How to organize an eco-friendly wedding

The wedding industry can be inherently wasteful. In fact, on average 400lbs of trash is produced for one wedding. All the elements that go into just one day are often discarded afterward, even though they could be put to another use. The manufacturing process to generate new wedding products can also be incredibly wasteful and harmful to our environment, and most people don’t think about this end of things. 

But once we know…. We know. And it’s hard to look at all the unnecessary wedding waste and not wonder… there must be another way! 

We’ve asked Emily & Maria, two wedding planners, to share their expertise on how to best organize an eco-friendly wedding.

Emily & Maria began to explore ways to address how to reduce waste generated by weddings. They founded the Green Wedding Guild to focus on educating wedding professionals about sustainable practices, encouraging sustainability initiatives, and helping to connect couples with vendors that will support their eco-friendly goals. 

Photo by Jaclyn Auletta

“We think it’s really important for more wedding professionals to be made aware of more sustainable wedding practices, as they may not know there are alternative ways to operate.”

It’s possible to make the industry more sustainable

Each vendor has a role to play in making this industry more sustainable, and the Green Wedding Guild is on a mission to help direct clients toward more eco-friendly weddings! 

Yes, it takes planning to make waste reduction a part of a vendor’s process. But since weddings need planning no matter what, once they’ve made these intentions part of their process, it becomes much easier to implement!

It’s time to freshen up our views on weddings. Weddings have been around forever, and many wedding professionals learned a specific way of doing things. Even if they are more environmentally conscious in their personal lives, it may not have occurred to them that there could be alternative, more eco-friendly practices they could implement in their business! 

By educating wedding vendors, Green Wedding Guild also helps to educate couples, as many couples turn to their hired vendors for guidance. 

Photo by Rose Trail Images

3 main misconceptions about green weddings

Eco-friendly weddings are not yet the norm because this practice unfortunately also carries many misconceptions.

The 3 main ones are the following: 

  • It’s going to cost more
  • It is inconvenient and it means renouncing our dream weddings
  • There is only a specific aesthetic to follow and it will be too restrictive

 

As with any wedding, it all depends on a couple’s choices and priorities, as well as accessibility. Many sustainable practices help couples to simplify and save money, and there are many options so that any desired look can be achieved

For example, a second-hand gown will likely cost significantly less than a brand new one, or a sustainably-made gown could cost the same as you might find a conventionally-made gown. There are a variety of options when planning a sustainable wedding and there’s no one size fits all approach!

Photo by Rose Trail Images

Benefits of green weddings

  • Save money

One of the most surprising benefits of green weddings as we just saw is that couples end up saving money by making more intentional purchases.

  • Aligned with the couple’s values

Wouldn’t you want the most important day of your life to be aligned with your values? If reducing waste and protecting the environment is already important to you, then having a green wedding will make this day even more special. 

  • A more personal approach

Depending on the choices a couple makes, their guests may or may not even know that they attended a green wedding, but most of the time when couples plan with intention, their guests notice how personal and special every detail becomes making the whole day feel more unique.

3 ideas to have a green wedding

  • Reduce food & flowers waste

Some of the most obvious areas of waste are flowers and food- this is the “waste” that is most visible on a wedding day. These are also some of the simplest areas to reduce waste, as organic leftovers can be composted and returned to the earth, or food and flowers can be donated. 

  • Consider the lifespan of each item

Consider the lifespan of each item involved in a wedding. Where did it come from? Are there environmental concerns associated with the production of this item? What alternatives exist for sourcing it? What will happen to it after the wedding? Can it be reused, sold, or donated? Thinking through things like this adds a layer of intentionality to each event, and makes every decision all the more special for a couple!

  • Use compostable tableware

If you are looking for disposable tableware, go compostable. SellSage offers compostable tableware that is a great eco-friendly alternative that is still very convenient. They have an elegant and natural style that will fit your decor perfectly and they can be composted in a backyard or community compost for example afterward in about 45 days. 

Green wedding planner

A planner is an advocate for the couple, and is there to provide the guidance that comes naturally with experience and knowledge. Ultimately though, each decision is up to the client. Green wedding planners like Emily & Maria are here to present couples with a variety of choices, particularly focusing on ones that would have a more positive impact on the environment. 

“In our experience, we’ve found that most couples want to make more eco-friendly choices, but may not be aware of what options are available to them.”

Wedding professionals can apply to join the Green Wedding Guild on their website, and as a member, they will have access to upcoming educational events and workshops, recordings of past events, networking opportunities, and an exclusive Facebook community, as well as receive a listing on our member directory. Most importantly, they will be declaring their commitment to move towards a more sustainable industry! Both couples and vendors can benefit from the Green Wedding Guild blog and social media content @greenweddingguild, full of tips and information about sustainable weddings. 

SellSage is proud to be a member of the Green Wedding Guild Directory and to participate in the green wedding industry. 

Check out our entire collection of elegant compostable tableware made of naturally fallen palm leaves and USDA-certified biobased.

Thank you Emily & Maria for sharing your expertise and for facilitating an eco-conscious shift in the wedding industry.

Visit the Green Wedding Guild website

Follow the Green Wedding Guild on social media

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