For many of us, protecting the planet is a number one priority. From biking to work to taking shorter showers, there are so many ways we can make simple changes to our lifestyles that help future generations by maintaining a livable world.
However, how does this apply to your wedding? Well, a wedding is a large and beautiful event, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to do it that’s good for the environment.
By applying the three R’s to your wedding planning (reduce, reuse, recycle), there are plenty of ways you can opt in to a green event. Keep reading for more eco friendly wedding ideas!
What Does It Mean to Be Eco Friendly?
The official definition of eco-friendly is “not harmful to the environment”. While this may seem like an easy thing to accomplish, a lot of things that you may not think are harmful to the environment may take you by surprise. Unfortunately, we live in a world where true sustainability is not the norm.
Being eco friendly in planning your wedding and in your everyday life is about making planet-conscious choices at every turn. This manifests in things as small as the types of glasses you serve drinks in, to larger choices like location and your guest list.
Thankfully, there are ways to make sure you have a responsible event.
The Basics of Planning an Eco Friendly Wedding
When it comes down to wedding planning, the most eco friendly choices you can make are the very big ones. This comes down to your wedding’s basics, such as location, guest list, and themes. By committing to an eco friendly wedding from the outset, you’re doing all you can to have an event you can feel proud of.
However, if the eco friendly options don’t work for you, don’t feel pressured to skip your dream venue and cut half your guest list for the sake of being green. There are other ways to reduce waste for your wedding if these things are non-negotiable.
One of the biggest pollutants out there is commercial air travel, so having your wedding as close to home as possible is technically the most environmentally safe option. In fact, the shorter your car ride, the less emissions went into your wedding travel!
An outdoor wedding uses less electricity than an indoor one, because you don’t use things like heat, air conditioning, and the sun provides light until it sets. Therefore, trying to find an outdoor venue is more eco friendly than an indoor one.
If you’re dead set on an indoor one, ask what sort of power source they use– if they have something like solar panels, they use renewable energy.
Another way to be more environmentally conscious is to reduce the number of people you invite, especially if some are traveling from far away.
There will be a sharp reduction in travel emissions if everyone on your guest list is from relatively close by. If there are some people that absolutely must be there, try to keep it limited.
A smaller guest list also reduces things like food waste and trash. This is a more sustainable alternative to a large number of people and a lot of leftovers and such. By reducing the number of people you invite, you will have a more eco friendly wedding.
You can also play into the green vibes by giving your wedding a very Earthy theme. More bohemian or natural weddings tend to use natural materials in their decor as well, making it an aesthetic choice to be eco friendly.
There are so many cool outdoor wedding themes, like an enchanted forest fairytale theme or a garden party vibe. There is also the opportunity for a more rustic vibe with things like hay and wood barrels, all of which are compostable and reusable.
More Ways to Be Eco Friendly
Outside of the three major things above, there are also other ways to incorporate an eco friendly spirit into your wedding, from things like the attire to the invitations. There are so many green alternatives to everyday items that it’s really just about selecting items with intention.
Though some of these options may seem intimidating, keep in mind that the most sustainable option isn’t always the most expensive one. Instead of looking for posh sustainable alternatives, look toward every day reusable items for special touches for your big day.
Eco-Safe Wedding Gifts for Registry
If you and your fiance are foodies, you can ask for a nice, reusable wooden salad bowl with servers on your wedding registry. These can be cleaned many times and are a beautiful touch to any table. It is perfect for entertaining your wedding guests one day!
You could also ask for something to decorate your space, like an artisan-made, eco friendly rug. This one is made from jute, a very strong natural fiber that does great for things like rugs. Something like this is a lovely wedding gift.
For the bathroom, you can place a lovely organic towel set like one on the registry. This towel set is made from bamboo and is still machine washable!
To decorate the wedding space, this burlap & mason jar combo is a reusable dream! When the greenery is added, it is bright while still remaining classy and neutral. Plus, you can give out the mason jars as gifts!
Instead of confetti that also doubles as litter, hold punch some dead leaves to create little colorful pieces of confetti that will decompose easily. This is a great touch for your ceremony or reception exit, and they’ll fit perfectly with a fall color scheme!
Avoid using things like tinsel or fabric to cover your outdoor ceremony arch— this one is a beautiful and subtle addition of strung together wildflowers. The base of the arch looks like natural wood as well, making it something that could eventually break down on its own.
For the green bride, the thrift store might be your ideal bridal boutique! While most wedding dresses are made thoughtfully, the environmental cost of things like shipping makes buying “something old” totally worth it. Look at the beautiful gown this bride picked up!
Similarly, the groom may wish to purchase a worn suit. One way around this is to rent a suit, but another is to thrift each item of the suit look. Here, this groom is all mismatched, but he still looks eco-friendly and pretty fly.
For the bridal party, each member thrifting their own look is a great way to reduce shipping emissions, avoid fast fashion, and keep it affordable for your friends. These bridesmaids may have all different dresses but the color palette works and they look so cute.
As stated above, an outdoor celebration of your love is the best way to stay connected to the Earth while minimally impacting it. Here, they use natural elements like wood, flower petals, and macrame fabrics to decorate the beautiful spaces, as well as reusable and rentable folding chairs.
Here, similar elements are utilized, like rentable chairs, tables, and a simple dance floor. There are also lovely lamps that you may want to bring home with you! It also looks like there are string lights above the dance floor, which use less energy than larger lights.
For something extra cute that plays into the eco friendly theme, you can put sweet baby breath flowers inside of an empty lightbulb! This indicates that you’re prioritizing nature in your wedding.
>Vegan Food Options
One of the best ways to be environmentally friendly is to eat as vegan or as little meat as possible. A great gateway into vegan wedding food is a no-meat-no-cheese charcuterie board such as this one.
Another delicious option is to do a sushi board with all vegetable rolls! Sushi is delicious and giving options without meat or raw fish will make everyone feel really welcome to indulge.
You could also go ahead and try out a vegan wedding cake! A lot of bakers are open to making a vegan wedding cake without products like butter or eggs. This one looks so good.
If you want to eliminate the need for disposable flatware/china, you could try something like bamboo plates and flatware. This style is so cute and adds such nice earthy tones to your table!
It’s also important to use washable glasses instead of disposable cups or even metal cans. These glasses are cute, classy, and will not end up in the trash. Plus, you can give them as gifts!
Lately, there’s been a big push toward using non-plastic straws, like metal or paper. By giving each guest at your wedding their own metal straw that they can bring home, you’re not only saving the use of disposable straws at your wedding, your saving it for them in the future too!
Instead of a gift basket that your guests might just throw out, give them this sweet sachet of bird seed so they can give back to the Earth’s creatures a little bit!
What’s more eco-friendly than a little plant like this one? By giving your guests an oxygen producer, you’re sowing the seeds of a growing Earth.
You could also give your guests a sweet coffee mug as a favor! Instead of disposable coffee cups, these ceramic mugs will provide a comfortable friend for them to sip their coffee with in the morning.
You can bring in some cute elements of greenery by tying little pops of eucalyptus to the chairs in the wedding. These are great stems to have and will naturally break down as they go bad.
You could also decorate your tables with some natural greenery. This one is totally beautiful, really stands out against the white, and is much better than using plastic.
This wedding arch entrance is so gorgeous. You can use an organic cotton sheet and some natural green arrangements to recreate this ethereal look.
To reduce needless waste from your wedding celebration, invest in some washable, wooden serving platters for shared foods, as shown here. This is a classier look than a buffet in disposable containers!
Instead of beer cans littering your wedding, invest in a few large kegs from your favorite brewery and give everyone washable glasses to enjoy the foam in. This reduces waste by an unbelievable amount!
To ensure that your guests stick to their glass commitment, provide a chalkboard with this sweet infographic to get the sustainable message across. Your guests and the planet will surely appreciate it!
The best thing about reusable glasses is that your guests can also bring them home as favors! A nice pair of wine glasses like these are helpful and useful for everyone.
Instead of table markers made of plastic or paper, use a cute little succulent that you can bring home and enjoy for years! This is such a precious way to let your guests know where to sit.
For a pretty elaborate scheme, you could send out little reusable trinket boxes as invitations instead of paper invitations that will be thrown away. This is something that your guests could use for years, and always think of you and your wedding while they do so.
Recycling Your Wedding
You may also want to drive home the eco-friendly theme by using items that have been or can be recycled. These invitations come on pre-recycled paper, giving them a nice Earthy look.
To hold your centerpiece flowers, empty wine bottles are a great start. They provide a nice color to the table and offset the brightness of the flowers, as shown above.
For a feminine and soft textural touch, you can cut up bits of old cotton sheets to make streamers, like shown. This is a great way to reuse old fabric and looks really nice, adding a unique touch to your wedding’s decor.
More Wedding Ideas
Here at Yeah Weddings, we’re here to help with any wedding planning needs. From signature wedding drinks to church wedding decoration ideas, keep reading for all of the ideas to make your big day a success.
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