Tips for Planning a Beautiful Eco-Friendly Wedding

Weddings can be wasteful but they don’t have to be! Here are some tips to make your big day greener, more ethical and beautiful, in all kinds of ways.

Travel

Cut down on fossil fuel emissions by holding your reception and ceremony in the same venue if you can. Destination weddings for the sake of it means a high carbon footprint from guests traveling long distances, especially if flying is involved.

Live local, think global

Using food, drink and flowers that are local and seasonal will ensure that the lower amount of transport to get them there means as low a carbon footprint as possible. Check which flowers are in season at the time of your wedding and if possible, choose fair trade and organic.

Conscious Clothing

When it comes to the bride’s dress, and the bridesmaids dresses, buying something to be worn only once isn’t exactly the greenest option. Some alternatives to this include borrowing a dress from a friend or family member, buying vintage or second hand, or buying a dress that you can wear again. For bridesmaids, you can designate one particular color, or even shades of a color and let the bridesmaids choose a dress that they really love and won’t want to toss afterwards. If you can purchase dresses, shoes and accessories from ethical and sustainable clothing brands or small businesses, even better.

Wedding Favors

There are two ways you can go when it comes to eco-friendly wedding favors. One is to give your guests favors that are reusable and actually useful, or edible – think jams, chocolates or coffee beans rather than, say, pretty much anything with your names engraved or laser cut onto it. On the other hand, many a couple have gone to the trouble of handing out wedding favors to find that a large portion of the guests have simply forgotten to take with them. In lieu of favors, you could place notes saying that you have made a donation in their name to one of your favorite charities, or just skip them altogether. Honestly, most guests won’t even notice!

Invitations

Send out your invitations on eco-friendly papers such as 100% post-consumer or seed paper. You can even skip the paper invitation, which is usually tossed in the trash right after the RSVP and send out beautiful digital invitations.

Reusables vs Disposables

Choose reusables rather than disposable plates, cups and cutlery if you can. It’s best if you can borrow or rent these from the venue rather than buying them. If you really need to use disposables, then opt for ones made of compostable material like corn-based plastic or sugar cane.

Confetti

Ditch the glitter confetti – this stuff wreaks havoc on the natural environment. Instead, have your guests throw dried flower petals provided in recycled paper cones.

Fair Trade Jewellery

Finishing off your bridal look with accessories can be the icing on the cake, but have you ever wondered where the gold and diamonds actually come from? Choosing jewellery that is fair trade ensures safe working environments and fair wages for the makers and will help you feel beautiful inside and out. If you have family heirlooms that can be borrowed or resized, that’s a great option too. So is recycled jewellery.

Menu

Eating a vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth. Serving an entirely vegan menu at your wedding might initially raise some eyebrows, but for those who like a challenge, this can be a wonderful opportunity to introduce people to how delicious vegan food can be.

Vegan Nutritionista has a great guide to serving vegan food at a wedding with lots of ideas. Almost anything can be veganized, and that means every ethnicity of food too, whether it’s Asian, Italian or Mexican, the choices are endless! Try to go for seasonal and local ingredients where possible.

By Fiona Feeney © ecodesign.ie