A couple embracing on a wooden walkway in a forest, celebrating their sustainable wedding.

6 Ways to Achieve a Sustainable Wedding

Remember how you’d go through treasured wedding photos of older relatives when you were little, trying to take in all the delicious details of every wedding occasion? From the gorgeous lace and tulle of your mom’s wedding dress to the delectable hors d’ oeuvres—you were just mesmerized by anything and everything that had to do with weddings. And today, your engagement day has arrived, and the preparations for your wedding will be in high gear from this very moment.

But now, it’s more than just little girl wedding fancies that fill up your consciousness. As an adult, you are well aware of the grave environmental dangers of global warming and climate change. Hardly a month passes when you don’t hear of oil spillages, forest fires, and flooding brought about by carelessness and greed. And momentous celebrations, such as weddings, can be among the most wasteful of events. The average wedding emits 63 metric tons of CO2. If a ton of CO2 is offset by 31 fully grown trees (at the minimum!), a typical wedding will require at least 1,953 trees to fully offset its carbon footprint.

A well-planned sustainable wedding will ensure that you get to enjoy the wedding of your dreams without having the environment go up in smoke—and that could mean literally too! With these eco-friendly ways to “green up” your wedding, you don’t have to make a choice between your heart’s desires and the survival of future generations.

sustainable weddings

Image Source

Tip#1. Choose eco-friendly suppliers

It will save you a ton of going back and forth with your wedding suppliers if they, too, are environmentally conscious. Check out if they have environmental policies in place, such as repurposing, ecological waste disposal, even fair trade practices that entail the services of local artisans.

Admittedly, it is difficult to find a vendor that is 100% green. Even digital photography isn’t low-impact. However, the individual initiatives of vendors to do everything they can will result in a strong collective impact towards the achievement of sustainable goals. The environment can always make use of more kindness.

Image Source

Tip#2. Take the local route

Do you want a wedding venue that is more intimate and organic yet without the high cost, one that is accessible and convenient for everyone while having a low impact on the environment? You can have all these in one fell swoop by choosing a local venue instead of having a destination wedding.

Air travel contributes the most carbon emissions in destination weddings. According to Blue Sky Model, an open-source estimate of carbon dioxide emissions, one air mile is equivalent to 53.3 lbs of CO2. Not only does less flying reduce carbon footprint, but it also does away with the stresses that come with traveling. With a local venue, such as a relative’s garden or your parents’ homestead, no one will have to worry about missing a flight or forgetting to bring their prescription meds.

Image Source

Tip#3. Choose a rustic theme

While it is possible to create a sustainable wedding event with a Game of Thrones or The Crown theme, it will be more challenging to execute. You can indeed use yards of repurposed fabric for the wedding attire of guests to make it more plausible. However, that can be way too inconvenient, especially with all the pre-and post-wedding washing.

Ditch the complications and instead go for a simple yet still beautiful event, one with fewer frills but which can be equally enjoyable. Embracing a rustic theme is the perfect way to have a sustainable wedding. You will have many opportunities to use natural and recyclable materials, from your repurposed wedding props down to your wooden tableware. Everything will tie up together neatly for that authentic and organic look.

Image Source

Tip#4. Go for an au naturel look

Gone are the days of stiff bridal hairstyles held in place by hairsprays. More and more modern brides prefer a more natural and relaxed look using handy hairpins and accessories instead of toxic aerosol sprays. From messy top buns to braided knots and youthful ponytails, there are many natural looks to choose from for the bride, her entourage, and wedding guests. You can also have your long tresses flowing freely and simply adorned with a natural floral hairpiece.

Your skin also has to look its best as well. Boost your pre-wedding skincare routine with organic products that are cruelty-free. Look out for both natural and naturally derived ingredients that are beneficial to your skin. On your wedding day, you can either go for a sheer, earthy look or one that is dewy and sun-kissed. To accomplish this, choose from several ethical cosmetics companies that deliver high-quality makeup that is kinder to your skin and the environment.

Image Source

Tip#5. Cherish “something old and borrowed”

One great way to honor your mom is by asking that you wear her wedding dress to your own special day. A few nips and tucks here and there, and you should be able to make the dress match your own size and style without losing its original look. Another sweet move is to accept the proposal of your prospective spouse along with  his mom’s heirloom jewelry, which can also be resized to fit your delicate ring finger. These are but a few ways to make pre-loved treasures part of your love story and of your repurposing efforts for the environment.

You can also save a great deal by borrowing or renting. Some of the items that come to mind are tablecloths and centerpieces, glassware, vintage vases, and other exquisite wedding decors. To create a unified look, it would be best to avail of the services of an eco-friendly wedding supplier.

Image Source

Tip#6. “Green up” your spread

The U.K. is a beef-loving country. Did you know that a staggering 242,828 tons of beef were imported in 2020? And that’s not even taking into account the country’s consumption from internal production. The decision to have meat as a staple part of your diet has dire consequences. Industrial meat, in fact, is the single largest cause of global deforestation. To raise cattle, swathes of forest are deliberately set on fire to make way for ranch land. The carbon emissions released by cattle, such as methane and CO2, further accelerate global warming. As if these reasons weren’t enough, meat consumption can also lead to high cholesterol levels and an increased risk of coronary heart diseases.

Go green on your wedding spread by including plant-based alternative dishes. For starters, you can serve zucchini chips, tomato basil soup with oyster crackers, or spicy cauliflower bites with vegan cheese sauce. For your salad choices, you can go for a Mexican elote grain salad or a warm sweet potato and shiitake salad. Come dinnertime, serve up some scallion mushroom dumplings with Provencal fried cauliflower. You can also opt to leave the menu planning to an ethical wedding caterer. Don’t forget to up your sustainability game by choosing or asking for locally-grown, seasonal, and organic produce.

Final Thoughts

Mahatma Gandhi once said that “What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”

Regardless of how minute or substantial our decisions are, they will always have reverberating consequences on someone, sometime, somewhere on the planet. Choosing a sustainable wedding is making that responsible decision to save the only habitat we will ever know—both for ourselves and for the rest of humanity.

You might also like: