Spotlight: Sustainable Wedding Ideas

Experts share eco-friendly tips to minimize your wedding's carbon footprint
Written by
Laura Cross

Are you planning a wedding and looking for ways to make your special day more eco-friendly? In an era where environmental sustainability is at the forefront of our minds, why not extend these principles to your wedding? We've gathered expert tips to help you create a wedding that's not only memorable but also environmentally responsible. From eco-conscious candles to locally sourced ingredients, here are some great ideas to reduce your wedding's carbon footprint.

1. Pass Your Wedding Dress Forward
Erin Scharf of Blue Sky Bridal wisely suggests, 'Sell or donate your wedding dress so it gets worn down the aisle a second time!' Rather than letting your beautiful gown collect dust, consider giving it a second life. Erin provides two eco-conscious options:

  1. Donate Your Wedding Dress for a Tax Write-Off: Donating your dress to organizations like 'Brides for a Cause' not only helps brides on a budget but can also earn you a tax write-off. It's a win-win for your wallet and the environment.

  2. Consign Your Wedding Dress with Blue Sky Bridal: If you'd like to recoup some of your expenses, consign your wedding dress with Blue Sky Bridal. This sustainable approach allows another bride to cherish and wear your gown once more.

Spotted Stills Photograph, featuring Brides For A CauseSpotted Stills Photograph, featuring Brides For A Cause

2. Save A Tree
Consider switching out traditional wedding invitation cardstock for a more eco-friendly option. Lexie Rietze of Oblation Papers & Press offers a fantastic suggestion: "Switch out your wedding invitation cardstock for handmade paper! Made from 100% cotton that is recycled from garment industry off-cuts, no trees are harmed in the process."

By opting for handmade paper, you not only avoid contributing to deforestation but also give a second life to recycled materials. To further minimize your carbon footprint, Rietze recommends setting up a wedding website or including QR codes on your invites instead of mailing physical invitations. This digital approach not only lessens fuel use associated with shipping but also saves you money on postage and reduces the amount of paper used.

Lexie Rietze, Courtesy of Oblation Papers & Press
Lexie Rietze

3. Embrace Vintage Jewelry
Eve Celsi of Maloy’s Jewelry offers a brilliant eco-friendly suggestion: "Think creatively about antique family jewelry to give new life to old pieces! Accent your up-do with grandma’s pin, wrap a too long strand of pearls around your wrist a few times to create a fresh looking bracelet, or have an experienced jeweler make earrings from the diamond sides of a broken cocktail watch."

Additionally, when considering your bridal party gifts, Eve Celsi also recommends, "Go with antique jewelry - it’s the prettiest recycling around! Get each of your bridesmaids a one-of-a-kind pendant made from a re-purposed stick-pin, like these from Maloy’s Jewelry."

Photo courtesy of Maloy's Jewelry
Photo courtesy of Maloy's Jewelry

4. I Scream Green
To reduce your carbon footprint while satisfying your guests' sweet tooth, Pat Meyer of The Mobile Scoop Shop recommends, "Waffle cone bowls make a perfect, crunchy edible addition to an ice cream social! Add compostable spoons or edible straws for added effect."

Photo by Pat Meyer
Pat Meyer

5. Rent Sustainable Elements
Cindy Labhun of Arden Event Collective offers a valuable tip: "Always consider renting elements for your wedding when you can. Event rentals such as tableware, linens, and glassware are naturally sustainable and elevate your whole look while reducing the carbon footprint of your event." Event rentals can also elevate the overall look of your wedding. You can choose from a wide variety of designs and styles to match your theme, ensuring that your wedding is both beautiful and eco-friendly.

Photo courtesy of Amanda K Photo Art
Photo courtesy of Amanda K Photo Art

6. Planet-Friendly Party Favors
Karlee Patton of Bad Portraits by Karlee suggests a heartfelt and ethical approach to wedding party favors: "Choose functional and eco-friendly party favors. Of course you want to treat your guests to some fun goodies or keepsakes. It's a sentimental occasion! Do you ever wonder how many party favors end up in the trash, even if they're cute? One of the best ways to reduce your wedding's carbon footprint is to give gifts that your guests will definitely use or keep (and can recycle). Consider paper goods like hand-drawn portraits (hi!) or a special treat in recyclable packaging—perhaps something local like coffee beans or jam."

Bad Portraits by Karlee
Bad Portraits by Karlee

7. Choose a Sustainable Venue
When selecting your wedding venue, prioritize locations that have received environmental certifications, like LEED Gold. These venues are committed to sustainable practices, which can significantly reduce the environmental impact of your event. Look for facilities with waste management, eco-friendly cleaning, and recycling programs to ensure your wedding aligns with eco-conscious values. Kameron Holmberg of The Allison highlights the importance of environmentally responsible venues: "The Allison is an eco-friendly luxury resort. We have been awarded the prestigious LEED Gold Certification. With waste and recycling management, eco-friendly cleaning and laundry practices, and locally sourced culinary programs, we take a tireless approach to environmental stewardship. We pride ourselves in being a pioneer in eco-friendly luxury."

Photo courtesy of The Allison
Photo Courtesy of The Allison Inn & Spa