BY TARYN JEREZ
“How much waste will there be on my special day?” This isn’t exactly a question at the forefront of your mind when planning your wedding. Although, the idea of being a more sustainable and environmentally friendly bride has definitely become much more mainstream, and, in 2019, even considered trendy. And, all within good reason!
According to the Green Bride Guide, “…an average wedding produces 400 pounds of garbage! With an estimated 2.5 million weddings per year, that is about one billion pounds of trash.” As the concept of waste-free weddings rises in popularity, they can not only make a positive impact on the environment but the budget of the bride and groom as well.
When you are checking things off your wedding to-do list, here are a few simple tips that make creating a waste-free wedding easier than you’d think:
Embrace Sustainability & Secondhand
From decorations to dining, there are so many different options that can help gear your wedding toward making a better environmental footprint. One of the easiest ways to hone in on reducing waste is to think about the things you already have access to that can be reused for your big day! Upcycled centerpieces out of mason jars from your kitchen or vintage vases from your grandma can work beautifully. Have friends who were married in the last few years? See what might be available to borrow or upcycle into a new look for your wedding.
Book Vendors and Venues with a Similar Mission
As you are finding the perfect venue to have your ceremony and reception, don’t be afraid to voice your desire to have your wedding be more sustainable or eco-friendly. Same thing for your florists, caterers, photographer and all other vendors. Creating conversation around what they can offer and what processes they have in place that align with your goals is a great way to add confidence in your choices. Let your caterer know you don’t want any food waste, and see if they can help arrange drop off at a local food bank or have it used for compost. Check with your vendors to see if they mind using email for communication and online invoicing to avoid needless amounts of wasted paper.
Limit the Number of Disposables Throughout Events
While we’re talking specifically about weddings, there are so many other wedding-related events along the way that have the opportunity to increase sustainability while decreasing waste! Think about a way to limit disposables at celebrations like bachelor and bachelorette parties, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners and next day wedding brunches as well. Steer clear of paper or plastic plates, cups and utensils when able and swing towards reusable or eco-friendly where possible. Another option is to consider your decorations for these events and reduce one-time-use things like balloons and crepe paper that gets tossed at the end. Instead, you could use some beautifully potted succulents or other plants in your colors.
Think About the Big Picture Essentials
It’s easy to get sucked into the mentality of “more is more” during wedding planning when the reality is that less really is more! Think about the things that matter most in making your day special and memorable, and cut out anything that doesn’t need to be there along the way to avoid extra expenses and waste. Something as simple as thinking long term when choosing what to add to your wedding registry can make a difference long term. Add things you truly need and want and forgo the items that may wind up in the trash unused. Honing in the wedding décor can be helpful, too. Many couples find that wedding favors will more than likely be thrown out, so be intentional about providing an eco-friendly gift or something you know will be appreciated and used.