It’s a bummer, but it’s true: weddings aren’t always kind to Mother Earth. But you can change that with just a few sustainable strategies. First, let’s talk paper goods, starting with those big, bulky, multi-page invitations. What’s that we hear? It’s the trees crying from all that waste. Instead, stick to one or two simple invitation cards, and direct guests to your wedding website for all the other information and to RSVP. If you (or, let’s be honest, your mom) just must have traditional invitations with all the paper stung, opt for recycled paper or a bamboo variety. In lieu of escort cards and ceremony programs, use one big sign to give guests direction. (Bonus points if you write it on something upcycled, like a vintage window or reclaimed wood.)
Next up: favors. As in, do the landfills a favor (ha!) and skip them, because guests are going to toss those cheesy coasters anyway. “The days of old-school favors are no longer happening,” says Rachel Murphy, event planner and owner of Rachel Lynn Studio. If you want guests to have a memento from your wedding, have them take home a piece of decor, Murphy says, like a succulent that was used as a centerpiece.
For food and beverage, ask your caterer to source as many local ingredients as possible, and keep the menu in season. The entire trucking infrastructure used to transport food and beverage from far-off locations comes with a hefty carbon footprint. Plus, it’s nice to support local farmers.
Murphy also suggests renting as much of your decor as possible. “There are so many unique rental places within the Cincinnati and Dayton areas that you could rent almost everything, from tables and chairs to everything that goes on the tables,” she says. Besides, you don’t want 75 leftover tea lights collecting dust in your basement, anyway. If you can’t rent what you’re looking for, check out wedding resale websites before purchasing new.
Lastly, ask that your florist not use floral foam, which is bad for the environment, and source your flowers locally to avoid transportation emissions and yucky preservative chemicals.
Now you’re good to go, green bride!
Quick Tip: Instead of tossing your flowers at the end of the night, consider donating them to ReBloom, a local organization that will repurpose those flowers and deliver them to a local hospital or nonprofit organization.