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How to Have an Eco-Friendly Wedding

Updated: Apr 22

As fun as weddings are, they can be extremely wasteful. According to Zola, a single wedding can produce up to 400 pounds of waste and 63 tons of CO2. From save the dates to wedding favors and everything in between, a lot of waste is created. To celebrate Earth Day, we've gathered some ideas of ways that you can help make your wedding more eco-friendly.



Invitations

There are a few different routes you can take to make your invitations Earth-friendly:

  • Go paperless by creating a wedding website that has all of the information that your guests will need for your wedding day.

  • If going fully digital isn't practical for you, you can go partially digital by either sending out just save the dates or just invitations, and then having guests RSVP online.

  • If you choose to send physical save the dates and/or invites, be sure to go with recycled paper!

Stationery pro and owner of Amaryllis Paperie, Haleigh says that she's been using recycled paper more often than not. She also says, "There's been a huge shift away from sending back RSVPs in favor of online response..." Some guests might not be keen on this non-traditional form of wedding invitations, but it's looking like it may become the new norm!

Amaryllis Paperie printed this note on the back of the wedding details card in the invitation suite for one of her couples. Such a cute idea!



Location

The less you and your guests have to travel, the better. Search for venues that not many guests will have to travel far to, along with a venue that has ceremony and reception all in one location. At indoor/outdoor wedding venue, Rock Island Lake Club, everything you need is in one location-- getting ready suites, ceremony, cocktail hour space, reception space, and even some décor. Of course if a destination wedding is what you want, go for it, but try to find other ways to create an eco-friendly experience!


Vendors

If you're striving to make your wedding sustainable, find vendors who are like-minded and live local to your venue. Your vendor team should consist of professionals that you click with, but you should also do some research to see what efforts they put forth to make weddings more sustainable. You should also try to book vendors who live local to your venue so they don't have to travel far.



Flowers

Owner of Thistle Bee the Florist, Katherine says that her business promotes sustainability in her couples' weddings by:

  • Going "floral foam-free" as often as possible. Floral foam is a synthetic plastic that is not biodegradable, meaning it will be in our oceans or on our lands for years and years to come creating issues for our ecosystem.

  • Renting candles, lanterns, and other décor.

  • Using locally grown flowers to support the local community of growers and also to reduce the amount of transport and emissions.



Seating Charts and Escort Cards

When choosing how you will organize and display your seating assignments for your wedding, you can either use a seating chart or escort cards. If you choose to go with a seating chart, we suggest renting one from a company such as Adorn Market (pictured below) or buying one that you will repurpose in your home. If you decide to go with escort cards, make them useful. Avoid using paper and consider using escort cards that can double as a wedding favor and/or table décor, such as the succulents in the photo below.



Rent, don't Buy

Consider renting décor such as signage, tables and chairs, lounge furniture, place settings, candles, etc instead of buying new. Local company, Cedar + Sage Rentals promotes sustainability in the wedding industry by providing furniture and décor rentals for weddings. To take it a step further, almost their entire collection consists of secondhand items purchased at antique shops and from locals on Facebook Marketplace. By renting instead of buying, not only are you making an Earth-conscious decision, but you also won't be left with a bunch of stuff (think a hundred candle holders creating clutter in your house) post-wedding.




Wedding Favors

Wedding favors are often thrown in the garbage or left sitting on the table at the venue. If you want to provide wedding favors your guests will actually use, go with something that is edible, such as donuts or a late night snack!



Transportation

Provide shuttle buses for your guests to and from the venue. Many hotels provide shuttle transportation for guests, helping to reduce auto emissions.



Fashion

You can choose ethical fashion for your wedding by renting, donating, or repurposing. Many couples at Rock Island Lake Club rent tuxes and suits from Tuxedo by Sarno. After your wedding, you can donate your dress to a charity such as, Brides Across America. Why have your wedding dress sitting in your closet for years when it can be put to good use?!




Creating a more sustainable wedding industry has to start somewhere. Even if you only do one of the things above, you are helping to make the Earth a happier place while still having your dream wedding! Have more eco-friendly wedding ideas? Share them with us in the comments 🌎

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