Eco-Friendly Wedding Ideas
September 12, 2022 • 4 min read
Weddings have always been considered a special opportunity to gather, celebrate and- let’s be honest- indulge a little bit. Of course, we’re all familiar with many of the traditional classics of planning a wedding, but maybe it’s time we flipped the script – and we’re not the only ones who think so.
In the last two years, there has been a surge in the popularity of ‘Green Weddings.’ These ceremonies take place with the environment in mind, reducing your carbon footprint, and mindfully minimizing waste – not to mention how much kinder they are to your budget.
According to a student sustainability group at Stanford University, the average wedding accounts for over 56 tons of carbon emissions, making Canada’s $5 billion industry a very wasteful one. So, what can you do to create the magical wedding you envisioned, while also having less of an environmental impact? Read on to find out how to make tying the knot a little greener.
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Invitations + Save the Dates
Consider sending out your invitations online through companies like Greenvelope and Paperless Post. If you are dead-set on having a physical copy sent out, consider printing these on recycled paper or seed paper. Companies like Plantable Greetings and Paper Culture have great options to design your own cards that guests can plant after receiving! This also doubles as a great option for Thank Yous. Bonus: When using one of these companies, they’ll also plant a tree for each card sold. Big win.
Rent – Don’t Buy
Thinking about buying a wedding dress that you will only ever wear once is a bit sad, isn’t it? While it might be one of the most special pieces in your closet, its life span is short lived. Renting your wedding attire has become so much easier with sites like Rent the Runway, The Tux Store and The Bride’s Project, a company that receives dresses at a fraction of the cost to you, and in turn donates all of their profits to cancer research. If you do decide to go the route of having a dress that is all your own, why not consider altering it after your wedding so you can wear it as an anniversary dress for years to come?
Choosing the perfect venue
This might be the biggest expense for any wedding, with the average venue clocking in at approximately $ 5,000. Yikes. The best way to solve this: host an outdoor wedding! While this can limit the time of year you plan to get married, it is a beautiful and much cheaper option to go with. Here are a few outdoor inspo ideas for you to check out:
Flowers have been a long-standing addition to any wedding celebration. They add the perfect amount of romance and warmth to a space, helping to really bring it to life. While having them at your wedding feels like an absolute, they also account for an enormous amount of waste and a considerable expense. Due to the onslaught of a 2-year backup in the wedding industry, floral suppliers have had to make drastic changes to their pricing. Why not consider a few different options? Dried florals make for a perfect, long-lasting addition and can be gifted out with thank you cards after the big day. Alternatively, making use of more greenery creates an ethereal and gorgeous backdrop for you and your guests.
Eat + Drink Local
We are so lucky to have access to some incredibly beautiful produce all summer long, and making that a priority for your wedding meal couldn’t be more eco-conscious. While so many venues require you to buy into a set menu, try to find one that uses locally grown food. Companies like The Lazy Gourmet based in Vancouver, and City Farm are great, inspiring options – not to mention wildly drool-worthy. Offering guests wine from a local winery or brewery is also another way to support your community and very often these places will provide a discount on their products if purchased in large quantities.
The personalized touches to making your wedding truly yours are always the most exciting and memorable. Why not hand out reusable confetti to your guests? Most conventional confetti is made from plastic (though it looks like paper!), and is extremely harmful to the environment. When we unconsciously throw confetti outdoors, we’re directly harming our waterways, soil and wildlife that often mistakenly ingest these small particles. Hole-punched leaves or dried eucalyptus make for a beautiful dusting of nature and are plastic-free.
Another great idea: Host a sewing party for a few of your closest, (and craftiest) wedding guests, to make reusable napkins. Tie each with twine, a little greenery and a handwritten name tag to really go the extra mile. Opt for organic linen or cotton here as they’ll be kindest to the planet.
Gifting your guests with a little something for taking the time to celebrate with you is always a nice idea – and doesn’t have to break the bank. If your guests know you are a lover of sunflowers, gifting them a small envelope with a few seeds might be a welcome reminder of your special day. Alternatively, edible favours are a great option as well. Try sourcing a local maker nearby and gift a small jar of honey or something specific to where your wedding took place. One to plant the seed: Susgrainable, a company based in Vancouver that uses upcycled barley flour from breweries to make their baking mixes – genius!
The Nitty Gritty
The loose ends of planning your wedding can also be re-imagined with the planet in mind. A couple of helpful tips and suggestions: Include recycling and compost bins and clearly state where items go that are being thrown out, opt for offering a shuttle service for guests to reduce the impact from transportation, and make use of reusable signage boards for table numbers and directing guests. The most important thing to remember: there are thousands of other couples doing this after you! Allot a day to post up the items you might be able to re-sell so someone else can enjoy them just as much.
Have you been to or hosted an eco-friendly wedding before?
About the Author
Found curiously exploring in the mountains of Squamish, B.C, Morgan Smith is a writer and advocate for sustainable living. She has a passion to create real, meaningful change through simple, everyday changes while keeping eco anxiety at bay. When she’s not writing or badgering you to get a compost bin, she’s among the trees, cold dipping in a river or making elaborate meals for herself. Find her on Instagram @gimmemorge
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