How to Make Your Wedding More Environmentally Friendly

Weddings are one of the most joyous celebrations in a couple's life, but they can also be incredibly wasteful. From single-use decor to disposable dinnerware, weddings can leave a big carbon footprint. However, with some thoughtful planning, you can have a beautiful and environmentally friendly wedding. Here are some tips on how to have an eco-friendly wedding.

In our declining environment, it's important to think about these things.

Last updated: 18 March 2024

Choose a sustainable wedding venue

Choose seasonal and local flowers for your wedding, or fake ones that can be sold or otherwise reused

Encourage guests to carpool or use public transportation to reduce emissions. Consider having your wedding ceremony and reception at the same location to minimize travel. If you're having a destination wedding, consider only one long haul flight with train or bus connections instead of two flights if you need to take a layover.

Reduce waste at your wedding:

Look for wedding venues that have eco-friendly practices such as using renewable energy, recycling, and using locally sourced food. Of course the venues don't need to meet all the criteria I list here, but you can find venues prioritizing energy efficiency by using renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power. This reduces carbon emissions associated with energy consumption.

Also using low-flow faucets and toilets, as well as rainwater harvesting systems. This helps conserve water resources, especially in regions prone to drought. Some venues may even participate in carbon offset programs to mitigate the emissions associated with hosting events. This involves investing in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as reforestation or renewable energy initiatives.

I know a few sustainable venues here in Italy, such as Paradiso.Pure, La Vimea, and Agriturismo Polisena, but please send me a message if you want to get destination specific advice.

If you're having a bit more of a DYI wedding, there's a chance you're considering paper plates and plastic utensils. Less cleanup, right? But...yes there's a but...I'm sure you see the problem here.

Use reusable dinnerware and glassware instead of disposable items. Have a solution for guests to reuse their cups throughout the evening, such as tape and a marker or stickers. Tell you guests to bring Tupperware in case their are food leftovers. Send your save-the-date and thank-you cards online, or at least on biodegradable/recycled paper

Choose sustainable decor for your wedding:

Use seasonal flowers grown locally to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation. Avoid flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides and chemicals. Consider using potted plants that can be reused after the wedding. And if you do use flowers that are not local to their environment, dispose of them correctly. Or use fake ones! You might think that sounds terrible, but they can actually look really beautiful if you buy/rent quality ones and you can't tell in photos.

Rent or buy second-hand items instead of purchasing new ones; this is the best thing you can do. And there are so many second hand decorations out there on Facebook Marketplace and other sources. If you need to get something new, use sustainable materials such as bamboo, recycled paper, or fabric for decorations. Use battery powered or soy wax candles instead of real ones.

Serve locally sourced and organic food at your wedding:

Choose a caterer that uses local and organic ingredients. Consider serving mainly (better-yet, fully) vegan options as meat and dairy have a higher carbon footprint. Avoid packaged snacks and drinks, and instead offer bulk options.

Read this very useful resource on how to have a fully vegan wedding.

Reduce transportation emissions at your wedding

Buy second hand clothing, rent, or wear what you already own for your wedding

There are so many wedding dresses in second hand shops, on Facebook marketplace, and apps like Vinted. Take a look there or find a rental shop for your dress or suit. Encourage your guests to avoid buying a new outfit for this wedding, and instead wear something they already own or go second hand shopping as well. Maybe they can even borrow a dress from a friend!

By incorporating these eco-friendly practices into your wedding planning, you can have a beautiful and sustainable celebration. If you think this sounds like a lot of work, your wedding planner can help you with a lot of these things! So just make sure to hire a planner who shares the same values as you. Remember, every small step counts in creating a greener future.

As a wedding & elopement photographer, I am very happy to share my years of expertise with you and give you more tips and tricks to help you make your perfect environmentally friendly wedding come true.

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