Getting Married? Plan a Green Wedding to Charm and Inspire Guests

By Bethany Johnson in Thinking Sustainably

Wedding planning can be a lot of fun. You have the opportunity to express not only your love for one another but also your joint personality, and most importantly, your shared values. If you treasure the environment, there are many ways to honor the planet while planning your nuptials. From the invitations to party cleanup, celebrate with a green wedding that will inspire couples for generations. Here are a few creative ways to plan an unforgettable, eco-friendly wedding.

eco-friendly wedding

In the Beginning

Before you even step foot in a dress shop, there are plenty of wedding planning steps through which you can positively affect the environment.

  • Consider crafting digital invitations. Wedding websites are increasingly popular among couples as a way to tell a personal story, distribute save-the-date alerts, document their planning adventure, and showcase engagement photos. Take your planning online to save tons of paper, ink, postage, and fuel, all while building anticipation for the big day.
  • Think about borrowing your wedding dress from a friend or renting a dress. Not only does this discourage extravagant consumerism, but it also ensures you’re not supporting an unfair labor market.

Choosing Vendors

Before long, it’s time to make decisions about vendors. Narrow down the endless caterers, cake makers, and tailors by their commitment to eco-friendly wedding practices. You don’t need to sacrifice quality to help protect the planet.

  • Talk with chefs about their commitment to sustainable sourcing. Have they visited the farms they support? How else do they champion the local food movement? You don’t need to be strict to show you care. And even if you don’t find your perfect caterer on the first round of calls, you’re still making a difference. The more inquiring phone calls a business receives, the more likely they are to pay attention and make a change in their practice.
  • Use compostable plates, cups, and flatware. If you think disposable tableware looks chintzy, think again. You can find companies that supply chic, upscale designer place settings that can dazzle diners without harming the environment.
  • Go straight to the farmer for flowers. Swap a traditional bachelorette party with an outing your bridesmaids will never forget: a trip to your local floriculturist. Call ahead to schedule a day for collecting and arranging corsages, your bridal bouquet, and even the centerpieces for dining tables. Using local, seasonal flowers helps reduce costs and the impacts of long-distance transport.
  • Opt for vintage decor that can be salvaged, repurposed, or upcycled. Express your creativity with a retro theme that will charm guests even more than predictable decor. Think mason jars, wagon wheels, and burlap bows.
  • Choose a venue that can handle both the ceremony and the reception. Combining events into one locale isn’t just more convenient; it also ensures your guests aren’t driving to multiple places, helping to cut carbon emissions considerably.
  • Rethink wedding favors. Gift your attendees with living, breathing seedlings that you and your partner started indoors. This way, your guests can remember your green wedding long after the event. Plus, they’ll be inspired to join your commitment to the environment by nurturing their own unique plants.

After the Party

You’re almost done. Finish strong by wrapping up the festivities responsibly.

  • Consider making your getaway vehicle a horse and buggy or eco-friendly electric moped.
  • Provide four receptacles for your guests to help clean up wisely. Label one for things that can be reused, one for compost, one for recyclables, and the smallest bin for landfill.
  • Ask for volunteers to deliver leftover flowers to a local nursing home or hospital.
  • Offer your used dress, crafty wedding decor, and other equipment online to other local brides to get more mileage out of every item.
  • Ditch traditional thank-you notes in lieu of a quick, personalized video to thank each generous gift giver. A candid clip of you and your partner enjoying the new cookware, throw blanket, welcome mat, monogrammed towels, or whatever gift was bestowed is a great way to show your appreciation. Use a video-editing app to include music and text callouts that emphasize your gratitude. Emailing your thank-yous can also be charming, and again you’ll save on paper, ink, postage, and fuel for delivery.

So much effort goes into planning your Big Day that the number of decisions can become overwhelming. But you can also choose to view each decision as an opportunity to care for the environment. Celebrate your environmentally conscious wedding with these tips, and don’t forget to share photos or additional ideas with us on Twitter!

Image source: Pixabay | Flickr

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.

Why It’s Good

Weddings are already a joyful event, but you can inspire guests even further by incorporating these eco-friendly wedding ideas. From the invitations to cleanup, you'll feel good knowing you made the best choices at every turn.