First of all, congratulations! A wedding is one of life’s most memorable moments and you want it to be special. But one downside to throwing a big party is all the waste. The average wedding creates over 400 pounds of garbage and 63 tonnes of carbon emissions! With sustainability on everyone’s mind these days, you want to do your part. Never fear, you can create a wonderful event complete with party favours and bridesmaid gifts without feeling guilty about trashing the planet. Read on to get smart ideas on how to make your wedding more eco-friendly.
1. Invest in Classics
Your wedding day is a one-of-a-kind occasion, but that doesn’t mean the jewels such as your bridal earrings should only get worn once. When you invest in classic, quality pieces, you own something you can enjoy for the rest of your life. And every time you put them on, they will remind you of that special day. Beyond that, by selecting jewellery that is made to last such as pearl bracelets or diamond studs, you can do your part to uphold the tradition of ‘something old, something new’ when your something new becomes something old for (and cherished by) the next generation.
2. Rent or Borrow
Renting a tux is pretty standard for guys, but so many more wedding-related items can be rented or borrowed these days including but not limited to linens, cutlery, dishes, glasses, and even wedding gowns and decor. Party planning is super exciting, but before you go out and buy a whole bunch of single-use items and decorations, ask friends and family if they have anything you can borrow. You’ll likely be amazed at all the stuff your acquaintances have sitting around in their closets! After that, do a search on rental possibilities. The results may surprise you. Just about everything can be rented these days, even fancy items such as custom lighting. This not only saves you money, it is also so much better for the planet.
3. Shop Vintage
The name of the game is reducing your overall consumption. This means avoiding buying new whenever possible. Secondhand and vintage items absolutely fulfil this requirement, thus making them another smart way to green up your wedding. Vintage clothing, jewellery, decorations and more not only keep more stuff out of landfill, but also make your party incredibly unique.
4. Buy Ethically
Wedding rings are yet another item to carefully research before purchasing. Diamonds in particular have developed a notorious reputation for being unethical. Are there ethical diamonds out there? The short answer is no, for the simple reason that it is nearly impossible to determine the origin of a diamond. Don’t despair. Lab-grown diamonds are just as beautiful as the ones that have been dug out of the earth, with the added bonus of not contributing to environmental devastation, worker exploitation, or war.
5. Go Local
Another way to make your wedding eco-friendly is to put some extra thought into the venue. Reduce airplane and auto emissions by booking a place that is convenient for the maximum number of guests. Also, hold your wedding and reception in one place to further reduce travel-related waste and save on expenses.
6. Support Sustainability
Food waste is yet another area of concern when it comes to waste. You want to support local businesses, and you also want to work with a caterer who is committed to earth-friendly practices. If such information isn’t listed on the vendor’s website, contact them and ask directly about their stand on sustainability.
7. Select Seasonal Flowers
Flowers may seem like a minor detail in the overall scheme, but they can be quite wasteful. Grown in far-flung hothouses, standard flowers can create a lot of carbon emissions by being shipped halfway around the world. By selecting locally-grown seasonal blooms or even potted plants, you reduce unnecessary waste. At a bare minimum, give away your centrepieces to guests or arrange to have them taken to a local nursing home or hospital to share the beauty rather than just tossing them at the end of the party.
8. Offer Flavour-Filled Favours
Edible favours presented in reusable packaging are a great way to thank guests while minimising environmental impact. Mason jars of jam or honey or another locally-produced specialty like wine can offer extra benefits by promoting local cottage industries.
9. Exit in (Green) Style
Many venues already have rules about what can be tossed over the happy couple for their send-off. Using leaves or flower petals requires minimal clean-up and is just as beautiful if not more so than standard confetti.
While perusing stationery is one of the many delights of wedding planning, buying lots of paper that is just going to be thrown away is not. Create a wedding website and use it to post all the relevant info about your Big Day. When a printed copy is an absolute necessity, use eco-friendly paper. There are many beautiful recycled options, including seeded sheets that can be planted after use.