By Caitlin Taylor
A quote from Huffington Post states that around 400 lbs of garbage is created from every wedding of 120-140 guests. On average there are 2.5 million weddings a year which adds up to 1 billion lbs of trash per year. We want to help you create a beautiful, meaningful day that gives back to your guests, the earth and the community around you. Below are a few things to consider when planning your wedding day.
If you love the look and feel of beautifully printed stationery, it can be hard to find eco friendly wedding invites. The companies below provide gorgeous eco-friendly invitations, some including plantable seeds in the stationary and some used recycled paper and soy-based inks. Check out Greenwich Letterpress , MOO and Botanical Paperworks.
When choosing a dress or suit head to thrift stores and antique stores. Remember you can always have a seamstress alter the clothing. Looking at antique stores for bridal jewelry is always a good choice, you can find unique pieces that show your personality. For the wedding party consider having your crew mix and match vintage clothing. When choosing accessories for your big day consider non-leather options. You still achieve the classy look you’re going for without the environmental impacts. Keep an eye out for tags that say “Man-Made Materials”.
Make sure your makeup artist is using cruelty-free makeup. Elf, Glossier, and Kat Von D makeup are eco-friendly and not tested on animals.
Rather than requesting physical gifts from your guests consider asking them to donate to a cause you are passionate about. A donation to a cause that you and your guests care about is an investment in creating the world you want to see.
Think about having your wedding at a state park, in your backyard or a conservatory. Generally, the entire fee for a conservatory or state park goes back into improving the land. It also provides beautiful backdrops for photos. Backyard weddings generally just require a tent and string lights so that creates a beautiful and affordable venue.
At the reception use tons of candles to light the venue instead of bright lights. It also adds a more romantic feel to the evening. Make sure they are not beeswax candles.
When thinking about catering, consider local vegan options. They not only taste great but are better for the environment and the animals, and they are healthier for your guests! Choosing organic locally sourced food cuts back on greenhouse gas emitted during transportation, positively impacts the local economy and helps local farmers. Also if your caterer is using disposable plates make sure they are compostable. There are plates made from corn that are affordable and biodegradable. You could rent washable plates and skip the waste altogether. Normally there is excess food at the end of the night. Make sure to tell your caterer you want to keep it or have a local shelter pick up the extra to feed the community. Also when creating your cake remember to keep it simple and sustainable!
A way to save money and produce zero waste is to buy kegs of local beer instead of individual bottles. Rent pint glasses from your caterer. Also, look to your local wineries and order from them instead of ordering and importing from far and wide. That also helps your local economy by supporting small businesses in their craft.
One way to provide a beautiful backyard for butterflies and bees is to grow your own flowers then harvest them before your wedding! When choosing a florist research experts that specialize and grow local flowers. Ordering flowers from across the country can increase pollution and greenhouse gas. Try to find florists that only provide flowers locally sourced within a 100-mile radius of your wedding!
Remember less is more when it comes to decorating your venue. Go to thrift stores and scour your grandmother’s house for vases, centerpieces and other things you’d want to decorate with. You can use potted plants as centerpieces as well. You can make beautiful place cards by writing on with white ink on eucalyptus. Don’t forget this is your wedding and it can look however you want it to!
Instead of giving out knick-knacks to your guests, you can provide edible wedding favors or give out seedlings, homemade jams, succulents or even potted herbs. When giving out favors make sure they are in reusable containers, for example the jams are in glass and the herbs in terracotta planters. Another idea is to purchase fun vintage coffee mugs as favors. An added plus is when your guests go to use the herbs or drink the coffee they will think of your wedding!
Really awesome send off options are birdseed, lavender, ribbon wands, and rose petals.
Consider providing transportation to your wedding if the majority of your guests are staying in the same place. That will cut down on car usage and provides a safe way to get home if you have an open bar.
Overall when planning your wedding remember to purchase vintage and reusable items to use for your wedding.
And if you want to hear from a real bride that has actually planned a vegan and zero waste wedding, check out Michaela and Dan’s wedding we published earlier this year.
Caitlin is a wedding photographer living in Maryland with her rescue animals (2 dogs, 2 guinea pigs, and horse to be exact). When she’s not shooting weddings, she consumes tons of vegan food, listens to records and watching b&w movies. She also loves diving into any historical fiction book she can get her hands on. She has been vegan for the past four years and hopes to run a farm sanctuary in the near future to save even more animals.