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From "I Do's" to "I Do for the Earth, too"

♪ Here comes the bride, all dressed in sustainably-responsible, eco-friendly white ♪

Okay, so those may not be the exact words, but imagine a world where they were!

Weddings are estimated to be a 60 billion dollar a year industry, and that’s just in the United States alone. The average wedding in the U.S. is also estimated to produce 400-600lb of waste. To that we say, “I do…not!”

If you’re currently planning or in the pre-stages of planning (or for those who had to postpone due to COVID-19) and you’re gathering all your thoughts and excitement about that special day, we hope these tips will help guide you through an eco-friendly wedding. As an even bigger bonus, many of these tricks save you money! Now, is there anyone who objects to this union? We didn’t think so.

White Weddings Turn Green.
When planning your environmentally-conscious occasion, there are four main ideas to keep in mind as you make your decisions: what is the effect this choice will make on the environment; how much waste will this choice produce; can I reuse, recycle, repurpose, or resell this item after the wedding; and is there a more eco-friendly alternative for this purchase/service? These questions will help create that perfect sustainably-focused mindset and lead your decisions to reflect your earthly consciousness.

To help focus on the specific have, have nots, and everything in-between, we’re going to break down all the important details of your wedding day and how you can be mindful about each.

Things to upcycle:

  • Check out your wedding planning books from the library rather than buying them new. Since we live in such a digital age, you can also download digital versions.
  • Pick up a pre-loved (or vintage) dress. This is a great way to save some extra cash, too. Many more pre-loved stores have popped up over the decade with such a push toward sustainable living so you’ll find lots of options to pick up your dream dress. Grab some girlfriends and get to thrifting!
  • When considering your reception decorations, use real leaves as seated place cards, reuse glass jars, tin cans, and wine bottles to create stunning centerpieces, and use cloth napkins that can be washed and reused again.

Sustainable must-have alternatives:

  • Send digital invites instead of paper and cut down on printed paper items altogether, whether that be invites, save-the-dates, or menus at your reception.
  • Setup a wedding website to give guests a one-stop digital destination for all the important details of your day. This is a great resource to also include your digital invite for your guests to access and there are many sites that are dedicated specifically to helping setup free wedding websites.
  • Try booking your ceremony and reception at the same venue to reduce vehicle emissions. Better yet, seek out venues that also value eco-consciousness as much as you do—places who tout environmentally friendly practices such as recycling, composting, or donating leftovers from their events.
  • Ethical rings (or even repurposing family heirlooms) are an option that is often overlooked. Poor labor circumstances and unethical practices are often found within the diamond industry and the effects mining has on the natural land is just as troubling. Try searching for rings that have been sourced “conflict free” or, better yet, opt for a lab grown diamond.
  • For your reception details, look for caterers who source from local farmers, opt for kegs instead of bottled beverages, and consider a charity registry. Additionally, local florists are a fantastic option for beautiful and fresh blooms.

Consider crossing these things off your list:

  • Mailed invitations
  • Disposable plates and cutlery
  • Single-use decorations, balloons, confetti, paper lanterns, and sparklers.
  • Guest favors

After the “I do’s” are said, the cake is eaten, and you’ve danced so much you can’t dance any more, consider donating all the amazing items you used to make your day special. Whatever you know you’ll toss out or keep but never have a need for again, find a store that accepts pre-loved and gently used wedding items, or give them to your friend who’s next in line to wed. They’ll appreciate you for easing their stress as they begin planning.

Ethically-Conscious Afters.
We now pronounce you, sustainable! Weddings are a beautiful thing, and everyone deserves the best day they’ve ever dreamed for. Use your day to send a message of sustainability and your love will stand for something far greater than just the two of you.

Here’s to all the happily-ever, ethically-conscious afters 👰🏼