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Green Wedding Ideas for an Eco-Friendly Celebration

Your wedding is meant to be the greatest day of your life, but with tossed paper goods, excess food thrown away, and leftover flowers dumped in the garbage, it can also be one of the most wasteful. We're not saying you should skip the party or forgo those gorgeous details, but if you're eco-conscious you should consider hosting a green wedding. Here are some ideas to accomplish your green wedding!

  • Propose with Estate Jewelry - Switch up your approach to ring shopping by going vintage. Instead of hitting up your nearest jeweler, consider reusing or recycling a gorgeous retro ring that will be unique and eco-friendly. Propose with a family heirloom, or shop at an estate jewelry store for a one-of-a-kind piece. You can even melt down the gold and refine it—yes, that's a real thing, and it's sustainable—or set an existing diamond into a new band.

  • Send Sustainable Invitations - It's easier than ever to find invitation suites that are printed on recycled paper or use alternative materials, like upcycled fabrics, leather, and wood. Look for companies that give back to the environment while shopping for a stationer.

  • Create an Eco-Friendly Registry - Committed to an environmentally conscious lifestyle? Register for items hat will support your mission and keep sustainability top of mind. You'll get all the super-cute stainless steel straws, silicone cupcake liners, and metal tea bags you could ever want.

  • Opt for a Charity Registry - If material gifts aren’t your thing, consider a charity registry as part of your big day. This allows you and your guests to donate to causes close to your heart, especially foundations with a focus on the environment or animal welfare. A charity registry is an especially good idea if you and your partner already live together and don't necessarily need to register for items like kitchenware, linens, and household décor.

  • Pick an Eco-Friendly Venue - Want the easiest way to have an environmentally friendly wedding and shrink your celebration's carbon footprint? Choose a ceremony and reception site that takes sustainability seriously. With so many beautiful venues going green, you won't have to sacrifice style to be sustainable. Conservancies, Nature Centers, Mansions with beautiful gardens, Waterfront venues, and Natural Gardens, are great places to begin your search.

  • Marry in the Great Outdoors - This is a great way to be one with nature on your wedding day: a lush forest, rolling hills, or a picturesque vineyard are all stunning spots to say “I do.” Booking a wedding at a national park helps provide funding for its conservation, and many beach fees include proceeds for cleanup efforts. You'll also save on your energy usage by cutting down on the amount of lighting you'll need—thank you, sunshine! Be aware that many guests might have allergies to bees, flowers, etc. Keep this in mind when beginning your search.

  • Look for Built-In Décor - Why bring in decorations if they already exist at your venue? While booking your ceremony and reception sites, look for spaces that offer details that fit your wedding style. This will save cash for you and resources for the earth—talk about a win-win. Wineries offer scenic backdrops, botanical gardens give you instant floral décor, and greenhouses feel lush and verdant without adding cut blooms.

  • Donate Décor - Forget tossing all the leftover de'cor. There are plenty of ways to reuse, recycle, or donate goods after environmentally friendly weddings. Flowers are a big one. There are research organizations that will pick up your arrangements and donate them to local hospitals, senior centers, and homeless shelters. You can also gift extras to your venue’s service staff, family, or guests so they don’t go to waste.

  • Sustainable Meals - Food can be a hotly debated topic in the eco-friendly wedding conversation. Look for caterers who focus on local, sustainable, and seasonal cuisine. Ask about the farmers that they work with as well as how they source proteins, including seafood and beef. The more local, the smaller the carbon-footprint from long-distance shipping. The same goes for wine. Look for natural, organic, and biodynamic bottlings to support environmentally conscious producers who focus on being earth-friendly in the vineyard and the winery.

  • Reduce Food Waste - Any large affair will have leftovers, and buffet dinners are a huge offender. What happens to all the extra chicken in the chafing dish? It’s tossed in the trash post-service. Opt for plated dinners to avoid excess food, and if you do go for a buffet, speak to your caterer about saving leftovers. If regulations permit, you can donate extra food to a local food bank or homeless shelter, but you’ll want all the details ahead of time to ensure it’s all properly packed and ready to go.

  • Rent When You Can - “Single-use anything is not good for the environment, so check out websites geared toward renting decor and equipment. Forget plastic glasses in favor of rented stemware—it looks more elegant, too—and forgo paper plates for rented china. It will automatically upgrade your whole wedding look and reduce landfill waste. The same goes for linens. Instead of paper napkins, rent linen napkins, tablecloths, and runners. Some venues even provide linens as part of the event space charge. If you’re going for straws in mixed drinks, rent or buy reusable stainless steel ones. Or, for a less expensive option, pick paper straws over plastic ones; they decompose more easily and won’t harm sea life..

  • Give Edible Favors -Traveling guests will always appreciate a midnight snack, and most people would prefer something sweet or savory over a frame with your wedding date on it. Source snacks from local purveyors or the farmer’s market to support the regional economy. Another idea? More and more couples are opting to nix favors entirely and instead donating to a charity in their guests' names. Announce the good deed on your menu cards or with a single elegant sign by the escort-card station.

  • Book an Environmentally Friendly Honeymoon - Yes, the eco wedding ideas can continue post-"I dos." We’re not necessarily advocating compost toilets in the middle of the jungle, but there are fabulous honeymoon ideas that focus on sustainability. Do your research if this is important to you.

Credit to, Stephanie Cain (17 Green Wedding Ideas for an Eco-Friendly Celebration

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