Your Eco-friendly Wedding Needs these Planning Tips and Advice
These days environmental sustainability has been a hot topic and even more so it’s a hot trend for 2024 weddings. Look no further than the new initiative Maggie Sottero Designs has created about making low-impact wedding dresses that scream sustainability. But the dress is but one aspect. So what does it mean to truly plan an eco-friendly, sustainable, or green wedding? There are many considerations, but if this is something your heart’s set on, you have lots of options and we got with Oregon’s first Green Certified Wedding Planner, Elise Handler. She’s also the Owner and Lead Coordinator of Keen Events and has shared all the details you’ll need when planning an eco-friendly wedding so you can do your part for the environment, too.
Breaking Down The Decisions
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we — what does it mean to plan an eco-friendly wedding? Keen Events tells us, “Our eco-friendly wedding couples are typically incorporating various components of sustainability into their day. Between all of the vendors to book and all of the decisions that need to be made, our couples are able to pick the areas which they feel are most impactful to make sustainable choices without sacrificing the overall vision or vibe for their day.” Notice how our expert pointed out these decisions don’t have to sacrifice the vision or vibe of your wedding. . . . What’s better than that?
Now, the natural starting point for many couples planning their wedding is finding their venue. Some venues are eco-friendly or practice sustainability, but there’s even more to think about as Keen Events notes. “The main factor that makes a venue eco-friendly is the location — where is the venue located in relation to where guests are staying? Are both the ceremony and reception able to be held at the one location, or would guests need to travel between locations? When we are working with a venue that is located within walking distance to where our couple has their room blocks, and if all events are held at the one location, we are fostering a more sustainable event than one where guests are shuttled around or taking individual transportation.” So you don’t necessarily have to drop a bigger check to be eco-friendly when thinking about your venue, although venues with those missions certainly are worthwhile. Small decisions like distance and location also make an impact. And there’s plenty more where that one came from, especially when it comes to the details.
The Details to Swap
With so many details that go into a wedding there’s plenty of details that can be intentionally chosen, or swapped, for more eco-conscience decisions. Keen Events has shared with us some of the elements or details Elise has suggested or seen her couples swap with a few pro tips in between, so scroll through and see what speaks to you.
Rugs or plants from the home can be used as decor! How exciting and creative, right? That way you “don't need to buy something like a card catcher when you can use a basket or tray you already have at home styled on your coffee table. Your home and your wedding should both be representations of YOU so you may be able to look around your home and find pieces that can double as wedding decor (or buy pieces that you can later incorporate into your home),” she explains.
Flowers are such a big, traditional part of weddings, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative here. Keen Events suggests working with local farmers or sourcing seasonal blooms. “We also encourage our couples to work with florists who don't use foam or dyes in their process.”
Pro Tip: You can also rent faux flowers to reduce waste; this way they are recycled, refreshed, and passed along to another wedding. And if the company you’re renting from ships with SFI-certified supplier packaging, you’re golden.
The options are practically endless for this category! Keen Events notes you could go the obvious route of electronic invites, or even QR codes, but what Elise really loves is “when our couples use recycled paper for their invitations (you’d never know the difference) or some have even used seed paper that you can plant!”
P.S. We’ve seen biodegradable seed paper with compostable packaging and it’s genius!
Consider natural elements, like using “rocks or high-end cuts of various rock materials for day-of signage.”
This is another area you’d want to rent. Keen Events encourages their couples to rent all wedding day fabrics so they don't have to worry about what to do with them after! And again, you can kick it up a notch, by finding out how the vendor ships or delivers them to reduce the carbon footprint.
Activities + Entertainment
Another area rocks are a favorite. Guests can hand paint rocks as an activity, leaving them for the couple so they can add them to their garden, our certified expert suggests. Or they can take them home as a favor, just saying. Another idea is to hire a local painter to paint rocks for the guests to take home as favors — then it becomes live entertainment, too!
We already mentioned how Maggie Sottero Designs is changing the wedding dress landscape with their eco-conscious efforts, but we happen to love another idea that Keen Events tells their couples about — shop local, which sell brand new and gently used wedding dresses. An example of this is Brides for a Cause.
Photos courtesy of Keen Events, by Lindsay Newton from Til Death Do We Adventure
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