Photo by Asad Photo Maldives from Pexels

by Karlyn McKell, Guest Contributor

The wedding market is infamous for its waste. Because many of the items used in a wedding are single-use (such as the decor, food, and fashion), the average wedding produces 400 pounds of waste. Annually, the U.S. wedding market contributes 63 tons of CO2! 

Modern couples are taking note of this environmental impact and taking steps to reduce their wedding’s carbon footprint with eco friendly wedding hacks. 

Going green isn’t just good for the planet: it’s good for the environment too. Sustainable practices tend to support local vendors while decreasing your wedding costs, so it’s a win-win. 

Check out these 11 eco friendly wedding tips below!  

Choose a sustainable venue: One of the easiest ways to reduce waste at your wedding is to work with a like-minded venue. Your wedding venue plays a huge role in both setup and waste removal, so finding one that already has environmental practices built-in makes the process more streamlined for you. When touring venues, ask about their LEED certifications, Energy Star ratings, and waste removal process. Farms, gardens, and campgrounds tend to make great eco-friendly venues. 

Host the ceremony and reception outside: Cut down on your electricity usage by hosting both your ceremony and reception outside. You should also consider hosting both at the same outdoor location so guests don’t need to travel from site to site. 

Go paperless: Eliminate unnecessary paper usage by taking things paperless! You can still have a traditional wedding invite, but try sending digital Save the Dates. You can communicate details of your wedding weekend online by making a free wedding website on Zola. Encourage your vendors to go paperless and email you any information and documents to sign. 

Arrange transportation: Curb drunk driving and cut down on carbon emissions by arranging transportation for your guests. Designate a pickup point, such as the wedding hotel, so guests can be shuttled to and from your ceremony and reception. 

Embrace candlelight: Cut the lights and set the mood with romantic candlelight. This sustainable lighting alternative doubles as decor and will also help keep bugs away.  

Stage a sustainable exit: If you’ve put so much effort into making your day eco-friendly, don’t end it on a sour note by littering on your way out the door. Instead, stage a green wedding exit that uses natural materials rather than wasteful ones. Swap out traditional confetti for dried flower petals, leaves, or bird seeds.

Feature seasonal flowers: When meeting with your florist, ask for a seasonal bouquet so your flowers can be purchased from local gardens or farms. This will eliminate the need for shipping and it will cut down on your floral costs. 

Rent your tuxes: You can look good in photographs without having to buy a new suit or tux. Take advantage of tux rental companies to save costs and the environment. 

Buy vintage accessories: Your wedding day outfit doesn’t have to be brand new. Take advantage of a secondhand dress or used accessories such as a vintage veil or antique jewelry pieces. These vintage looks can help bring together a chic and timeless look. 

Hire the right caterer: One great way to reduce wedding waste is to hire a caterer that will help you manage your food waste. Farm-to-table caterers prepare seasonal menus and often emphasize sustainable preparation. Feature grazing tables to cut down on wasteful display setups. For the most eco-friendly wedding menu, ditch meat altogether for a vegetarian or vegan option.

Check out this visual from Zola  for even more eco-friendly wedding ideas. 

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