Weddings have become an iconic social event over the centuries and are still the highlight of many couples’ lives. Couples currently engaged will undoubtedly be anxious to plan the perfect wedding and reception that suits their style and budget. However, it is important to know that weddings can be quite costly and contribute to the global pollution problem. For example, the average wedding produces approximately 400 lbs of garbage and around 63 tons of CO2. In just one day, the average wedding can produce the same emissions as four or five people would create in an entire year. There are ways to plan a wedding that will fulfill a couple’s need to have a ceremony tailored to their tastes while also reducing the overall waste and pollution they can typically create.
Becoming eco-friendly with jewelry selections has become more popular in the last several years. Over 100 years ago, many wedding rings and engagement rings were vintage or passed down through the generations. However, this trend dwindled with the increase of diamond jewelry popularity. Over time, the popularity of new diamond rings contributed to pollution and jewelry mining conflict.
Couples wanting to avoid buying new diamond rings or similar jewelry options and make their selections more eco-friendly can opt for estate jewelry or rings made of recycled metal or even stone. There is a wide range of incredible options available on the market today. Many handmade options are available on sites like Etsy made with environmentally friendly methods and can help give wedding jewelry a more personalized feel without impacting the environment. A custom wedding ring can make the experience even more special and can be outstanding bridal jewelry to express each individual’s tastes.
Selecting Eco-Friendly Stationery and Invitations
Wedding stationery and invitations are an essential part of most weddings. These items can be tweaked to make the event more environmentally friendly by choosing stationery that is recycled or composed of some natural materials. Recycled paper products are increasingly common and can be found at many online and big-box retailers. Many individual artisans offer eco-friendly invitations to customize to suit the wedding’s theme and the couple’s personality.
In fact, if budgeting is a pressing issue, these invitations and stationery items can be customized by the bride with family or friends’ help for a truly personalized feel that can make a great keepsake for guests. One other potential option to truly cut down on waste and expenses is to go completely digital with the invitations and guest communications. There are many sites online that allow the wedding party to send customized digital invitations for low-cost or even free.
After the wedding ceremony, the big focus can be the happy couple’s food options and guests. There are a few different ways to cut down on waste and make the reception more eco-friendly and tasty. One of the best ways to reduce waste and prevent excess pollution is to choose locally sourced, organic food that comes from private farms in the region. Choosing this route helps prevent pollution by big farms and manufacturing companies and supports local organic farms and families. Additionally, using local seasonal ingredients helps to reduce pollution by cutting down on transportation emissions. Keep this in mind when choosing food catering services.
The wedding party can select a caterer who uses only fresh, organic, locally sourced food and ingredients. The result will be more delicious while ensuring you’re doing your part to reduce waste and pollution when planning your eco-friendly wedding. If family or friends prepare the food, make sure they make a point to use locally sourced food whenever possible.
When it comes to the beverages served at the wedding, consider using a local brewery or winery for sourcing alcoholic beverages such as beer or wine. Having a friend who knows how to brew beer using local ingredients can also be a great way to make the celebration more eco-friendly and personalized. Another point to consider is portioning and determining how much alcohol is necessary for guests to have fun without being excessive or wasteful. Many people opt only to supply alcohol for the couple’s toast to reduce waste and expenses.
Choose Eco-Friendly Wedding Favors
When it comes to selecting wedding favors, staying eco-conscious and green is easier than ever. Today, many options allow the wedding party to get the look and feel they want without all the waste and pollution. One route to try when considering decorations is to use potted flowers or even seedlings. These can also be used as sustainable favors. They can be reused or planted for truly sustainable and waste-free decoration selection, or they can be given to the wedding guests as gifts. Another option to consider is edible favors. They can be created using a wide range of materials from cellulose to sugar and can be a fun and delicious way to add style and pizzazz while cutting down on waste and pollution.
Another point to consider is the dinnerware and utensils used at the celebration. There are plenty of recycled plate and utensil options on the market today to make reducing waste and having a truly eco-friendly wedding easier than ever. Most party supply stores or local retail outlets have recycled paper products and utensils available. These items can be made from recycled cardboard or other materials and can be quite affordable.
Some couples have even opted to skip the wedding favors and donate to a local charity instead. Consider also providing information to the wedding guests to donate to the charity of the couple’s choice for a truly socially and environmentally conscious option. Consider having a theme for charity donations such as local education, animals, or even outreach programs that desperately need funding in the area. On a similar note, couples who have a profound interest in helping charities and social causes can speak with estate planning attorneys to ensure they contribute to their favorite causes should the unexpected occur.
Consider These Venue Alternatives
Today, many people are skipping the traditional wedding venue options such as a church or even having the reception at a separate community facility. One of the most eco-friendly and budget-conscious choices is to use a local park, preserve, or outdoor recreational space to host the celebration. Some ideas would be a beach, state park common space, or even a wildlife preserve. These places will usually welcome a small wedding party and may even have space for a large celebration depending on the size and guest accommodations for these areas. Some may be either free or quite affordable.
Many couples enjoy having their wedding at a public beach because there is plenty of parking space, and it is usually free or low-cost with a local permit. This choice also helps provide ambiance and can make a great choice for the warm weather months. Just be considerate with trash disposal and make sure all the necessary permits are acquired before planning the event. Some other outdoor options that may be possible if you live in an area without a beach include local parks with scenic spaces or beside a local lake with parking and easy access.
Many state parks have adequate facilities for guests, such as covered spaces with picnic benches and bathrooms to make the location even more convenient and comfortable for attendees and if the weather doesn’t cooperate that day. A growing trend is also farm and barn weddings where the couple can partner with local farmers who can also help supply some food options and a venue and covered spaces. In some instances, a couple may choose to have the wedding service or reception in a remote location for more natural beauty, which may require the guests to arrive using bikes or similar modes of transportation. This option may be a good option for smaller gatherings. In more extreme instances where the service takes place in an area with difficult terrain or in areas requiring hiking, climbing, or biking for long distances, the couple should have the guests get a complete physical check up to ensure they can make it without significant risks to their health and well-being.
If having the wedding outdoors is not possible due to location or even the time of year chosen for the celebration, other eco-friendly options are available to choose from when planning the event. Many commercial contractors today can build a structure using environmentally sustainable practices. Many cities across the country are having community buildings and other venue options constructed by companies who embrace this practice. The infrastructure to the new flooring can help reduce waste and pollution by using environmentally friendly materials and practices during the construction process. Some examples are using bamboo and hemp in place of traditional materials for flooring and walls. They can also use recycled metals and other building materials in place of traditional options. Using recycled and eco-friendly options can also help with the indoor air quality and eliminate much of the manufacturing pollution that factories can create.
There are many ways to make a wedding and reception eco-friendly and more sustainable. From selecting the perfect setting or venue right down to the wedding favor selection, these options can help the couple plan the perfect wedding that reflects their tastes and style while remaining environmentally conscious and, in some cases, helping them save money in the process. Ultimately, having an eco-friendly wedding can come down to good pre-planning and some research before making final decisions. When researching a location or the venue, be sure to reach out to local authorities and guests, and acquaintances for more details, suggestions, and information. They may have vital or beneficial information you may not otherwise have access to when planning your big day.
Additionally, take the time to consider the small aspects of the wedding because they can quickly contribute to unnecessary waste and pollution. One other detail to consider is buying a sustainable or used wedding dress to help reduce waste while still looking incredible for the big day. There are plenty of eco-friendly dresses on the market today, or you can find a budget-friendly option at a local consignment shop. From the ingredients used to prepare food to the wedding jewelry, there are ways to reduce conflict, waste, and emissions by being selective about those choices. It helps to enlist the help of a friend or family member who is eco-conscious and has experience selecting environmentally friendly options. You can also hire a wedding planner specializing in eco-friendly weddings if you are a busy individual who doesn’t have time to plan this type of event. Be sure to choose a reputable planner who has the capability and resources to create the perfect wedding experience while simultaneously making environmentally and socially responsible choices during the planning process.
Before beginning the wedding planning process, outline your expectations and goals for the big day and take the time to consult with your partner or others for ideas, and outline a reasonable budget. Consider each aspect of the wedding, from the dress to the flowers and everything in-between. Planning together will help ensure you both get what you want out of the ceremony and reception and support one another with the process, so it isn’t a burden for only one person.
With some thoughtful pre-planning and assistance from various sources, you can plan the eco-friendly wedding of your dreams and do your part to ensure you don’t contribute to the waste and pollution today’s typical wedding can produce. You will feel good about your actions and help create a wedding to be proud of and remember fondly in the years to come.