7 Totally Doable Tips for a Zero-Waste Eco-Friendly Wedding

Congratulations— you’ve finally set your wedding date! You can already see the big day in your mind. In your dream venue, you and your future spouse are surrounded by the friends and family you love. It looks absolutely perfect.

Well, maybe on the outside. The harsh truth is that behind every beautiful wedding is trash. More specifically, the average 6-hour, 100-person wedding leaves behind up to 600 pounds of waste. That doesn’t include the massive carbon footprint of guests traveling to your area.

Because of this, more couples are going in the direction of zero-waste weddings. Not sure where to start? Try to weave these eco-friendly details into your wedding celebration:

1.       Give out paperless or recycled wedding invitations.

No couple wants to hear this, but the truth is, most printed wedding invitations will go straight to the trash. Paper accounts for more than 26% of the world’s total waste, so why add more to it?

Instead, go for eco-friendly recycled paper options. Some companies even offer seeded paper that your guests can plant to grow into flowers!

If you want to go the extra mile, skip printed invitations altogether and design e-invites. A green choice that also saves you time and money! Send them directly to your guests’ e-mail address. You can also integrate it with a digital guest lists, which makes it easier to manage.

2.       Hold the wedding in an eco-friendly venue.

Rather than renting out a hall that produce massive amounts of trash from decorations and other objects, consider greener venues like gardens, farms, beaches, or parks. All of them provide magnificent scenery and enough space to celebrate with your guests.

Try asking the venue management about their composting and sustainable practices as well. Do they have reusable décor you can use? If they don’t have an in-house composting program, can they partner with a local program to recycle the biodegradable waste your wedding will produce?

In addition, try to avoid a destination wedding if you’re incredibly committed to a zero-waste celebration. It’s fun, sure, but your guests will burn massive amounts of fossil fuel just traveling to and from the destination.

3.       Use eco-friendly beauty products.

Make-up is a huge part of weddings. For a zero-waste wedding, invest in brands that provide 100% natural formulas and sustainable packing.

For instance, Last Object online store has designed reusable facial swabs, cotton rounds, and other beauty products that are good for your skin, can be reused hundreds of times, and packed in compostable materials. Furthermore, try researching make-up brands that observe sustainable practices as well.

4.       Don’t let food go to waste.

Most wedding receptions leave a lot of leftovers behind. Don’t waste it! Insist that your hotel, venue, restaurant, or catering company donate leftovers to local food banks or recycle it for compost. Put it into the contract before you sign it.

Rent your wedding venue décor instead of buying new.

Don’t worry— you can still totally customize the look of your wedding even if you rent décor! Talk to your venue or wedding coordinator, and see if they can recommend places where you can rent items that fit your theme.

5.       Rethink your wedding gifts.

Ask your guests not to wrap their gifts nor bring it to the venue. Instead, requests for their gifts to be delivered directly to your home. You can also set up a couple fund they can contribute to instead of material gifts, or send you gift cards instead. All of these helps reduce the amount of plastic, wrappers, cardboard, and other waste that gifts usually generate.

Better yet, consider asking them to donate to an environmental charity in lieu of gifts to the couple. Not only did you support a green advocacy, but your guests did too!

6.       Keep food local.

Support your community while throwing a zero-waste wedding at the same time! Consider catering your wedding with locally-sourced food from ethical producers and shops.

7.       Go for reusable party favors.

Don’t send your guests home with waste. Skip the trinkets, and instead, give reusable and useful wedding favors. Here are a few ideas:

  • Succulents, customized seed packets, and other blooms
  • Edible wedding favors (from local shops and farmers, of course!)
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Tote bags
  • Personalized soaps
  • Beautiful scented candles
  • Hand sanitizers in reusable containers

With a few simple steps, you can celebrate the wedding of your dreams while doing the least harm to the environment.

As a bonus, many of the tips above will help you save money on your wedding. Instead of spending your budget on décor, invitations, and other usual wedding items that will go to waste in a few hours, spend it on your honeymoon or building your future instead.

Finally, try inviting your guests to contribute any green wedding ideas they have, as well! Make it a celebration not just of love, but of a greener life and community, too.

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Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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