Whenever someone proposes the idea of an eco-friendly wedding, most bride and grooms balk. They’re already spending a fortune, and assume that throwing a green weeding would only increase the amount of money they have to spend. They’ve already paid for guests to be invited, bought expensive wedding attire, rented a venue, and the added component of being environmentally conscious, while ideal, seems like a variable that might be too hard to juggle. They couldn’t be more wrong.
Having an eco-friendly wedding can actually cut costs. While being environmentally conscious shouldn’t be seen as an added cost but as an investment in the health of the planet, it’s understandable that many weddings are already conducted on a shoestring budget. However, it’s possible to make sustainable choices that will be friendly to both the environment and your bank account.
Use Recycled Paper
Weddings involve a lot of paper. It begins with the save-the-date letters and ends with thank-you cards. There’s a lot of printing being done, and if you take the time to make sure recycled paper is being used, you’ll be doing your part to make sure the environment isn’t being unduly harmed in the process.
You can also save paper by avoiding it entirely. Some couples prefer to direct invitees to their wedding website, where they post logistical information and any other requests for their guests. Others take the opposite approach and double down on their recycling efforts, with some brides and bridesmaids opting for women’s plastic shoes from Rothy’s. They’re offered in chic styles, made from recycled plastic, and offer an eco-friendly alternative to common materials.
Buy Ethical Rings
We’ve all seen Blood Diamond. Don’t thoughtlessly contribute to violence and poor social and environmental practices by buying your ring from the wrong dealer. The best way to avoid this mistake is by choosing an antique diamond, purchased from a dealer who explicitly states their commitment to responsible buying practices. Tiffany & Co. has done so on numerous occasions, but there are also many other options for those who want to make the right decision when buying a ring.
Use Local Resources
One of the best ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your wedding is by using local resources for everything from staffing to the venue to the food. When you use local resources, the goods related to your wedding don’t need to be shipped across state lines or flown in from somewhere far. They are right in your own backyard, which has the added bonus of ensuring that the food will be fresh.
When you’re hunting for a venue—which is always stressful for couples—stop thinking about Hawaii and start thinking about where you could host a charming, fun, or elegant local reception. Another benefit of choosing a local venue is that, much of the time, they require less décor because it will be used by other couples who have also made the same eco-friendly decision.
Lastly, hosting locally also means that your guests won’t have to buy expensive plane tickets, which would increase the carbon footprint of your wedding. Not only convenient (which will in turn increase your turnout) but it’s also an environmentally-conscious option.
Renting reusable items is not only the most eco-friendly move to make, it’s also financially prudent. Many couples buy entire sets of plates and utensils, only to throw them away or store them somewhere never to be touched again. If you rent these items, your guests will never know the difference, and they will be able to be repurposed for the next lucky couples who needs them.
When it starts to get dark, turn down the lights and use some candles. You save electricity and add atmosphere that would be otherwise destroyed by bright electric lights. This is a win-win for both the environment and your bank account, and will create a more memorable meal for everyone involved. Candles bump up the romantic quotient by several points, so don’t be surprised if some guests elope right after.
When you consider an eco-friendly wedding, options are revealed to you that you didn’t even know you had. Couples stop looking for the most expensive options possible and begin to think locally, where hidden gems are waiting to be uncovered. Don’t suffer from the pitfall that eco-friendly means a bigger price tag. By most accounts, the opposite is true.