11 Tips to Make Your Wedding More Eco-Friendly

We all care about this beautiful planet and want to protect it, but it's no secret that weddings can be very wasteful. 

But they don't have to be! Try these tips to make your wedding more eco-friendly and sustainable without sacrificing style. 

1. Rent anything you can. Renting is both easier and better for the environment. Who needs 15 tablecloths after a wedding?! It can be a little more pricey, but if you're engaged one or two years before your wedding that's plenty of time to find the best deal! You can rent everything from the decor to the tablecloths to the wedding dress. If you can't rent it, you can also look for it used (check out the Facebook wedding groups selling old wedding decor).

2. Get married outside. Besides using less energy, the natural sunlight is also just beautiful! Get some outdoor wedding inspiration here.

3. Reduce travel. If you can, have the wedding in a location where most people won't have to use air travel to get there. If that's not an option, think about minimizing travel between the venue and accommodation. For a wedding that's further out of the city where walking might not be an option, consider renting a bus to transport people. 

4. Go paperless.  People lose invitations anyway, and they usually have their phones with them on the way to the wedding so paperless invites work well. You can create a website for all the information and then use a Paperless Post save the date and/or invitation. I'm really into the designs they have right now by Putnam & Putnam.

5. Use plantable favors. Plantable favors like Kristin and Delilah's succulents below are a lot of fun, and good for the environment! If you have a lot of traveling guests, consider biodegradable seed packets that people can take home with them without spilling soil all over the inside of their suitcase.

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6. Reduce food waste. Food waste is a big one at weddings. Think about hiring a caterer that uses organic, locally-sourced produce and even opt for veggie-heavy meals to reduce your footprint. Consider getting less food, like a smaller cake, and making sure that all of your utensils are biodegradable or reusable in some way. If you hire a caterer, this is easy! They already have the utensils and they certainly aren't throwing them out after every wedding. 

7. Use potted plant centerpieces. The centerpieces are another big source of waste. Using potted plant centerpieces is great because they look lovely and people can take them home with them after the wedding! 

8. Opt for a different kind of bouquet. Get creative! There's no rule that a bouquet has to be made with live flowers. I've seen people use knitted flower bouquets and paper flower bouquets (like Stacy's below), which look really cool.

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9. Don't forget about the registry. I've seen people forego a traditional registry and set up a donation area at the wedding instead, which I thought was pretty cool. If you don't want to go that route, try to pay attention to where items are made and what materials are sourced. Think organic bedding, bamboo plates, natural kitchen products, etc. 

10. Rent or buy a used wedding dress. If you're reading this and thinking "ick!" maybe this one isn't for you. It definitely depends how sentimental you feel about your dress-- if you want to keep it for the memories, by all means, buy a new dress. But if you know that $3,000 dress will just hang there forever, that could be a couple mortgage payments or a trip to Iceland (Don't you want to see the Northern Lights?). You can save a lot of money and go green by getting a used dress tailored to fit you the right way. Check out Once Wed and see if there's something you like.

11. Crowdsource. If you want props for your photo booth, ask people to bring some of their own Halloween masks and costume things to the wedding to put on the photo booth table. Think outside the box: what do your friends and family already have that you can use for decor? 

Planning a wedding? Comment below and share how you're making your wedding more eco-friendly!