How to Have a Low-Waste, Eco-Friendly Wedding

7 min read

There’s no denying that your wedding day will be one of the only times in your and your partner’s life that you’ll be bringing all your loved ones together in the same venue, so of course you want to make it as special as possible. But the average wedding can come at a pretty big cost, not only to your bank balance but to the planet too.

The good news is that it’s becoming increasingly popular for couples to have zero-waste weddings as we’re all becoming much more aware of the climate crisis. There are lots of green practices you can adopt while saving both the planet and your pocket in the process.

Whether you’re wanting to go all out on a zero-waste event or make a few subtle changes to decrease your carbon footprint and consumption, green is undeniably the new white when it comes to wedding planning. Stay with us to learn some easy (and fun) zero-waste wedding tips.

Hire zero-waste wedding planners

Yes, they are out there! Hiring a zero-waste wedding planner means having someone to guide you in the right direction from the off. It’s important to communicate that you are adopting a low-waste wedding to your guests so they can get involved too.

However, there’s nothing you can’t do yourself with a bit of careful carbon footprint planning. Research local companies that use local produce and who are aware of their environmental impact.

Choose paperless wedding invitations

Traditional wedding invitations are beautiful, and there’s no denying it’s a joy to see a printed invitation land on your doorstep. There are also lots of lovely wedding invites now made out of recycled paper and even paper made with seeds that you can plant post-wedding and enjoy watching grow.

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However, a super simple tweak to help reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint is to go digital with your wedding stationery. Say I do is a platform that can do just that; here, you can design everything from your save the dates to your wedding website to thank you cards all digitally. There’s also a range of beautiful templates you can choose from so you can still incorporate your unique wedding style into the design, and do you want to know the best bit? You can get started for free!

You could also ditch the wedding programs at the ceremony to minimize the waste produced or print them on recycled bags that are filled with confetti and can be taken as a keepsake. At the wedding reception itself, you could reduce waste by allowing guests to sit where they want, meaning paper place settings aren’t necessary.

Keep sustainability in mind when choosing a venue

Speak to your shortlisted venues about their sustainability promises and how you can work together to reduce your wedding waste. Ask questions like ‘Will you supply proper waste baskets?’, ‘Do you avoid single-use plastic water bottles?’ and ‘Do you work with wedding vendors with a similar ethos when it comes to reducing your environmental impact?’

You could choose a venue that’s already or part decorated, so it doesn’t require too many additional wedding decorations. That way, you can still add your personal touch, but it won’t require too many single-use items and will help with keeping your spending down. Use as many decorations that can be repurposed as possible, such as cloth napkins and tablecloths. Glass jars are a nice addition for flowers or even potted plants from home to minimize the waste from freshly cut flowers.

How to have a green wedding abroad

At first thought, it may seem that destination weddings aren’t an eco-friendly option. After all, you and your guests will clock up a huge amount of air miles traveling to and from your chosen country.

However, there are wedding venues now that not only have eco tendencies but go the extra mile to support local traditions and protect the environment. Everything is considered at an eco-friendly venue, from the architecture of the building to the home decor, which has been either recycled or pre-loved. Destination weddings also tend to be smaller, so by having an intimate wedding, you’re actually reducing the total air miles.

Plan your wedding meal to avoid food waste

Choose caterers who source from local farms using seasonal, organic produce. Try to reduce as much waste as possible, so limit packaging, if any, and ensure your venue has a good recycling policy. If you’re having a DIY wedding, ensure your caterers have recycling and compost bins for excess food and, of course, avoid any unnecessary waste along the way.

You could even keep your menu meat-free or plant-based. There are some incredible vegan caterers out there. Another option is to go for an organic, vegan wedding cake; source a renowned cake designer who can work their foodie magic, and we guarantee your guests won’t know any different.

Take the same approach with the alcohol and source local, organic, and vegan; it can be done, and you’ll have fun experimenting ahead of the big day. It goes without saying, but get confirmation that your venue/ bar provides recycling bottle bins. Any leftover food or drink can be enjoyed the next day because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a two-day celebration?!

Reduce wedding waste and use live plants vs. cut flowers

When you’re carrying out your research on wedding flowers, it’s important to check that vendors source locally grown flowers that are in season and pesticide-free. These are likely to last longer and do not negatively affect the environment. Reuse bridesmaid bouquets by popping them in vases on the day and incorporating them into the wedding decor.

It’s sad to see flowers go to waste when the wedding is over, so your floral arrangements can double up as guest gifts so they can continue to enjoy them at home and even turn them into dried flowers. Better still, donate your leftover flowers to a charitable cause, such as an old people’s home or local hospital.

Buy a pre-loved wedding dress and suit

There are lots of ways to help the environment when it comes to your wedding dress and suit. Why not hire a dress or go to a shop that specializes in pre-loved dresses and ask a seamstress to adapt a dress unique to you? Or, if you want your very own new dress, reuse it by asking a seamstress to repurpose it for another occasion, or you could dye it a completely different color once the festivities are over!

There are lots of used wedding dress shops and resale platforms out there that will make it easy for you to choose sustainable wedding dresses for not only you but your bridal party too. That way, you can all be kitted out in eco-friendly wedding dresses that are also kind to the planet.

Request eco-friendly wedding gifts

Traditional weddings tend to have a wedding registry where guests can choose to buy items for the happy couple or contribute towards a honeymoon fund. Why not pop a few eco-friendly gifts on your list or make a charitable donation instead?

Choose a conflict-free diamond

Rings are very easily overlooked, and it’s sad but true that diamond mining causes extreme harm to our environment and continues to be one of the most damaging processes. Recycled precious metal rings are being introduced more frequently now. They can be tailored to suit your taste, making it a much more sustainable and unique approach to sourcing a dazzling eco-friendly engagement ring.

The devil is in the detail

Don’t forget the little things, such as confetti, and consider having eco-friendly wedding favors. If anything is single-use, think second-hand and biodegradable; otherwise, always try to repurpose items to prevent them from reaching landfill. Zero-waste wedding favors such as homemade, hand-crafted edible gifts tend to go down better than a trinket that’s personalized with your name and wedding date.

Adopting just a few of these sustainable wedding ideas will help towards having a greener planet. Having an awareness of your carbon footprint is a great place to start; share tips and tricks to having a greener wedding celebration and remember to pass on anything you can to the next bride to enjoy!

Organise your wedding the smart way

With built in to-do list, guest list planner and online RSVP

Try Say I do for free