A guest post from Zola.
Reducing waste may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you start planning a wedding but after realizing that a single wedding can create 400 pounds of garbage, you may want to think twice. Like many parts of American culture, we go big or go home on our wedding days with fabulous decorations and tons of food and drinks. However, a lot of it goes to waste after your big day.
If you’re looking to host a more sustainable, yet beautiful celebration of your love, check out some of these tips on planning an eco-friendly wedding from Zola. From decor to your send-off, don’t skip the details either — right down to the cutlery you use.
Most couples start the planning process by picking a date and then a venue, but before you even get that far, follow our first tip:
1. Find a Joint Venue for Your Ceremony and Reception
Having your ceremony and reception at the same venue means you are saving guests on travel costs and double the decorations. When touring venues, look for things like LEED certifications, energy-saving appliances, and sustainable dining options.
2. Shuttle Your Guests
Similar to the first tip, cut down on carbon emissions by renting a shuttle (or stylish trolly) to charter your guests from their hotels to your venue. This will also encourage guests to celebrate the night away without worrying about finding a safe ride back to their room.
3. Buy Ethical Jewelry
When it comes to wedding bands, look for ethical jewelers or lab-created materials to source earth-friendly options. Bonus points if some of the proceeds got to a sustainable organization or cause!
4. Curate Thrifty Decor
Reuse and repurpose antiques, vintage finds, and funky decor for your reception. From lighting to table accessories, you can create a magical night with second-hand purchases. If thrifting isn’t your thing, consider renting furniture and accessories to cut down on one-use items.
5. Set the Tone with Mood Lighting
Look for outdoor ceremony spots or indoor spaces lined with large windows to take advantage of natural lighting. You’ll look beautiful and your photographer would appreciate it! Once the sun goes down, switch to candlelight to help light up your venue (assuming they allow it).
6. Rent Your Tuxes
Similar to renting furniture, you can minimize waste by either shopping second-hand or renting tuxes. Look for options with tailoring and dry-cleaning to save money and materials.
7. Set Up a Grazing Table
Set up appetizers like cheeses, fruits, veggies, and crackers for your guests to visit during cocktail hour. This hip option cuts down on serving ware too! Just don’t go overboard on the amount of food.
8. Use Silverware or Smart Cutlery
Depending on your caterer, ask about using real silverware and plates that can simply be washed rather than thrown away. If this isn’t an option, opt for biodegradable plates and cutlery.
9. Give Out Reusable Favors
Your guests probably have a million magnets and koozies, so chances are, your favor might wind up in the garbage. If you want to give out a favor, think about reusables items like honey or candles in a glass jar that can be repurposed.
10. Opt for an Eco-Confetti Send-Off
Typical confetti send-offs can leave a mess behind. Instead, choose natural confetti options like leaves, flower petals, or birdseed for local animals. Double check with your venue to make sure you’re leaving behind only memories, not waste.
From the venue to the decor, there are so many chances to make eco-conscious decisions about your big day!