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16 Eco-Friendly Wedding Ideas for the Modern Couple

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Planning to have your wedding this year? Why not consider having an eco-friendly wedding?

From bridal veils to candlesticks, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the endless list of items for your wedding day.

We want to wow our guests with a decadent design and plan an experience that is uniquely “us.”

But a 21st-century wedding truly earns its contemporary flair by keeping another guest of honor in mind as well: the planet.

Talk about an eco-friendly wedding!

A single wedding in the US today tosses an average of 10% of its food and 400 pounds of garbage. With 2.3 million weddings celebrated each year, eco-conscious couples are in a position to make a huge impact on how we celebrate the start of a marriage.

Looking to ditch your carbon footprint and celebrate in style? We’ve gathered 16 tips for planning a green wedding without sacrificing your personality and style.

As you begin planning the day of your dreams, let’s dive into ways you can plan an eco-friendly wedding from the smallest details to your biggest decisions.

Good Stuff…

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Green Ceremony and Reception Choices

Wedding planning all begins with the when and the where. Once you’ve organized your guest list, think about where most of them will be traveling from and choose a centralized location or keep it local cut down on emissions from traveling.

You May Also Like : 5 Most Bewitching Wedding Destinations To Tie The Knot At

At the same time, this allows your guests to focus their time on the main event: your marriage!

eco-friendly-ceremony-ideas

1. Choose a Sustainable Venue

Consider your guest’s journey when picking the perfect wedding venue. The shortest drive or flight for every guest is a sure-fire way to keep your wedding green.

Once you pick a favorite town, check out your venue’s sustainability offerings. What are their waste removal practices? Do they have LEED certification and access to sustainable dining?

2. Celebrate in One Spot

At the end of the ceremony, imagine walking just a few steps to your cocktail hour or heading off into the scenic surroundings for a stylish photoshoot.

Outdoor venues like farms and gardens often supply places to hold both your ceremony and reception, cutting down on travel, stress, and cost.

3. Skip the Confetti Send-Off

Modern couples are opting for sprigs of greenery leftover from flower arrangements or birdseed for the local animals.

Check with your eco-conscious venues for the best things to toss on your way out.

4. Provide a Ride

Shuttling your guests from hotel to reception has endless benefits. Cut down on parking issues, consolidate your gas emissions, and make your guests feel safe throughout the night.

You also may end up with some incredible shuttle bus photo selfies as guests mingle on the way to your bash.

Eco-Conscious Reception Decor

The majority of your artistic expression will go into making your reception space reflect your personal style. You don’t have to scale back your creativity for an eco-friendly wedding.

If anything, push yourself a bit further to find the green choice that makes a more memorable impact.

eco-friendly-reception-ideas

1. Go Thrifting

In the months leading up to the big day, head out to local thrift or vintage stores to find second-hand furniture, centerpiece decor, and small throw rugs to deck out your space. This look is perfect for a boho-chic style wedding or rustic barn celebration.

2. Use Natural Light

Romance comes naturally when you work with sun and candlelight. Choose a venue with large windows that cut down on indoor lighting and—if your venue okays it—switch to candle lighting when the sun begins to set.

3. Keep Favors Practical

Usable and consumable favors cut down on the waste that you send out in the world on your wedding day.

Support a local business by choosing a small batch of honey, candy or soap for your favors and wrap in reusable packaging.

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    4. Celebrate Your Season

    Speak to your florist about seasonal flower availability before you get your mindset on specific blooms.

    Locally sourced flowers mean a lower carbon footprint and it can even be better for your budget than off-season flowers. 

    Eco-Friendly Fashion

    Modern brands should be vying for your business with their social responsibility efforts.

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      You’re a smart shopper that likes to know where your clothing and jewelry come from, and weddings are no exception.

      Connect with a tailor or wedding dress designer that flaunts their ethical sourcing efforts and sustainable practices.

      eco-friendly-wedding-fashion-ideas

      1. Go Vintage

      How many styles and traditions can you celebrate on your wedding day outfit? Choose veils, cufflinks, ties and earrings that celebrate the timeless elegance of the past.

      2. Smart Ring Shopping

      Ethically sourced rings are the way to go, either found in an antique jeweler or a small business with a story to pair with their craftsmanship.

      Celebrate the earth and fair labor with a ring you can be proud of.

      3. Rent Your Tuxes

      It’s rare for tuxes to do anything but sit in the back of a closet after a black-tie wedding.

      Instead of opting for a newly made tux, rent tuxes that offer tailoring and dry-cleaning to both save money and materials. 

      4. Skip the Real Fur

      Winter weddings are bringing back the stole and capelet to stay stylish and warm for outdoor photo sessions. Faux fur looks just as luxe without the guilt or planet impact.

      Eco-Friendly Menus

      Food is one of the largest contributors to waste on your wedding day, both in the prep and in how leftovers get handled.

      Collaborate with your venue and caterer to see how you can ensure you’re caring for the earth as you design your wedding feast.

      eco-friendly-wedding-menu-ideas

      1. Grazing Buffets

      Grazing tables are a hip way to display a bountiful charcuterie station. Skip the individual serving platters for a vast display of appetizers for guests to build creative plates.

      2. Work with Eco-Friendly Pros

      Farm-to-table caterers can often explain where their food comes from, how they dispose of waste, and to avoid over-prepping. Include biodegradable to-go containers for guests to take leftovers on their way out.

      3. Smart Cutlery

      If you must use disposable cutlery, always opt for biodegradable ware for everything from your forks and knives to cocktail straws.

      4. Remember the Booze

      Not only will organic alcohol help your guests avoid the next-morning headaches, but it will also cut down on the use of products with pesticides, GMOs and unethical farming.

      One of the best parts of planning an eco-friendly wedding is that couples often discover ways to save money while caring for the planet.

      In short, everyone wins!

      To recap, here are some of the ways you can save money on your wedding and care for the earth in the process:

      • Lower costs by going vintage
      • Support local businesses
      • Save costs on flowers with seasonal choices
      • Simplify your guests’ wedding day experience with venue and transportation options
      • Celebrate your big day knowing that you’re doing your part to care for our planet

      eco-friendly-ceremony-ideas

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