Green Your WeddingA 2017 Unilever study found that 33% of consumers, or one in three, prefer to choose brands that support social or environmental causes. This fundamental value transcends through purchases as well as coordination of events, even ones as big as weddings. Eco-friendly weddings are a great way to express your personal values while making memories that will last a lifetime with the one you love. Here are just a few creative ideas for incorporating eco-friendly elements into your big day.

Choose A Natural Venue

There are countless wedding venues designed with the couple in mind, but don’t feel like you can’t get creative and opt for a more natural setting. This may mean choosing a venue with plenty of plants and greenery, but it could also be a good idea to explore more residential options. If you have a friend or family member with a yard that’s landscaped to perfection, consider asking if they’d do the honor of letting you use their yard for the ceremony and/or reception. After all, according to the Houzz’s 2016 Landscaping and Garden Trends Study, approximately 51% of homeowners report wanting pathways as a hardscaping element in their backyards, and both landscaping and hardscaping elements can make beautiful additions to any wedding theme or arrangement — because Mother Nature provides a look that never goes out of style!

Go Digital

When it comes time to create and send out your save-the-dates and invitations, consider keeping them digital. The fact is, Americans recycle more paper products than they send to landfills. The U.S. paper industry set a goal of a 60% scrap paper recovery rate by 2012 but achieved this goal three years early. Still, saving paper means saving trees, and every effort you take to conserve resources really does make an impact.

Consider Natural/Plantable Wedding Favors

This is a fun, quirky idea that can be incorporated into just about any celebration. When choosing the favors for your wedding, seize the opportunity to incorporate something natural into the mix, such as small potted saplings or other seeds. There are also a ton of edible favor options to satisfy guests with a major sweet tooth.

“Look to local businesses like coffee houses for a bag of their signature beans, candy shops for chocolate bars (easy on the paper wrapping) or jams in reusable glass jars from an orchard. Another idea? Send your guests home with your wedding flowers — have an attendant ready to arrange your florals into individual bouquets for friends and family to enjoy for a few more days in their homes,” writes Tia Albright on The Knot.

Choose Attire Carefully

When deciding on attire for both yourselves as the couple as well as the rest of the wedding party, don’t feel like you have to follow traditional methods and buy new everything. If you’re starting from scratch, it’s a good idea to begin shopping at vintage clothing shops and boutiques. But if you have a dress you’re considering reusing but are worried it may not be your style, consider taking it to a seamstress to modify it to your liking.

If you do choose to buy a brand new dress, consider choosing an organic or otherwise eco-friendly materials and fabrics, such as organic cotton, hemp, or silk.

Ultimately, an average of 2.4 million weddings are performed in the United States each year. Understanding the small yet significant steps you can take to incorporate eco-friendly elements into your big day is the key to planning a wedding that truly reflects your values.

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