Are you planning a wedding and looking for ways to make your special day more eco-friendly? In an era where environmental sustainability is at the forefront of our minds, why not extend these principles to your wedding? We've gathered expert tips to help you create a wedding that's not only memorable but also environmentally responsible. From eco-conscious candles to locally sourced ingredients, here are some great ideas to reduce your wedding's carbon footprint.
1. Pass Your Wedding Dress Forward
Erin Scharf of Blue Sky Bridal wisely suggests, 'Sell or donate your wedding dress so it gets worn down the aisle a second time!' Rather than letting your beautiful gown collect dust, consider giving it a second life. Erin provides two eco-conscious options:
Donate Your Wedding Dress for a Tax Write-Off: Donating your dress to organizations like 'Brides for a Cause' not only helps brides on a budget but can also earn you a tax write-off. It's a win-win for your wallet and the environment.
Consign Your Wedding Dress with Blue Sky Bridal: If you'd like to recoup some of your expenses, consign your wedding dress with Blue Sky Bridal. This sustainable approach allows another bride to cherish and wear your gown once more.
Spotted Stills Photograph, featuring Brides For A Cause
2. Embrace Vintage Jewelry
Eve Celsi of Maloy’s Jewelry offers a brilliant eco-friendly suggestion: "Think creatively about antique family jewelry to give new life to old pieces! Accent your up-do with grandma’s pin, wrap a too long strand of pearls around your wrist a few times to create a fresh looking bracelet, or have an experienced jeweler make earrings from the diamond sides of a broken cocktail watch."
Additionally, when considering your bridal party gifts, Eve Celsi also recommends, "Go with antique jewelry - it’s the prettiest recycling around! Get each of your bridesmaids a one-of-a-kind pendant made from a re-purposed stick-pin, like these from Maloy’s Jewelry."
Photo courtesy of Maloy's Jewelry
3. Reuse Tableware and Glassware
Reusable tableware not only adds an elegant touch to your celebration but also significantly reduces the environmental impact by minimizing waste. Libby Williamson of The Hall at Fauntleroy, a DSquared Hospitality Company, offers valuable advice: "Use real glassware, flatware, and china as opposed to single-use disposable items." For an even more sustainable option, Williamson recommends choosing a wedding venue that provides its own tables, chairs, and tableware as part of their services.
Michelle Rankin from Tipsy-Trailer Mobile Bar & Bartending echoes this sentiment. "Choosing to select reusable items for your bar area, things such as glassware. Renting glassware or taking it even further by gathering vintage glassware from thrift or antique stores, will help to keep waste down and keep the look classy and clean," states Rankin.
4. Bloom With Less Gloom
Loren Callahan, of Alante Photography, highlights the significance of eco-conscious floral choices for your wedding: "The first place to start is FLOWERS. The average wedding in the US produces 400-600 lbs of trash, and floral waste occupies the top spot on that list. Many couples are realizing that the circular economy (renting, not buying) is a big part of the solution. Opting for faux flowers leads to a substantial reduction in carbon emissions (as much as 96%, according to a French study), provided that the faux flowers are re-used multiple times. There's obviously a stigma against artificial flowers, given their reputation for looking cheap and plasticky. However, modern tech has brought us a whole host of incredible 3-D printed blooms, with latex-coated petals that look and feel exactly like the real thing. A skilled designer can assemble these high-end blooms into gorgeous arches and other wedding installations at a fraction of the cost of their fresh-flower counterparts, and with an impressive carbon footprint reduction to boot. Enter companies like Young Vine Rentals, who are bursting onto the Seattle wedding scene with their garden-inspired, romantic, Fine Art floral arches and other installations. Couples who choose this option over fresh flowers can check all the boxes -- ease, convenience, cost, sustainability, and Pinterest-worthy photo moments."
5. Select A Sustainable Venue
Dana McKenzie of Hyatt Regency Lake Washington advises that one of the most effective ways to reduce your wedding's carbon footprint is to select a venue that prioritizes sustainability and conservation efforts. "Research or ask for their LEED certification, their Green Key achievement or another similar certification. Hyatt Regency Lake Washington at Seattle’s Southport is proud to be LEED Silver Certified and has achieved a 4 Green Key Rating. We offer our couples a Sustainable Event Guide, for key tips on caring for our planet while celebrating your love for each other!"
Leslie Wheatley, Owner of Seattle Parties, seconds that advice and also emphasizes the benefits of outdoor spaces like farms and gardens, which tend to be more eco-friendly. Choosing venues that offer free WiFi helps with digital communication and reduces the need for paper materials.
Photo courtesy of Hyatt Regency Lake Washington
6. Repurpose & Compost Flowers & Greenery
Crystal Griffiths of The Farmhouse on Green Bluff encourages eco-conscious choices when it comes to florals and greenery: "We love when florals & greenery can be repurposed, but we understand it's not always possible. In those cases, consider the compostability. Choose greenery that has been laid in place rather than garlands tied with wire and florals that have not been spray painted. Being free of wire and toxins allows these items to go into the compost bin. We turn our weddings' leftover greenery and florals into fertilizer for our farm."
Abi Noel Photography
7. Get Creative!
To make your wedding more eco-friendly and reduce waste, Ari Busch of Bridal Bliss encourages you to consider these eco-conscious choices. "Although weddings are not always the most eco-friendly event, we have found creative ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle different elements of your special day. Florals and centerpieces can be a great favor for guests to take home at the end of the evening and brighten up their homes. If you have additional events throughout the weekend like a welcome party or post-wedding brunch, decor and signage can be reused or revamped as needed. We are also seeing trends of fruits and veggies acting as centerpieces, decor, and making gorgeous and bold statements! These days weddings are anything but traditional and we are loving all the unique ways that couples are implementing sustainable options on their big day."
Deyla Huss Photography
8. Go Vintage!
As Leslie Wheatley, Owner of Seattle Parties, suggests, "Vintage wedding gowns are all the rage." Consider repurposing a family heirloom wedding gown or exploring chic boutique-style vintage shops that offer wedding dresses and accessories, including veils or fascinator headpieces. If you can't find a local shop, online platforms like The Paper Bag Princess in West Hollywood or Etsy are excellent starting points for your search. Opting for a vintage wedding gown not only embraces a timeless and elegant style but also contributes to sustainability by reducing the demand for new wedding attire.
9. Consider Going Custom
David Pew of Sew Generously Bespoke recommends a sustainable approach to wedding attire: "Having your suit or tuxedo custom made is the path of least waste. Off-the-rack attire uses a business model of making thousands of garments and seeing how many get purchased, which is extremely wasteful all throughout the process. When you have your clothes custom made, almost all of this waste is eliminated, and you get a better product as well!" Opting for custom-made suits and tuxedos for your wedding not only ensures a perfect fit but also aligns with eco-conscious values. This sustainable choice minimizes waste associated with mass-produced clothing and results in a superior product tailored to your preferences.
10. Sustainably Delicious
Dana McKenzie, from Hyatt Regency Lake Washington at Seattle’s Southport, recommends securing a chef whose food philosophy prioritizes thoughtfully sourced, carefully served cuisine. For a more sustainable wedding feast, consider working with a chef or catering team that designs menus offering local and seasonal options, while collaborating with food distributors and businesses dedicated to ocean conservancy and sustainable farming practices. Look for venues like Hyatt Regency Lake Washington, where 90% of their beef, chicken, seafood, and produce are locally sourced from the Pacific Northwest whenever available.
Photo courtesy of Hyatt Regency Lake Washington
11. Batter with Cake
Loren Callahan, of Alante Photography, suggests selecting a real cake over a fake or Styrofoam "dummy" cake. Not only does a real cake enhance the culinary experience for your guests but it also minimizes environmental impact. Opting for a real cake significantly reduces waste, eliminating the need for disposable Styrofoam that often ends up in landfills, contributing to pollution. By avoiding Styrofoam, you're making a conscious choice to protect our oceans from potential harm caused by this non-biodegradable material. Additionally, if you're considering a fake cake for editorial shoots, opt for providers like Honey Crumb, who use recyclable materials.
Alexandra Knight Photography with Honey Crumb Cake Studio