Last update on: 12:08 pm May 8, 2023 by fashionabc
Weddings are a time for romance, union, and celebration. However, while weddings are meant to be special and memorable, they can also easily become one of the most environmentally destructive events. Why? Each wedding is estimated to generate approximately 400 pounds of waste and about 60 tonnes of CO2, including transportation.
With around 5,000 weddings happening every day, imagine the combined waste and carbon dioxide produced in a year. While you don’t have to cancel your entire wedding ceremony or forgo your dream wedding, there are steps you can take to achieve an eco-friendly wedding.
What is a green wedding?
A green or sustainable wedding is similar to traditional wedding celebrations but with less waste. Organising an eco-friendly wedding can be a great way to celebrate and start your married life without compromising the environment. From wedding decorations, food, and invitations to your venue and outfits, you have numerous options to integrate eco-friendly alternatives and ensure your wedding leaves a minimal environmental impact.
To help you host a sustainable wedding celebration, this article lists six eco-friendly wedding ideas for modern brides that will surely inspire you to be environmentally active on your big day.
1. Make use of preowned bridal accessories and outfits
Some couples may prefer to have their gowns, dresses, and bridal accessories customised to their desired style and design. Unfortunately, the majority of these wedding outfits are unsustainable. Certain materials used to create wedding suits and dresses are resource-intensive. For instance, fabrics like tulle and chiffon require a significant amount of damaging chemicals, energy, and water for their manufacturing process. Silk fibres also pose risks to animal rights and agriculture.
For an eco-friendly alternative, consider using preowned wedding outfits and accessories. For example, if your parents or grandparents had a family-handmade bridal veil, you can use this for your wedding instead of purchasing a brand-new one. After all, using family heirlooms and wearing symbolic wedding dresses/accessories at traditional weddings are still trending. Plus, wearing a family-preowned wedding outfit can make you feel more connected to your ancestors.
So, if you’re fortunate enough to have a wedding dress, gown, veil, or suit from your ancestors, use them instead of ordering something new.
2. Create eco-friendly wedding invitations
As much as you want your wedding guests to feel extra special when they receive your fancy wedding invitations, unfortunately, this can also mean cutting down more trees. Those wedding invitations made from virgin paper will only encourage manufacturers to cut even more trees to keep up with the demand.
Thankfully, numerous options are available to help you use eco-friendly wedding invitations. As more wedding vendors become eco-conscious, it’ll be easier to find wedding invitation companies that use eco-friendly materials, such as upcycled fabric, recycled paper, and leather. Some wedding invitation companies also have their own way of helping the environment. For example, they’ll plant a tree to honour every order or purchase they receive.
If you completely want to eliminate paper waste, you may opt for virtual wedding invitations instead.
3. Buy used or create upcycled decorations
One of the major sources of wedding waste is decorations. Sure, some of you may want to fill the venue with unique, gorgeous, and luxurious decorations in various sizes and shapes. But have you thought about what to do with them once the wedding celebration ends? Most of the time, people leave the decorations behind and let the venue staff take care of all the waste and dispose of them.
So, instead of spending money on decorations you plan to discard anyway, you may consider creating upcycled wedding decorations. Perhaps you can find some old items around the house that can be upcycled and turned into wedding decorations. For example, you can reuse wine bottles or glass jars at home as table decorations for the reception.
Or, if DIY isn’t your forte or you don’t have time to create your decorations, you can buy used wedding decorations instead from a former bride or groom. Eco-conscious newly married couples may sell their wedding decorations online via an online marketplace to reduce their waste and help others do the same.
4. Get married in the great outdoors
If you wish to forego the whole idea of using decorations and take sustainability seriously, you can get married outdoors! Over 68% of couples have now opted to celebrate their wedding ceremony outdoors. An outdoor wedding ceremony actually comes with numerous benefits to the environment.
The outdoors itself, with its breathtaking view, can already function as a decoration, so you no longer need to buy decorations to spruce up the place. You can get married in your backyard garden, on a picturesque vineyard, on rolling hills, in a lush forest, or by the oceanside.
Getting married outdoors means you won’t have to spend a lot of money and energy on using decorative lighting. The natural sunshine will be enough to light up your wedding ceremony. Plus, natural light can also result in beautiful wedding photographs.
Meanwhile, if you wish to get married at a national park, your reservation or booking fee will be used to fund its conservation, maintenance, and clean-up efforts. With so many choices and beautiful outdoor venues, you won’t have to compromise your style to achieve a green wedding.
5. Plan for sustainable meals
To ensure you’re serving your guests with eco-friendly meals, opt for caterers that can provide sustainable, local, and seasonal dishes and cuisines. Ask about their suppliers and see if they’re working with local farmers.
Hiring caterers that work with national or international suppliers means their ingredients were transported through different modes of transportation just to reach your location. The farther their suppliers or ingredient providers are, the larger their carbon footprint is due to long-distance shipping.
6. Find ways to reduce food waste
Wedding receptions often end with many leftover foods due to buffet dinners, which can be a massive waste of food and resources. To reduce your wedding’s food waste, consider planning for plated dinners to minimise excess food.
If you still wish to serve a buffet for your guests, talk to your caterer and see if they have a plan for saving leftovers. For example, when the buffet dinner is served, instruct the food servers and caterers not to put all the dishes out at once. That way, in case there are clean and untouched leftover dishes in the kitchen, you can donate them to homeless shelters or a local food bank.
Be aware that this option is only applicable if your local or state regulations permit. Also, be sure to assign enough staff to pack the leftover foods immediately so they’re ready to go before they spoil.
The future of the wedding industry
Organising an eco-friendly wedding celebration can be a unique challenge for couples. It requires greater attention to detail to ensure everything is replaced with sustainable alternatives. If you’re unsure how to start, you can work with an eco-conscious wedding planner, who will help you with all the tiny details to ensure every aspect of your wedding day is good for the environment.