That's a lot! But it doesn't have to be like this. If you are reading this blog, it means you have decided or thought about making a change and I'm so happy to be part of your journey.
Before we jump into the checklist, I want to remind you that D'light Events offers free consultations on how to plan eco-friendly events, contact us here. Even if you ARE an event planner, don't hesitate to contact us for ideas and consultation, we also work with industry professionals! We are proud to be a member of the Sustainable Events Network, Florida & Caribbean (SENFC) which is a sustainability resource for individuals, associations, corporations, event planners, and event venues in Florida and the Caribbean but we are available to guide you to environmentally conscious decisions where ever you are located. It can be overwhelming to find out the vendors and all important information, so outsourcing this part or at least asking for a supportive hand can save you a lot of time and stress.
Now alright, you have a wedding to plan, so let's jump into the list.
How to Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding Checklist:
This is difficult because usually, people expect a full menu at the wedding. Even though portion sizes are probably the biggest issue in events, you also want to consider supporting organic and local ingredients. From my own experience, I know supporting local and organic can turn quite expensive. The benefit is that it helps me to keep the portion sizes smaller and not overdo the food. But I know it can easily run out of hand and the fear of not having enough can make food orders hard to control.
My best advice is:
- Plated dinner. Yes, do it. You will upscale your wedding from 1 to 10, and save so many leftovers.
My second piece of advice, if you are doing a buffet:
- Smaller the portion sizes! Inform this in the buffet table (eg. One file reserved per person).
Most importantly, hire a professional catering company who is specialized in eco-conscious weddings. This is so important! If you work with someone who doesn't, your wedding will probably be filled with green-washed items or the "ugly truth" is hidden from you behind the kitchen doors.
2. Drinks and Bar
Another thing to consider is the ethicality of your drinks. Where is the wine coming from? Can you support a local winery? Try sourcing wines that are made with organic practices, look into biodynamic, natural, and organic wines. The same comes when you choose your ingredients in the bar, all vodka is not the same, find the ones that support ethical practices.
Thankfully, weddings don't usually have balloons. Elegant and chic weddings usually don't require over-the-top decorations, which is why I would recommend finding a venue that has stunning elements and doesn't need crazy decoration. Look at venues with a view, a garden, or venues that already come with stunning decorations.
- Instead of purchasing decor items, try to use natural ingredients like flowers and plants.
- A good way to save money = combine decorations and favors. This way you are giving away the decor instead of throwing it away after the wedding.
- Rent decorations with us. It can be flag banners or artificial flower table decorations, we can have you rent them instead of having you buy decor and throw it away right after the wedding. Contact us for more details!
- Wedding confetti should not be anything else except our Natural Flower Confetti.
Like mentioned above combine decorations and favors. What do I mean by this?
Here are some examples:
- Give plants - use them as centerpiece decor first
- Give goodie bags - have cute bags and seed paper cards ready by the dessert table where guests can take a sweet memory with them.
What do you really need? This is a great chance to show your guests how serious you are about sustainability. Guide your guests with green, recycled, reused, and vintage purchases, maybe you inspire them into a sustainable lifestyle!
If material is not your thing, you can consider asking for experiences instead of material. OR you could always ask your guests to donating to a good cause.
Have you thought about the families who have to travel from far away? Is there a way to get them to your wedding without having them travel? Pandemic has thought us a lot about the power of virtual parties and weddings. Flying your guests to your wedding is maybe not the best sustainable action.
If most of your guests are in your hometown but your venue requires transportation, organize a fun wedding bus with pick-up and drop-off locations that are convenient for your guests. This will save your guests from parking issues and also lower your wedding's carbon footprint!
Instead of regular paper invitations, you could consider the following;
- Edible invitations
- Seed paper invitations
- Electronic invitations
Rings can be a very personal purchase as well as wedding dress and suit, so many times couples may prefer them new. But, if you want to be environmentally conscious I would recommend considering vintage dresses and suits for you, the groom, best man, and bridesmaids... oh what the heck, why not encourage the whole guest list to use what they already have!
- For wedding dresses, you can always rent instead of buying your own.
- This is a good moment to ask your best friends, sisters, other family members, or even your mom for an old dress that you could tailor and reuse
If you decide to go with a new dress, find a local wedding dressmaker with sustainable fabric
Did you know your wedding ring might not be ethically sourced and producing it, it may cause lots of danger to the environment? I found this Eco-Friendly Wedding Rings and Engagement Rings -Guide from Everything Wedding Rings very helpful when I was doing research on how to make eco-friendly choices with wedding rings. They say, "By far, the metals which have the highest environmental cost are gold, palladium, and platinum. One ounce of mined gold can produce over 20 tons of waste; palladium and platinum mines produce extremely large amounts of waste as well. Around the world, every country is dealing with hazardous wastes left over from these mines, including the United States. If you want an eco-friendly gold, platinum, or palladium ring, consider purchasing used wedding rings or recycled wedding rings."
It's hard to work with a venue that is not committed to the environmental actions, therefore, to save your time and nerves we absolutely recommend venues that are already practicing environmental movements and support your idea.