Weddings are notorious for being extravagant and luxurious events that are designed to impress, and generally speaking, this does not go hand in hand with sustainability. However, an increasing number of couples are taking steps to ensure their special day does not come at the expense of the planet’s health. It might be difficult to ensure that all aspects of your wedding are environmentally friendly, but just two or three attempts at sustainability are better than nothing. If you are planning your wedding and want to minimize its carbon footprint, here are 7 tips for a more sustainable wedding celebration.
Pick your venue carefully
One of the biggest decisions you will face is the venue for the wedding. You should consider its location first of all, as planning a wedding that many of your guests will have to travel a long way for will create a lot of carbon emissions, especially if guests are traveling by plane. Do not be afraid to question your potential wedding venues about their carbon footprint and the steps they have taken to minimize their impact on the planet.
Choose an eco-friendly menu
The food that you provide for your guests is a great opportunity to minimize the environmental impact of the wedding. At a minimum, you should provide a food and drinks menu that is made with locally sourced and produced ingredients, but you might also want to consider vegetarian catering services. Meat consumption is a big contributing factor to climate change, so keeping meat to a minimum should be a top priority for sustainable weddings.
Keep wedding stationery simple
Keep your invitations as simple as possible, i.e., only sending one sheet of recycled paper with all the relevant information rather than packs full of multiple pieces of paper or cards or taking a digital approach and sending invitations/asking for RSVPs via email.
Buy secondhand vintage bridal wear
You could save a lot of money and do the environment a favor by wearing a secondhand or vintage wedding dress and accessories. Alternatively, you could try to find a bridal designer who ensures their garments are made ethically using responsibly sourced fabrics. After the wedding, donate the dress to a thrift store or sell it online to be reused. The same applies to your hair and make-up, as your stylists should be able to recommend products that have not been tested on animals or made using animal byproducts.
Choose seasonal, locally sourced flowers
Lots of people decide on the flowers for their wedding based on their color and appearance, but this is not always an environmentally friendly strategy. Cut flowers that have been transported from elsewhere can have a negative impact on the environment. Instead, ask your florist to source flowers that are in season and available in the local area. You could also ask that the flowers be donated to a local hospital or a senior living community.
Avoid disposable wedding décor
There are some types of wedding décor and finishing touches that can have a negative impact on the environment, like balloons, especially if you are not going to be involved in ensuring they are disposed of responsibly. A more sustainable approach is to use reusable or recyclable décor such as ribbon, real flowers and foliage, non-toxic vintage candles, glassware, and biodegradable confetti.
Ask guests for donations to environmental causes
Rather than asking your guests for physical gifts or money for your future, consider asking them to make a donation in your name to an environmental charity or group. You could name one or two charities that you would like to support, or you could leave the choice up to them. Another idea is to give each gift a pack of tree seeds as a wedding favor and ask them to plant the seeds in a wild area.
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