Most people are trying to be more environmentally conscious these days-I know I am! And while we are recycling and choosing paper straws over plastic, you may not realize that there are ways you can make your wedding more eco-friendly too. These are my top 5 ways to make your wedding more enviromentally friendly:
Lots of invitation suites are available in recycled paper (even in heavy card stocks) and with vegetable-based inks. You can also go with a sustainable option such as cotton or bamboo, or there are even some paper products that are plantable (embedded with seeds!) It's also a great idea to cut down on the amount of paper you use (inner envelopes may not be necessary, postcard RSVP's are becoming popular, and you can even choose to include a lot of information-such as directions-on your website instead!) For the reception you can reduce the amount of paper by skipping the escort cards and doing a seating chart instead.
It's always best to try to stay as in-season and local as possible (if that's not possible, though, look for blooms that are VeriFlora certified-it means they aren't grown with chemicals or under harsh working conditions). Also, ensure your florist doesn't use floral foam for your arrangements-it's handy for keeping things in place but not biodegradable so terrible for the environment! To cut down on waste, you can also opt for non floral bouquets and centerpieces. I've seen gorgeous bouquets made from brooches or even pages from your favorite book! You can also use some fresh fruit or veggies for a unique look. For the rest of your décor you can search flea markets or thrift stores for unique finds (books, antique signs, old cans and jars, and candles are always a classic.) If you do go with florals (which, I'll admit, I have a soft spot for) use potted plants or topiaries for décor and take them home and replant them after the wedding OR simply donate all leftover florals from the wedding to a local hospital, nursing home, or shelter. That is one of my favorite things to do for my couples, it always makes peoples' day!
One big way to cut down on your carbon footprint is hiring local vendors and using local and in season food. Luckily the farm-to-table movement has helped make it more accessible to have healthy, earth friendly (and organic) food options. You can also talk to your cake baker and see if they're on board to use locally sourced ingredients. And, if you're having a buffet dinner, speak with your caterer about saving leftovers (if you and your loved ones won't eat it, look into regulations for donating to a food bank or shelter!)
Nondisposable linens, plates, utensils, glasses, etc. are beautiful and better for the environment! Most rental companies offer all of the above if they are not provided by your venue, but you can also pick them up for an inexpensive price at a thrift store of by bargain hunting your favorite stores. If you must use disposable look for biodegradable products!
Plantable favors (such as herbs, seeds, or succulents) are great, sustainable, favor options. Or, go edible! Guests are much less likely to throw away a tasty treat-and all the better if you can source them from a local business. You can also have your escort cards or centerpieces do double duty as favors. Or, best yet, nix the favors entirely and donate to a charity.
In addition to all of these, there are lots of other things you can do to make your wedding more environmentally friendly: making sure you don't litter for your exit toss (I always love the effect of throwing petals or dried florals!), being responsible while doing your ring shopping, buying a vintage or pre-owned wedding gown (or using an eco-conscious designer!), recycling at the reception, and using a shuttle to transport your guests. The options are endless! I hope this helps you make your big day just a little bit kinder to our planet while still being perfect in every way.