Throwing an eco-friendly wedding doesn't have to be expensive or a bigger hassle than any other type of wedding. In fact, eco-friendly weddings often save money because you buy fewer items such as decor and dresses that you have to either keep or throw away.
By shifting how you approach your wedding, you can throw a party that celebrates your love and limits your impact on the environment. Here are eight simple tips to get you started on your eco-friendly wedding.
1. Choose a location with minimum travel
More travel for your guests means more fossil fuels used to get them to your location. While you may want to do a wedding close to where you and your partner live, it will result in more carbon emissions if your families and friends do not live nearby. Weddings can get expensive for guests, and adding gas, food and a potential overnight stay can only make it worse.
Choose a location that is easy to get to for the greatest amount of people. Some may have to travel no matter what — that can't always be avoided — but if your families live in different towns, choose a location near the town where the greatest amount of people live. Some people will have to drive, but if more than half of the guest list doesn't, then that's a win for the environment.
2. Narrow the wedding guest list
The fewer the wedding guests, the fewer resources needed for the wedding and the less trash created. Apart from the eco-friendly wedding benefits, smaller weddings can be more intimate and, of course, less expensive for the couple. You'll have more time to talk with your family and friends beyond the usual happy-couple small talk, and you'll have fewer thank-you cards to write after your honeymoon — that alone can be the biggest benefit.
Narrowing the guest list can be tough for any couple, but nowadays, smaller weddings are common. Everyone's aware of how expensive weddings can be, and for couples paying for it themselves, most people are more realistic about being invited to weddings. If you are having trouble narrowing down your guest list, consider the following:
Make it an adults-only affair.If you cannot legally drink, then you will have to stay home.
Consider the last time you spoke to the person.Has it been three years since you've seen or talked to this friend? If so, it's probably okay to leave him or her off the list.
Has this person met my partner?By the big day, there shouldn't be many introductions to be made. If you've been dating for a few years and the would-be guest hasn't met your partner, consider not inviting him or her.
When it comes to the guest list, be honest with yourself. Invite only those who bring you joy and have helped and supported you both as a couple. You don't owe anyone an explanation as to why they're not invited — and it would be rude of them to ask — but if they do, you can tell a white lie about the location's guest limits.
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3. Look for locations that need little decoration
For some locations, the beauty surrounding them is all the decorations you'll ever need. Beaches, gardens and lakes provide beautiful backgrounds for the big day. All you'll need to add are a few flowers here or there and some lights to brighten up the space when it gets dark.
4. Go local for flowers and food
Shipping food and flowers across the country contributes a massive amount of carbon emissions, so it's important to find caterers and florists who support local farmers and growers. Not only does this help out your community, but it also reduces the environmental impact your wedding has on the environment.
For the eco-friendly wedding, ask your vendors where they get their foods and flowers. If they have eco-friendly wedding options, ask more about them and how they minimize the impact of weddings on the environment.
5. Be a vegetarian for day
To really cut down on your environmental impact and have an eco-friendly wedding, opt for a vegetarian meal for the day.
The meat and poultry industries contribute a massive amount of pollution to the planet in their production processes. You can limit your contribution by opting for a vegetarian meal at your reception. It's healthier for everyone, and there are some fantastic caterers out there who do amazing work with their vegetarian options. Your guests won't even notice there's no meat on the plate.
6. Rent linens, dishware, dresses — anywhere possible
Couples have all sorts of options when it comes to renting items for their eco-friendly weddings. Here are a few of them:
Linens:Renting linens saves you the trouble of buying and washing your own, and they replace paper tablecloths, which end up in landfills.
Plates and silverware:All that plastic will end up in the garbage after the reception. Rent dishes, glasses and silverware that can be washed afterwards instead.
Dresses:Don't want to spend a lot of money on a dress you'll only wear once? Why not rent it instead? The textile industry is one of the biggest contributors to pollution in the world, so if you can buy less of it, then you're limiting your environmental impact. You can also have your bridesmaids rent their own dresses, which will save them money too.
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7. Choose an eco-friendly honeymoon destination
As couples consider more eco-friendly wedding options, the conversation has extended towards honeymoons as well. You can find eco-friendly honeymoon destinations all over the world and use the money you spend on conservation efforts at the local level. Many of the properties also use popular conservation practices that protect the environment, so when you stay, you can be sure your honeymoon isn't decimating the local environment.
Eco-friendly honeymoon destinations and resorts can be found all over the world, but here are a few countries and regions where conservation is more of a way of life:
- Costa Rica
- The Maldives
- Caribbean Islands
- Northern California
- New Zealand
While research eco-friendly honeymoon destinations, go through the resort's website and look for details on how they protect the natural environment and support the local economy. You'd be surprised how much of a good, rather than destructive, impact tourism can be.
8. Build a honeymoon wedding registry instead of a traditional wedding registry
Think about the amount of packaging that goes into receiving just one blend from a traditional wedding registry. There's the box itself, but then the blender is protected by plastic wrap inside and probably some bubble wrap. That's all with just one blender. Imagine how much packaging waste comes with a whole honeymoon registry?
One of the best ways to have an eco-friendly wedding is to build a honeymoon registry rather than a traditional one with physical gifts. Instead of giving blenders and knives, your guests will send you and your partner on an amazing honeymoon that you'll remember forever.
A honeymoon registry doesn't require any packaging, and it helps you limit the amount of clutter in your own home. You can ask guests to help send you to your eco-friendly honeymoon destination and plan for exciting activities that you and your partner have been dreaming about for so long. You won't end up with five different blenders, and you can fill your home with things that bring you joy on your own time.
Your honeymoon registry is also a great place to tell your family members and friends about ecotourism and why it matters. You can describe the ways in which your resort is conserving its natural environment and how thrilled you and your partner will be to do a little bit of good for the environment while celebrating your love. Guests will also feel better knowing that their money is going towards a green cause and helping the planet.
An eco-friendly wedding is far more achievable than you might think. It's all about changing your perception of what an eco-friendly wedding looks like and adjusting your big day to limit your impact on the environment. Weddings are about sharing the love you have for each other, but the environment doesn't have to suffer for it.
Now saving it can be part of your big day and your lifestyle as a couple. Set up a honeymoon registry with Hitchd today and start collecting funds so you can start booking that dream eco-honeymoon right away.
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