the venue’s stance on single-use plastics?
- Does the venue use solar power or other renewable energy sources?
- Are all contracts and documents sent digitally?
- What are their policies on recycling and disposing of food waste?
- Can the venue host both your ceremony and reception to reduce travelling?
- Is the venue involved in any “green” charity initiatives?
Along with your venue, you’ll also want to research and choose eco-conscious wedding vendors who share your values (ethical directories like Less Stuff More Meaning are a great place to start!). For example: here at WedSites, we’ve committed to planting one tree for every wedding planning on our platform.
Rethink Your Wedding Stationery
From invitations and envelopes to RSVP cards and menus, you might be surprised by how many paper elements are involved in the typical wedding. While these paper details may look pretty, the sad reality is they’ll likely get chucked in the bin after the big day.
If you’re trying to plan a sustainable celebration, think about where you can swap these paper elements for eco-friendly alternatives instead. One great way to reduce paper waste is by opting for online invitations and RSVPs. Simply create and send digital invitations with a link to your wedding website and have your guests RSVP in the click of a button! Check out 4 of the best websites for sending digital wedding invitations here.
You can also reduce paper waste by getting creative with your wedding day stationery, too. Instead of individual menus at each place setting, ask your designer to create one communal menu at the entrance to your reception. Or, instead of multiple ceremony programs, create a beautiful sign displaying the order of events. Bonus points if you can use eco-friendly materials like recycled timber!
Host a Micro-Wedding
An intimate wedding undoubtedly means less waste – and as a bonus, it’s also going to be more affordable. Consider trimming your guest list and planning a memorable micro-wedding with just a close group of your nearest and dearest. Think: a leisurely long lunch, dinner at your favourite restaurant, or a relaxed BYO BBQ at a family property.
Don’t forget you can always live stream your ceremony as a way to include your wider circle of family and friends. We share everything you need to know about live streaming your wedding here!
Give Back to Charity
Instead of physical objects as guest favours, why not make a charity donation to an environmentally-focused charity on behalf of your loved ones? Trust us – this will probably mean more to your guests than receiving yet another monogrammed shot glass!
You can also ask your loved ones to make their own charity donation in lieu of wedding gifts or cards. Just be sure to mention this on your wedding website so guests are informed about your wishes!
You can read our gift registry wording examples here.
Opt for Biodegradable Confetti
Traditional paper confetti can be incredibly damaging for the environment – not to mention a major hassle for venues to remove after the day. In fact, some venues will charge you with a hefty clean-up fee, while others have banned paper confetti altogether.
If you still want to capture that magic confetti shot, opt for an eco-friendly alternative like rose petals, or biodegradable confetti made from rice paper that quickly dissolves with water.
Keep Travel to a Minimum
Destination weddings are certainly dreamy, but with so much travel involved, they aren’t so friendly to the environment. Instead of choosing a remote location, consider a local venue that requires less travelling from the majority of your guests.
Go a step further by encouraging your guests to carpool, or organising a bus to transport them to and from the venue in just one trip. Choosing local suppliers who live nearby is another great way to cut down on unnecessary travel.
Reuse, Recycle and Resell
There are so many opportunities to reuse and recycle for your wedding, rather than purchasing things brand new. Scour Facebook marketplace for second hand wedding decor, buy (or hire!) a pre-loved wedding gown, or use recycled materials to create your own signage.
Don’t forget to continue the cycle by reselling your items to another happy couple after the day. You can also donate your bouquets to local hospitals or nursing homes to ensure they don’t go to waste!
Highlight Seasonal Produce
When it comes to your flowers, opt for seasonal blooms grown by local producers to minimise long-distance transport. Choosing a sustainable florist who works with local farms (or even grows their own flowers) will make it much easier to minimise your carbon footprint. And if you want to get creative with your table centrepieces, consider potted flowers or herbs that can be relocated to your garden after the day!
The same train of thought applies to your menu, too. Look out for caterers who highlight seasonal, locally-sourced produce to help you reduce the environmental impact of your day.
Ditch Bridal Party Tradition
From outfits to hair and makeup, your bridal party can take up a lot of extra resources. If you’re not fussed about tradition, why not opt out of having a bridal party to make your wedding more eco-friendly? You can still ask your closest friends and/or family to be involved in other special ways, such as taking on the role of MC, making a speech at your reception, or reciting a reading at your ceremony.
Small But Sustainable Changes
Your wedding day is an incredibly special milestone, but it also comes hand-in-hand with its own carbon footprint. If living an eco-friendly lifestyle is important to you and your partner, planning a “green” wedding is the perfect way to reflect your values!
Looking for more wedding planning tips? Read our guide to creating the perfect wedding day timeline here.