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Tips for an Eco-friendly Wedding

By Megan Jenkins
Posted on July 04 2017

Something that a lot of us don't consider on our wedding day is the waste our celebrations can create. From flowers (which will decompose, ultimately) to straws, food, liquor, paper, and other packaging—our wedding days can wind up a huge waste of resources and a harm to the planet. Sound dramatic? It is, but it's also true. 

Not to fret, of course, there are heaps of easy ways to make your wedding more planet- and people- and animal-friendly. Most of these ideas are concerned not with sacrifice, like downsizing your flower arrangements or cutting out menu items, but rather, placing an emphasis on making parts of your wedding day last for longer than a one-night affair. 

Potted plants and geode place markers!

Photos from Pinterest.

 1. Reuse your ceremony flowers for your reception.

Think about it: your ceremony flowers are out for an hour, two hours absolute max depending on your ceremony—and then what? They're tossed, or given away. Reuse them at your reception to save some mad cash and reduce your waste. 

2. Reuse your reception flowers as party favours. And your placeholders, while you're at it.

Even more points if you use potted plants for your ceremony! You can not only bring these into your reception, but give them away as party favours for your guests to take home and bring up. Is there a better reminder of your big day other than beautiful blooms for years to come? Especially if you're married during the growing season, because that's charming as heck—you know, when the flowers bloom, its your anniversary! Too cute.

Skip the paper placeholders, too! You could either purchase some darling little placeholders, like stones or gems, or make your own! Guests can also take these home as delightful little reminders of your big day.

3. Ditch the straws. Every day, forever.

You should know this one by now. Straws are bad news for the planet and the living things on it. I'll spare you the gory imagery and details, but remind yourself that millions and millions of straws wind up in the oceans, doing real bad stuff to the animals that live there. Straw alternatives: no straws, or stainless steel straws that your guests can take home. Just skip the plastics and the coated paper straws!

Bridesmaid dresses your besties will want to wear over and over again.

Photos from Lauren Peele and Sitting in a Tree Designs. Dresses from Jenny Yoo and Joanna August

4. Dress your bridal party in outfits they can wear again.

As nice as having matching dresses for your bridal party can be, it's even better if those dresses can be worn again. Sometimes, this means letting bridesmaids choose their own dresses, or selecting dresses that can be shortened (or that will be appropriate to wear again). This is also a nice way to thank your bridesmaids for being your top team of gals—with a gorgeous dress that they can wear over and over again.

5. Don't over-order food.

This one is easy, especially if you have a small wedding party. Don't guesstimate. Don't keep extra meals on hand in case stragglers or non-RSVP-ers show up with their S/O. If guests want to eat, RSVP, and order exactly that amount from your caterers. Also keep in mind that it's nice to set a meal aside for your photographer, videographer, and any other vendors. But don't go overboard! All of your extra food will be thrown out. No good!

6. Keep packaging to a minimum—or find products that are eco-friendly.

Consider everything you purchase for your wedding day, and everything that will be on site during your wedding. How much of it is single serve, how much can be reused? If it comes wrapped in plastic, or packaging that would otherwise go into a garbage can, consider how this can be curbed. You can either purchase items that don't come with packaging, or get packaging like cardboard that can be recycled or composted.

Alternatives to disposable menus and seating charts!

Photos by Mariel Hannah Photography, Raconteur Photography, and Britta Marie Photography.

7. Pass on printing programs and menus.

In the same vein, rent some nice beautiful chalkboards to prop up and display with your important information, like directions, menu items, seating charts, and ceremony programs. All of this information has for a long time been printed and handed out to every single guest—but this is so unnecessary! And if you're printing these items purely for the purpose of them being a keepsake, be wary of how many people will leave their ceremony programs on their seats when they get up for cocktail hour. Reducing waste on this front is easy, cost effective, and stress-reducing. 

For more inspiration on how to minimize your impact in your wedding details, check out our Pinterest board

How did you ensure minimal waste on your wedding day? We'd love to hear about it and add it to this list! 

xo D&C

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