How To Throw An Earth-Friendly Wedding Slideshow

How to Throw an Earth-Friendly Wedding

There are plenty of ways to show off both your new love and your love of the environment without breaking the bank. From holding your wedding ceremony and reception in the same venue to planning everything online to buying previously used décor and clothing, you can have a beautiful day while still showing respect for nature.

Get Married Outdoors in the Summer

Summer weddings are not only a delight in their own right, thanks to warm, inviting weather, but they can also cut down on the ecological impact of your big day. Embrace summer and host your ceremony and reception outside. Not only will you get to embrace the natural beauty of your surroundings (be they a botanical garden, beach, or backyard), but the sunlight will provide all of your lighting. If you worry about temperature, provide fans, plenty of water, and cooling stations for your guests.

Pick a Shared Ceremony and Reception Space

When in the initial stages of planning your wedding, find a venue that can pull double duty. Choosing a space that will host your wedding ceremony and reception will cut down on carbon emissions as your guests drive from one place to another. Bonus: Having one space for everything is also a great convenience for your attendees, since they won't have to worry about travel.

Send Out Invitations Online

Finding eco-friendly wedding invitations made from recycled paper or other materials such as cotton is very possible, but it can be prohibitively expensive. Instead, create a fabulous and glamorous wedding website and encourage all of your guests to go there for hotel information, RSVPs, and your registry.

Register for Eco-Friendly Items and Charities

Speaking of wedding registries, pay close attention to what you scan when you sign up for yours. Find home décor, rags, bedding, and kitchen items that are made locally and from organic, sustainable materials. If you're looking to minimize the stuff in your life, consider doing a charitable registry and asking your guests to donate to the Wildlife Conservation Network, the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, or your favorite green charity.

Rent or Buy Previously Used Wedding Clothing

Picking out your dream wedding dress is a highlight of wedding planning, but that one garment has a huge ecological impact. From the silk used to the shipping and production costs (most dresses are custom-made overseas), there's a lot that goes into an extravagant piece of clothing. Consider re-wearing your mother's wedding gown or shopping secondhand. As for the wedding party, encourage them to wear something they already have (in the same color, of course) or renting something from Rent the Runway.

Find a Farm-to-Table Caterer

When planning your wedding menu, an organic farm-to-table caterer is a must. Using locally-sourced produce and meats for your meal will cut down massively on travel costs and fuel emissions. And as an additional bonus, using a farm-to-table caterer ensures that your food will be as fresh, tender, and delicious as possible.

Shop at Flea Markets and Secondhand Stores for Décor

Having an eclectic, vintage-inspired wedding is still a popular trend throughout the United States, so don't be afraid to go a little shabby-chic with your décor. Instead of buying new items, shop at thrift stores and flea markets for various wedding details, such as centerpieces, picture frames, and vases. You never know what you may find! Decorating your wedding reception this way will ensure that each table is unique and your day is truly one-of-a-kind.

Get Local, Organic Flowers (or No Flowers at All)

Using a local florist ensures that you're getting fresh, regional, and in-season blooms that will last longer and have a lesser ecological impact. Buying out-of-season or out-of-region flowers means tons of energy wasted on gas, refrigeration costs, and botanical upkeep, so that's definitely something to avoid. If you really want to make your wedding as green as possible, consider alternative bouquets such as ones made of recycled paper, brooches, or succulents that can be used over and over again.

Toss Seed Bombs or Compostable Items

Having guests shower the bride and groom with confetti, bubbles, or rice is a true wedding tradition, but leaving soap or trash on the ground is less than earth-friendly. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives. Have your guests toss seed bombs, so wildflowers will sprout. You can also make confetti from unconventional items, such as flower petals or leaves.

Emphasize Recycling and Composting

Coordinate with your wedding venue so that in addition to trash cans, there will be bins for recycling and composting. We all know why recycling is good, but composting food scraps and decomposable paper goods helps to enrich the soil with much-needed nutrients.

Light the Room with Candles

Totally pass on electricity on your big day by lighting your reception area with candles. Not only will this give your day an extra dose of romance, but keeping the lights off will conserve electricity. Just be careful not to burn the whole place down!

Have Green Wedding Favors

Wedding favors frequently get tossed in the trash or buried in guests' closets, so make yours something that will benefit the environment instead. Whether you give out succulents, seed packets, or small tree sprouts, encouraging your wedding guests to plant something is an easy way to help the environment.