10 Quick and Attainable Tips on How to have a Sustainable Wedding

January 24, 2022

As an elopement and wedding photographer who has always been heavily drawn to the great outdoors and a lover of mother nature, I am an advocate for an eco-friendly lifestyle as well as promoting sustainable habits, especially for my clients shoots. 

As I mentioned in my DIY Blog many weddings and parties, in general, create a lot of waste. This waste, unfortunately, causes bigger issues such as landfills and high carbon emissions. This is something that we don’t want especially if we want to continue to thrive on our beautiful planet. I know it can be hard to think of ways to be more sustainable especially if you are just starting so I’ve written this blog to help start your eco-friendly wedding journey on how to have a sustainable wedding!

1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Have you ever been to a wedding or party and noticed that there are tons of leftover plastic wear? Whether it be plates or utensils there’s always A LOT leftover. Rather than trashing them, keep them and use them for upcoming events. If you are attending a wedding or an event and know your wedding is coming up, you can ask the hosts if you can take them home if they aren’t going to use them. 

Another way to reduce, reuse, and recycle is by thrift shopping! You can find so many unique and beautiful items at thrift stores, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, OfferUp, and more! It’s such a great and easy way to be more sustainable as well as budget-friendly. 

2. Avoid using plastics all together! 

As mentioned in the paragraph above, thrift shopping can be such a fun way to incorporate unique items into your wedding and it is an easy way to be more sustainable! Try avoiding using plastic altogether because most of the time these plastics end up in the landfill. If you are looking for more convenience since washing over 50 dishes can be time-consuming, try getting sustainable and or compostable dishware and paper goods or you can even rent dishes. 

3. Rent Linens

Instead of buying linens or rummaging through your own linen drawer to see if you have enough, just rent some! Renting linens is the best way to go because you’ll know for sure that you’ll have enough for all of your guests. Also, don’t forget to ask your rental company how the cleaning process is because this can also be bad for the environment as well. 

4. Hire vendors who are environmentally cautious!

Hire a team with the same mindset as you! By hiring vendors who are just as eco-friendly as you and want to help make your sustainable wedding as green as possible, they can help bring your vision to fruition. Vendors can help with any last-minute decisions that need to be made especially if things start to change and bring in ideas that you may have never thought of without them.

5. Pick a venue that values sustainability!

If you are going to do an intimate wedding at a venue make sure to choose a venue that prioritizes sustainability. Most venues that value sustainability will stray away from plastics, use solar power, and provide food that was grown right on their land. Make sure to do your research and contact the venues to ask them about their eco-friendly practices before booking.

Photo of wedding ceremony wooden arch for sustainable wedding

6. Have an eco-friendly menu!

If you’re creating your own menu or hiring a catering company try to find a catering company that sources organic, local, and sustainably sourced food and ingredients. Or try a vegan or vegetarian menu for your wedding! Vegan and vegetarian food reduce the environmental impact immensely. If you aren’t up for going vegan or vegetarian for your wedding why not try to do a menu that’s 50% vegan or vegetarian. 

Furthermore, get locally sourced alcohol from local wineries or distilleries near your wedding venue or location!

7. Skip wedding stationeries, wedding invitations, and Save-the-dates OR opt for recycled paper – it’s honestly the cutest anyways!

For wedding stationeries, invitations and save-the-dates, try opting to go digital or reaching out to a calligraphy artist that uses recycled paper materials! Two of my favourite businesses that offer recycled paper options for sustainable weddings are Melanie Ann Designs and Petite Paperie Design Co.

8. Compost your wedding flowers and food waste!

There tends to be a lot of food and flower waste at weddings that often end up in a landfill so make sure to either compost it or donate it! If you are hiring a caterer, talk to them about what happens to the leftover food and if they donate or compost it. 

Flowers can be donated and composted as well! If you have a big wedding with multiple bouquets and centerpieces you might as well donate it to someone and put a smile on their face! Floral recyclers like ReBLOOM Flowers convert wedding bouquets and floral arrangements into little bouquets for charity and non-profit organizations. ReBLOOM will pick up your flowers after your event and take them to get redesigned into smaller arrangements and deliver them to a charity of your choice, whether it’s senior homes, cancer treatment centers, hospices, and more! By doing this you aren’t only making an environmental impact you are also making a positive social impact within your community. 

Another thing to keep in mind with florals is the harmful chemicals and bleach involved with many current floral trends. Try sourcing florals locally and avoid bleaching your florals. Ask your florist for your options!

9. Buy your wedding attire from ethical designers and companies!

Instead of going with fast fashion, think about buying your wedding dress from a designer who is a part of an eco-friendly wedding company. You can also buy your wedding dress second-hand. You may be surprised at what you find at a thrift store OR sites like stillwhite.com. The options are endless! 

Opt-out on having your bridal party buy bridesmaid dresses. Instead, have them wear something special and more dressed up that can match your wedding colours. Most of the time, bridesmaid dresses are only ever worn once so why not skip out on them! As a photographer, I can assure you different colour/style bridesmaid dresses are beautiful in photos! 

10. DIY Wedding Favors

Most of the time wedding favors are wasted. A lot of people usually forget about wedding favors or don’t use them. Wedding favors are by far the easiest thing to do yourself for your wedding. Instead of buying wedding favors, do it yourself. This way they become sentimental and will encourage your friends and family to take them home. Here are a few DIY wedding favors ideas: 

  • Succulents
  • Baked goodies
  • Homemade Soy candles 
  • Hot chocolate kits
  • Seeds to grow your own flowers 

There’s no such thing as a perfect wedding so don’t strive for perfection. Instead, aim for sustainability. Planning an ethically sustainable wedding can be stressful especially for beginners so don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Having a sustainable wedding is about taking small steps to make a change and not at all about perfection. As long as you are being intentional and thoughtful about what you do then you are doing your best! 

Photo of bride and groom, bride in lace elopement dress, groom in black traditional wedding suit

If you’re looking for a photographer who is an advocate for an eco-friendly lifestyle with a love for the great outdoors get in touch with me ​​here!