With increasing awareness of climate change and environmental concerns, more couples are opting for sustainable, eco-friendly weddings, including sourcing local flowers, using reusable decor, and choosing vegan catering options.
If having a sustainable wedding is important to you then you are in the right place! I have all the tips and tricks for how to help your wedding be as environmentally friendly as possible.
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The smaller your guest list, the less waste you produce. Fewer people traveling to your wedding also means less travel emissions. In that vein of thought, it’s worth considering making your wedding local to as many people as possible rather than flying everyone out for a destination wedding.
Look for a wedding venue that is eco-friendly or has sustainable practices. Choose an outdoor location or one with natural light to reduce energy consumption. A great option near Charlottesville is Montfair Resort Farm. In southwestern Virginia check out Floyd Eco Village. Getting married in a state park or in Shenandoah National Park is always an option too.
Consider sending digital invitations to save paper and reduce waste. If you prefer paper invitations, choose recycled paper and avoid extra inserts. Etsy has some incredible and beautiful options for you to choose from.
Choose a catering company that uses locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and offers vegetarian or vegan options. Avoid disposable plates, cups, and cutlery, and opt for reusable or compostable options. In southwestern Virginia try Full Circle Catering in Charlottesville try Harvest Moon Catering.
Choose locally grown flowers or potted plants that can be used as decor and given as gifts. Bonus: use your wedding flowers as wedding favors by potting them in custom pots! Avoid using floral foam, which is not biodegradable.
Use rented or reusable decor such as candles, lanterns, and fabric instead of disposable items. Avoid balloons and glitter, which are not eco-friendly. In southwestern Virginia, Adorn Collective is a new rental agency. In the Shenandoah Valley I recommend Valley Heirlooms.
Consider buying a secondhand or vintage dress, or choose a sustainable designer who uses eco-friendly fabrics and practices. There’s actually a second hand wedding dress shop in Roanoke, The Newfangled Bride or you can buy online. Donate or resell your dress after the wedding.
Choose favors that are useful and sustainable, such as seed packets, reusable bags, or beeswax candles. Avoid single-use items and plastic packaging. You might even consider skipping favors altogether or donating to a charity in the name of your loved one.
Encourage guests to carpool or use public transportation to reduce emissions. Consider providing shuttles or bicycles for guests who need transportation.
Consider registering for experiences or donations to eco-friendly organizations instead of traditional gifts. You can actually create a honeymoon registry (my husband and I did this!) and guests can contribute to items on your honeymoon.
Provide recycling and compost bins throughout the venue and communicate the importance of reducing waste to your guests. Donate leftover food to a local charity or compost it if possible. Encourage guests to wear something already in their closet to your wedding or to buy their outfit second hand.
If a lot of your guests end up traveling for your wedding, you can always offset their carbon footprint by buying carbon offsets or donating to an agency actively working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions like the Clean Air Task Force.
Having a sustainable wedding means reducing the environmental impact of your wedding while still having a beautiful and memorable day. I hope this helps you stay green and enjoy your day while still caring for the planet!
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