Weddings can be incredibly expensive, and they also sometimes unfortunately involve a lot of unnecessary waste. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to throw an affordable, ethical and earth-friendly event. It just requires some smart wedding planning while keeping a picture bigger than just your big day in mind. If you and your groom want to be green, take some simple steps to keep the earth in mind while creating a wonderfully beautiful and memorable event that won’t leave a crazy big carbon footprint!
The Many Ways to Host an Ethical Wedding
- Before you choose wedding rings, doing a bit of research can help you unearth conflict-free diamonds! Choosing heirloom pieces from either of your families, or vintage jewelry is another way to help limit violence often involved in diamond sourcing. You could also use the opportunity to support local artisans that use recycled materials. Checking sites like Etsy is a great place to start.
- When it comes to food, live and wedding plan by the mantra, “Eat local.” Choosing organic, seasonal and local produce and other foods can help keep your costs and your carbon footprint small! Plus, it’s a great way to encourage creativity from your caterer, and to create a menu that guests will remember long after the summer squash or pumpkin ravioli is gone.
- Flowers are also more affordable when sourced while in-season. It also limits how much shipping must be done. Of course, an even greener alternative to traditional florals, is to use succulents or other potted plants to serve as your primary arrangements, since they can live and thrive long after your wedding day. Bonus: they make great wedding favors!
- Speaking of favors, most brides want to provide guests with cute wedding gifts. But how many of those monogrammed candles or cozies only end up collecting dust on closet shelves, or worse, end up in the trash? Many also come from companies with poor working conditions in poorly monitored factories overseas. If you want to provide something truly useful to your guests, and ethical, think outside the typical favor boxes. Instead consider foods, like locally sourced honey or even homemade sauces or spice mixes (which are especially great if you have a family recipe to work from). You could also give flower or vegetable seed packets, recycled wine bottle tumblers, or make part of the reception entertainment a built-in gift, by hiring a caricaturist or photobooth!
- As for wedding registries, consider asking guests to donate to local charities in lieu of stocking your house with things you might not need. If you know your guests will enjoy the opportunity to shop, you could even ask that they bring traditional wedding gifts like dishes and housewares, but in order to help families entering their first home through Habitat for Humanity, or similar organizations.
- You could also talk to your florist about donating your arrangements to nearby nursing homes or hospitals. It’s a great way to spread joy, and also to keep those beautiful flowers from going to waste.
- Your caterer might also be able to donate any leftover food to a nearby charity. Just make sure you arrange for delivery ahead of time.