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  • Writer's pictureMadison Neumann

How to Make Your Wedding Day More Eco Friendly

It's no secret, your typically wedding day can create a ton of waste. This waste is not only bad for the environment, but bad for your wallet. With our current climate crisis and prices rising higher than ever, the good news is: I have tons of tips on how you can create a more sustainable wedding event!

bride and groom stand together amongst blooming trees on their wedding day at  Morris arboretum

1. Start with your venue

Choosing a venue that is naturally beautiful means a lesser need for florals and other decor: therefore, less waste!

Venues will also be able to let you know of any particular eco friendly practices they participate in: how they power their space, recycling. etc.

2. Minimize single use decor

There are so many wedding decor items that you're likely to never use again. Luckily, there a ton of options for making your decor more sustainable.

One of the most popular options is renting. Florists, rental companies, venues, and other vendors may provide rentals for popular items like vases, candlestick holders, glassware, table numbers, and more.

You can also purchase secondhand. My husband and I took a few months leading up to the wedding to thrift for things like candlestick holders, vases, rugs, and photo frames. Our local thrift stores are always overflowing with decor and while it was a time consuming task, we got to spend time together in the process and were able to save a ton of money. As opposed to renting, we can sell off whatever we won't be using again. We divided some items up that we wanted to keep, gave some to friends and family, and listed the rest on Facebook marketplace.

If thrifting isn't your vibe, resell websites like Facebook marketplace are crawling with wedding decor! There are even groups specifically dedicated to local wedding buying and reselling.

3. Purchase your wedding looks secondhand

Thrift stores are often filled with wedding looks like wedding gowns, suits, tuxes, pre-wedding party outfits, white robes, pajamas, and more. And if sorting through the racks for these items doesn't appeal to you, the thrift store isn't the only place to look! We mentioned Facebook marketplace but there is also resell apps like depop, postmark, and curated vintage sellers that take the work out of the search for great secondhand items. Wedding accessories like shoes, bags, and veils, are popular to resell as well.

bride and her bridesmaids are wearing mismatched blue bridesmaids dresses and walking toward the camera, laughing on a wedding day in malvern pennsylvania

4. Let your wedding party select their own looks

By allowing your wedding party to choose what they wear, you are doing a few things to help the environment. First, opening up the choice allows your wedding party to choose where they shop: including those secondhand options we just mentioned. You also up the possibility that the person choosing their outfit will like it, and they will be more likely to wear it again.

If mismatched isn't your vibe, this can be accomplished by choosing an easy color/and or fabric and allowing your party to go from there. Some popular options are black, navy, velvet, etc.

5. Utilize wedding websites

Wedding websites are a great place to put information for your wedding day, gather RSVPs, create your wedding registry, and more! Utilizing a wedding website cuts down on the waste that can be involved with physically sending invitations and other correspondence back and forth between you and your guests. We used Zola for our wedding and absolutely loved it! Quick set up and easy tracking for gifts and rsvps.

6. Be mindful about favor selections, or nix them altogether

The #1 most wasted item I see on wedding days are favors. Tables full of favors in single use packaging sit untouched only for a life destined in the trash bin. I recommend opting for something like an edible favor, a fun guest experience like a photo booth or ice cream cart, or nixing the favors altogether. It’s becoming quite the common practice for favors not to be involved in wedding days at all.

bride and groom walk out of their church ceremony in Princeton new jersey to a crowd of guests blowing bubbles around them

7. Make your exit eco-friendly

Confetti photos are so beautiful, but traditional confetti is not so beautiful for our environment. Make sure the confetti you’re buying is made of biodegradable materials or opt for something like a bubble exit instead!

8. When the wedding day is all said and done, think twice about what you’re throwing out.

Your wedding outfits, decor, and even your wedding catering can all have a new life after your wedding day. Outfits and decor can be donated, resold, or kept and repurposed for future occasions.

Some catering companies and venues will work with local organizations or donate food. If this is not something your venue or catering service typically provides, local food banks will sometimes do pickups from events and utilize the food however they can. It is something that can hugely minimize waste and help your community, so it’s absolutely worth looking into!

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