Planning an eco-friendly wedding requires a thoughtful approach, especially when it comes to your venue.
From solar panels to veggie gardens and on-site accommodation, choosing a venue with green credentials is one of the biggest ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your wedding.
Not sure where to start? Keep reading as we share some of the key things to look for in an eco-friendly wedding venue, including a handy list of questions to ask during your site tours!
Why Is Choosing an Eco-Friendly Wedding Venue Important?
Your wedding venue will play a huge role in the environmental impact of your day. From catering to electricity and travel, your venue will be responsible for a big chunk of your wedding’s carbon footprint.
Sustainability aside, your venue is also likely to be your biggest investment! With an estimated 40% of your budget going towards your venue and catering, it makes sense to invest your dollars somewhere that aligns with your eco-friendly values.
The right venue will also set the tone for your guest experience. Eco-friendly wedding venues are usually renowned for their lush gardens and beautiful outdoor spaces, making them the perfect backdrop for a “green” celebration.
Where To Find Eco-Friendly Wedding Venues
Unfortunately, finding eco-friendly wedding venues can be easier said than done. But with growing concerns around climate change and the future of our planet, many venues are now taking steps towards becoming more sustainable.
So where should you begin your hunt for the perfect eco-friendly wedding venue? We’d suggest browsing ethical, eco-friendly wedding directories like Less Stuff More Meaning, or doing a simple Google search for “eco wedding venues” in your location. There’s also plenty of inspiration to be found on Pinterest and Instagram using hashtags like #ecoweddingvenue, #ecofriendlyweddings and #sustainableweddings.
What to Look For In an Eco-Friendly Wedding Venue
So, what kind of features should you be looking for in an eco-friendly wedding venue? From catering options to plastic and waste policies, there are a few different ways your venue can help you go green.
Keep the following features in mind as you begin researching and touring potential venues!
Venue Location and Distance From Guests
If planning an eco-friendly wedding is important to you, we’d suggest starting your venue search close to home. While destination weddings are certainly memorable, they aren’t so great for the planet.
A local venue will help you and the majority of your guests cut down on unnecessary travel and reduce your carbon footprint. If you can host both your ceremony and reception at the same location, that’s going to be another great win.
Eco-Friendly Catering Options
Food and drink will have a major impact on the carbon footprint of your wedding – so when it comes to venue features, catering is a biggie!
These days, most wedding venues offer food and beverage packages in-house. If this is the case, you’ll want to ask about the different menu options available, and whether this aligns with your eco-friendly values.
For example: does the venue source local, seasonal produce? Are there vegan and vegetarian options? Do they grow any fresh produce on-site? Be sure to ask your potential venues how they can cater for your guests as sustainably as possible.
Many venues have a list of preferred suppliers, but some venues require you to work with these suppliers as a condition of your booking. Don’t forget to check out the vendors on this list so you can see if they align with your eco-friendly values, too.
Plastic and Waste Policies
Any good venue should be able to tell you their policies on plastic and waste. It’s a good idea to ask potential venues about their stance on single-use plastics, how food and beverages will be served, and their policy on food waste.
Venue Package Inclusions
Choosing an all-inclusive venue can also help you reduce the environmental impact of your wedding. If the venue provides items such as dining tables, chairs, plates, cutlery, glassware and napkins, it means you don’t need to worry about sourcing them elsewhere (and adding extra transport and fuel costs to your day). As a bonus, all-inclusive venues typically work out cheaper, too.
Will any of your loved ones be travelling from interstate or overseas to attend your wedding? If so, you’ll need to factor accommodation into your decision-making process.
If you’re planning an eco-friendly wedding, look out for venues with on-site accommodation, or suitable options located nearby. Some eco-friendly wedding venues offer sustainable accommodation options on-site such as luxury “glamping” tents, safari tents and eco cabins!
During your site tours, be sure to ask about any other environmental initiatives or sustainability features offered by the venue. Look out for things like solar panels, fruit and veggie gardens and composting facilities. Some eco-friendly venues have even been designed to operate “off the grid”, with initiatives in place to keep them entirely self-sufficient.
Finally, keep an eye out for venues making a special effort to do good things for the planet. For example: venues that donate a portion of their booking fee to an environmental charity, or who hold certain sustainability standards or certificates. You might even find a venue that plants one tree for every wedding like we do here at WedSites!
Questions to Ask Potential Venues
We know, we know – that’s a LOT of information to think about, especially if you’ve booked multiple site tours. To make it easy for you, we’ve compiled these notes into a list of questions to ask potential wedding venues below.
Keep this list handy during your site tours (or add them to your email enquiry) to help you determine whether the venue can support your eco-friendly vision for the day.
- What makes your venue eco-friendly?
- What’s included (and not included) in the venue hire fee?
- Who are your preferred suppliers? Do we have to work with these suppliers?
- Do you have on-site accommodation? If not, where is the closest accommodation?
- What is your stance on single-use plastics?
- What is your food waste policy?
- What is your recycling policy?
- Do you use solar panels?
- Can we host our ceremony and reception at the venue?
- Where will our food and drink come from? Do you source local produce?
- Can you tailor a seasonal menu for us?
- Do you offer vegan or vegetarian catering options?
- Do you have any environmental initiatives?
- Do you hold any sustainability standards or certificates?
- Are there any other ways we can make our wedding more sustainable at your venue?
Final Venue Hunting Tips
Choosing your wedding venue is a huge decision, and with so many beautiful options, it can definitely feel overwhelming. Consider these venue hunting tips to help you find and secure your dream location:
- Start early. Some venues book out 12-18 months in advance, especially on Saturdays during “peak” season. We’d recommend putting the feelers out and compiling a short list of venues as soon as you’ve locked in a date. Read our 12-month wedding planning timeline here!
- Think about your priorities. Aside from sharing your eco-friendly values, are there any other “must-haves” you need to consider? Sit down with your partner to confirm any non-negotiable features, whether that’s having an on-site wedding coordinator or being able to access the venue the day before.
- Map out your budget first. Crunch the numbers before booking those site tours, so you don’t waste time looking at venues outside of your price range. Read our top tips on creating your wedding budget here.
- Make the most of your site tours. Ask as many questions as you need, and take plenty of photos and videos to look back on. You can also download our free wedding venue profile worksheet here to record notes and compare your options.
- Look at photos from past weddings. Spend some time browsing the galleries and social media platforms of potential venues to see what they look like in action. These photos will come in handy when creating your floor plan and seating chart, too.
The Next Step: Choosing Eco-Friendly Wedding Suppliers
Wedding venue sorted? Now it’s time to find your “green” team!