A 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!
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.
Reusable Dry Cleaning Bags
What about a reusable dry cleaner bag? Makes sense if you dry clean often and maybe the dry cleaners could promote them with their own logo and be really “eco-friendly” and cool.
I was recently sent the Clothesnik dry cleaning bag and stored by dry cleaning bag because it has two purposes and comes with a draw string. I explained to the friendly dry cleaner I needed the bag dry cleaned or washed and then my clothes hung in the Clothesnik bag instead of a plastic bag. Again, I looked like I had a third eye but I’m getting used to this. I explained that that it takes as long as 500 years for a plastic bag to degrade and it’s bad for the oceans, animals and my children. I was helping the environment and making things easy for myself.
The nice gentleman smiled but was confused.
When I picked up my dry cleaning the lady was very impressed and asked more about the bags. She wanted to tell her other customers. Once you start something and people can see that there are alternatives then a ripple is made and hopefully a wave. All we can do is try and change our habits. The bags are only $30 and are available at www.reusenik.com.
Green Your Makeup Routine
Your wedding day should be filled with new make-up products that keep you looking fresh and natural. Why can’t your beauty products be natural too? They can be! My biggest recommendation are Korres Products (www.korresus.com). Sold online through www.korresusa.com. You can also find most Korres products at Sephora (www.sephora.com).
Make sure that when you are having your make-up trial – that you bring your own products and ask your artist if they can use all natural make-up products in addition to whatever you are providing. They may have more options for you that you might love.
When shopping for new body products, make sure you they are paraben, sulfate and phosphate free (at least). Try to look for the USDA organic label and see if the ingredient list is actually easy to read! One of the best and oldest products on the market is Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (www.drbronner)! They have a whole line of organic body products that can be bought online and even at Target stores!
Eco-Friendly Wedding Registry Ideas
I have shared many tips on how to incorporate green into your wedding day but if you’re looking for some eco-friendly items for your wedding registry, check out these suggestions from Blueprint Registry.
- A no-brainer for a couple committed to saving the planet. Full Circle 3.4 qt. Breeze Countertop Compost Bin
- Nothing is less eco-friendly than plastic water bottles, so a reusable bottle like this one will not only make you look good, but feel good, too. S’well Water Bottle – 17 oz, Teakwood
- Reduce your carbon emissions and get moving while you’re at it. A bike makes a great group gift, too! Women’s Deluxe Cruiser Bike
- Using a drying rack will cut down on your electricity bill immensely (and keep your delicates from getting damaged!). Maniac 3-tier Laundry Drying Rack (Compact) – Macy’s
- Rather than blowing through rolls of paper towels, use these reusable towels for everything from wiping spills to drying your hands. Washable Reusable Bamboo Towels
- Durable, dishwasher safe, and a huge step in the right direction to keep your kitchen green. Reusable Vaccum Storage Bags
Last but certainly not least comes the honeymoon. There are so many ways you can save here from driving instead of flying (or catching the train). To picking the most eco-friendly accommodation. But, rather than bombard you with all the information on it here, I have written a dedicated post.
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.
Here are some other ideas…
Ditch the water bottles
Every single hour, Americans use roughly 2.5 million plastic bottles. While it can be tempting to bring plastic bottles with you on your honeymoon, it’s better to ditch them altogether. You can get drinks from local restaurants and stands on the beach that don’t require the use of a bottle. Then you won’t have to worry about your bottles ending up in the ocean and harming sea life.
Ditch other plastics too
Single-use plastics are a serious problem around the world, but they are especially an issue for tourist destinations. For this reason, more than 40 countries have already started launching programs to raise awareness and reduce consumption of single-use plastics. When you’re traveling for your honeymoon, try not to use plastic straws, plastic utensils, or even plastic bags. You might just save a sea turtle’s life.
Many honeymoon destinations rely on tourist season to stay afloat. How does this relate to the environment? Well, for example, more than 50,000 gas stations have been abandoned since 1991 after big box stores like Walmart and Costco became more popular and started selling gasoline, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores. To counteract this trend, the “shop local” movement has spread around the world in recent years. Don’t abandon this ethos on your honeymoon.
Locally owned stores are often better for both the environment and the local economy. While you travel, take the time to patronize local businesses and sample the local food.
Look into your sunscreen
When you’re on your honeymoon, you obviously don’t want to get a sunburn. So, it’s obvious that you want to wear sunscreen. It’s important to know, though, that some sunscreens are toxic for the environment. Check the ingredients on the sunscreen you use to see if it has oxybenzone and octinoxate. Destinations like Hawaii have passed laws banning these chemicals because it is harmful to sea corals.
Carry a tote to the beach
When you go to the beach for the day, you might bring some picnic type items to each lunch, towels to lie on, and other small bottles like sunscreen. There’s nothing inherently wrong with having those items at the beach, but it becomes harmful when you leave them on the sand. Bring a tote with you to carry your waste back out with you so it does not get into the sea.
According to WWF, a leading conservation charity, tourists are responsible for the 40% increase of marine litter entering the sea during tourist season. This garbage consists of 95% plastic waste. Do your part when you travel for your honeymoon and keep the plastic use to a minimum, and recycle everything you can.