Did you know the wedding industry is one of the leading industries in creating waste? For just one day of your life, you can create over 400 pounds of waste per wedding according to the Huffington Post. Now multiply that by the millions of people who get married each year and you've got yourself a shit ton of waste that is ruining our planet. I say, enough is enough!

There are plenty of ways to create a sustainable and eco-friendly wedding, you just need to put some time and effort into it. You know, just like you do in a normal wedding! Once you put this into practice, it will be easier to find ideas and also vendors who support the same thing.


Ideas on creating a sustainable and eco-friendly wedding

There are so many ideas on creating an incredible and memorable wedding day that can still be sustainable. The resources are endless online to find unique ideas to creating a beautiful day. Below are just a few to start with!

Use natural environment for decor

How to have a sustainable wedding

Hear me out. No, I'm not telling you to go rip off a branch from a living tree. Think of dried leaves fallen from the ground for a celebratory throw (photo above). Or logs that you are going to use during the winter for your fireplace as seats or decor. And even your families flower garden they work on each year for your bouquet or dinner settings. This is a great way to use natural resources rather than going and buying things brand new.

Rent items or purchase used

Unfortunately, a lot of rental items are more or equally as expensive as if you were to buy brand new. However, the benefit is that you will be saving the earth by not creating even more waste and renting instead. Not only that, you also won't need to deal with what to do with them later on too! This will allow you to have less stress as well.

Another thing to do is buy used items if you absolutely need to purchase something. You could look into facebook marketplace, used stores, craigslist or even yardsales. I've bought plenty of items for styled proposals and such from goodwill that have been beautiful and look new!

Recycle and reuse

There are going to be situations where you'll need to buy brand new. Sometimes it can just be more convenient and saves time to go online and click buy now. If you do that, then challenge yourself to figure out how you will recycle and reuse these items. Try to reduce the amount you will throw away. You can sell the items, use them in your own home, or give it away. There are tons of wedding Facebook groups that have plenty of couples looking for used items for their own day.

Reusable cups only (+ straws!)

Having nice reusable glasses and cups are great ways to have a sustainable wedding. If you put some thought into it, this could also be a cool gift idea for your guests (and yourselves). It would be better to get something you can reuse, and that they can reuse throughout the wedding day. Straws are also a fun idea. You could purchase glass straws for your guests as a souvenir as well.

Have a recycle bin

Put a recycle bin out to make sure that anything that can be recycled in your state won't go in the wedding trash bin. It would also be helpful for those who don't know much about recycling to include images or words explaining what can go in the recycle bin.

Gift registry

I have seen time and time again people putting gifts on their registry that they don't even want. Be extremely thoughtful when it comes to your registry. The more items we purchase, the more waste we create. If you don't truly need certain things, then think of doing a honeymoon/home/adventure fund! Sometimes experiences over things are much more memorable and exciting.

Gift giving at the wedding

It will be important to communicate with your guests up front about how you want your gifts given. Explaining that this will be an eco-friendly wedding will be imperative to follow the guidelines. If guests are bringing gifts, you could ask them to bring them unwrapped, re-use paper bags in their wrapping or ask to send to your address instead.

Online invites/RSVPs

I love the beautiful invites that are created by the professionals. However, if it is something that isn't extremely important to you, then think of going the online route. It won't just save you money, but save waste by doing it all online. OR, if you do want to have beautiful invites, try finding brands and small businesses that are eco-conscious and

Use brands and small businesses that care about the environment

While using eco-friendly brands can be more costly, it is also a healthier option for you and the environment. Things like dinner settings, napkins, decor, etc. - you can find eco-friendly options rather than using plastic. For example, you could do paper/glass straws over plastic. Or you could do compostable plates if you don't do glass.

Don't waste any food

Whether you want to donate it, or bring glass containers to bring home to eat for the week, don't waste any of the food. Weddings generally waste a ton of food, but it doesn't need to be! Ask your catering company what their policy is on food waste. Hopefully you can talk to them about offering to food banks or even composting them.

Rent or purchase used attire

This could be a wonderful option for bridesmaids so they aren't buying a dress they are going to use once. If you aren't picky about your own dress or suit either, you can look into getting those rented or purchased used as well. There are plenty of dresses out there that are absolutely stunning that someone doesn't need anymore.

Exit ceremony decor

While confetti can make for beautiful photos, they are absolutely not eco-friendly. Try to find alternatives such as dried flowers (try and find ones that are native to the area you are getting married), dried leaves, lavender, or even bird seed.

Plan ahead!

Having a plan before your actual day on making sure to keep it sustainable is extremely important. After your day, the last thing you are going to want to do is think about what is next. Having the plan will allow you to already have people to help, or strategize what you will do with all of your things.


If you need some inspiration, check out my sustainable wedding ideas pinterest board here!

You can also check out this blog post by The Budget Savvy Bride that I loved!

Kelsey Converse Photography adventure elopement photographer

Hey, I'm Kelsey!

A New Hampshire based adventure elopement and intimate wedding photographer for the adventurous souls. I travel throughout New England and worldwide, empowering you to create the most beautiful, adventurous day and give you the memories you'll be able to look back on for all the years to come.

BOOK ME

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