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50 Eco-Friendly Tips to Plan a Green Wedding

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Weddings take a lot of preparation, and even though we may not see it, a majority of the wedding preparation can affect our planet. You don’t have to surrender the elegance of your wedding day by going eco-friendly though. There are many ways to keep your wedding chic and stunning from start to finish by going green. It’s difficult to see the impact weddings have on the earth without looking at the numbers first. Each year, there are 2.5 million weddings. On average, each one of those weddings will produce 62 tons of carbon dioxide and 400-600 pounds of trash. If we do the math, that comes out to a whole lot of waste. There are many steps you can take to neutralize carbon emissions as a result of wedding-related events. To find out how much of an impact your wedding has on the earth, you can estimate your carbon footprint with this wedding event emissions calculator. Even if every one of the 2.5 million weddings a year practiced at least one eco-friendly choice, it would greatly lessen the effect.

Additionally, eco-friendly weddings have a lot more benefits than helping the earth. Being green can also result in less money spent on the types of decorations you choose down to the type of venue you book.

We’ve compiled a list of eco-friendly tips to help plan your green wedding from start to finish.

Sustainable Wedding Planning Tips

1. Choose ethical wedding bands that use 100% recycled metals without sacrificing style or elegance.
Some of the most beautiful engagement rings are environmentally-friendly. See for yourself with these eco-friendly engagement rings worn by celebrities.

2. Use 100% recyclable designer paper from Paper Culture for your “Save the Date” cards. With every order, the company also plants a tree.


www.paperculture.com

3. Send wedding invitations that your guests won’t have to throw away.
ForeverFiances is a provider of plantable wedding invitations which are embedded with wildflower seeds and printed with natural plant based inks, each creating a stunning, unique design. Instead of tossing invitations in the trash, wedding guests can literally plant the paper beneath a thin layer of soil and with regular watering and a little love, your guests can grow their own wildflowers.

4. Ask friends who have recently had weddings if they are willing to donate or repurpose decorations for your big day.

5. Make post card wedding invites to reduce the use of paper and envelopes.
Use one side of the postcard as an invitation and the others as a way for guests to RSVP. Guests can easily send back the card, therefore requiring less paper.

6. Or email your wedding invitations.
We live in a digital age, so it’s not unheard of to send email invites. It saves on money and paper. They can still be personal and just as elegant as mailed invitations. Email wedding invitations are also great for directing your guests straight to your wedding website.

7. Have your guests RSVP by email or on your wedding website instead of sending paper RSVP cards.

8. Ask your bridesmaids to stand next to you with “Will you be my bridesmaid?” soy candles.


www.etsy.com

9. Cut down your guest list.
You know those people that were borderline on the cut off from your guest list? Cut them off. Not only does it save you money, but it does help the environment, too. Even five less guests could mean one less table, one less centerpiece, and five less plates.

10. Get involved with the eco-contour movement and find eco-friendly wedding apparel.
A lot of common fabrics we see used today contain harmful chemicals. Some of these toxic fabrics include polyester, rayon, acetate, triacetate, nylon and Teflon. Sustainable fashion designers focus on natural fibers (taking into consideration the durability, source, textile development stages and the overall carbon footprint).

Deborah Lindquist is one of the many fashion designers showcasing an eco-couture wedding collection. Check out her beautiful, eco-friendly wedding gowns. The groom can also find eco-friendly tuxedos from a variety of fashion designers.

11. Wear a pre-owned or passed down wedding dress.

12. Use all-natural make-up and hair products.

13. Benefit from the natural beauty of an outdoor venue.
A public garden, a beach, a park or even your own backyard can be a beautiful setting for a summer, spring or fall wedding. Outdoor weddings use less energy because they don’t require you to have electricity for lights or air conditioning.


www.carolinatrace.com

14. Select a venue that is near all your guests to reduce transportation emissions.

15. Or have your ceremony and reception at the same venue to cut down on transportation.

16. Create a green-only registry with sustainable products.

17. Send online invites through Facebook for bachelor and bachelorette parties and bridal showers.
Rather than creating more paper invitations for bachelor and bachelorette parties and bridal showers, invite guests via email or Facebook. This reduces having to create more invitations and also promotes easy communication between the guests.

18. Plan the bachelor and bachelorette parties locally and in a central location so guests can carpool.

19. Consider eating local for the rehearsal dinner.
Local businesses take advantage of local, sustainable practices like using local meat and produce. To avoid plastic waste, make sure guests use the restaurant’s silverware.

Eco-Friendly Wedding Ceremony Ideas

20. Rather than arriving in a vehicle, arrive in a horse-drawn carriage.
A carriage is a beautiful and environmentally-friendly way to arrive to your wedding and it doesn’t release harmful emissions into the air.

21. Find an eco-friendly flower distributor or bouquet designer like EcoFlowerWeddings that uses seasonal flowers.
Elect to have a sustainable bride’s bouquet using seasonal flowers and be sure to buy locally. It reduces transportation needed for shipping flowers and unfortunately, many larger flower stores use greenhouses overseas which use harmful chemicals not used in the U.S.


www.ecoflowerweddings.com

22. Grow your own in-season flowers for your centerpieces or bouquet.

23. Go green with hair accessories and wear wildflowers in your hair.

24. Hire a digital-only photographer.

25. Use repurposed jewelry for a beautiful brooch bouquet that doesn’t require any flowers.

26. Provide eco-friendly confetti for guests to toss after the ceremony, and keep the confetti wrapped inside plantable paper.
Rice is a common thing guests throw at weddings but it’s also the least environmentally-friendly. Consider providing guests with eco-friendly confetti, like this biodegradable butterfly paper.


www.save-on-crafts.com

27. Elect to have an alternative wedding guest book that also has green qualities.
Other than traditional guest books that are made of paper, you can use wishing stones and then display the messages post-wedding or find objects laying around the house to be recycled into a “guest book.” For example, some wedding couples might use an old guitar, a vinyl record or maybe a wine bottle from a first date or the engagement proposal. Think about upcycling something instead of purchasing a traditional book.

28. Instead of printing programs on cards or paper, display one single sign or chalkboard as a program.

29. Include the program on your wedding website to avoid printing them.

30. Arrange a tree planting ceremony on your wedding day.

Green Ideas for the Wedding Reception

31. Reuse the beautiful ceremony flowers for your reception.

32. Make paperless escort cards that are biodegradable, like the leaf escort cards used in this wedding.


www.southernweddings.com

33. Look for a caterer that only uses food from local farmers.
Local farmers don’t require much fuel or packaging methods as they don’t have to ship their product very far. Tell your caterer to use in-season produce because out-of-season fruits and vegetables are grown in heated greenhouses.

34. Having a country-inspired wedding? Use eco-seating like hay bales which can be reused on farms.

35. Avoid paper menus and opt for a paperless menu on display instead.

36. Include glass bins for people who might get bottled beverages at the bar and paper bins so guests can recycle wedding programs or paper.
Weddings are one of the largest producers of trash year round. Even if you don’t have many recyclable items, it’s a good idea to have clearly marked bins instead of filling up a trash bin for the landfill.

37. Use washable dishware, such as individually-marked glasses for each guest to reuse throughout the night.

38. Decorate with bamboo, one of the most sustainable materials on earth.
Bamboo grows very fast—nearly up to two feet a day. Trees take 120 years to mature while bamboo takes about three to seven years. Bamboo makes beautiful centerpiece decorations. The Wedding Window has some incredible ideas for how you can incorporate bamboo into your wedding.


www.virginiabeachweddingchapel.com

39. Use soy candles instead of traditional candles.
Soy candles are eco-friendly because they burn longer than other waxes. They use hydrogenated soybean oil and are biodegradable.

40. Make reusable sand centerpieces.
Borrow vases from friends and purchase sands and rocks from a local garden shop. Complete the centerpieces with tall soy candles placed within the sand.

41. Try LED bulbs for your reception lighting and dance floor.
LED lights burn longer and brighter while also using less electricity.

42. Choose eco-friendly cocktails and beverages for the reception.

43. Keep the wedding cake small to avoid wasting too much.
How many people are actually hungry for dessert after a three-course meal? Reduce waste by planning for some guests to skip out on cake.


www.weddingchicks.com

44. Give away potted plants or trees as wedding favors.
Guests will love something that they can grow themselves and plants cleanse the air of toxins and release carbon dioxide. TreeBeginnings offers pre-packaged plant favors that would be perfect for your guests.

45. Use recyclable bags or burlap bags for a take home candy buffet.

46. Or have organic beauty favors, like organic soaps, body oil and bath scrub.

47. Lantern ceremonies are a great way to close out the wedding. Make sure you use 100% biodegradable lanterns like the ones from Wishlantern.

Eco-Friendly Ideas for Post Wedding Plans

48. Use a website like Honeyfund as a source of online crowdfunding instead of having guests bring gifts from your registry.
This saves on wrapping paper and shipping methods that ultimately harm the planet. Honeyfund is a way for relatives and friends to give money to newlyweds for weddings, honeymoons, or payments on mortgages to get their lives started together as a newlywed couple.

49. Rather than simply tossing your wedding decorations, consider gifting them to guests or donating.

50. Go on green honeymoon that practices sustainability.
Elevate Destinations is a travel company that specializes in offering luxury trips to locations that practice sustainability. Many of their honeymoon packages include sustainable accommodations such as hotels made of salvaged wood or eco-retreats.


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