5 UNEXPECTED ECOFRIENDLY TIPS FOR A SUSTAINABLE WEDDING
When it comes to reducing a wedding’s environmental impact, the opportunities are truly endless. The impact of a sustainable wedding starts long before everyone gets all dolled up for the big day and continues long after the vows are said and the guests have gone home.
With the help of some of our favorite wedding experts, we’ve rounded up a few more ideas of additional ways that couples can choose to create a more sustainable wedding, or add a new twist to old traditions, so they can rest assured that even though the eco-footprint may be small, the memories and legacy of their wedding won’t be.
Consider sustainable wedding favors! Guests love snacks. Snacks sourced from local vendors or the farmer’s market support the regional economy and ensure that wedding favors can be appreciated and consumed instead of ending up lost in a drawer of clutter while cutting down on the environmental impact of shipping long distances.
SMALL FLOWERS + PLANTS
Another idea for sustainable wedding favors? Small flowers or plants. These can even be incorporated into the decor – serving as table settings or forming larger arrangements around the venue. That way, guests leave with a new plant symbolizing the exciting journey the newlyweds are embarking on, the couple at the center of it all has one less thing to worry about as they plan, and the event staff have one less thing to dispose of after the event.
Depending on the venue’s location, driving and parking can be a source of added stress for wedding guests. On top of that, the environmental impact of so many cars (likely full of just one or two guests) on the road heading to the same destination can add up. Consider booking a shuttle or bus service, especially if many guests are staying at the same hotel(s)! This can reduce the wedding’s environmental impact, eliminate stress for guests, and, maybe even add a little extra fun. (Who doesn’t love the idea of traveling in a bus full of friends and guests all excited to celebrate the love of two people they care about?)
For those who are renting a bus or transportation for their guests, reminding them of this service is key. Dustin Weekes, with Shanghai Portland Party Bus and Tours says, “often couples will rent a bus but it’s only half full. We’ve brought two buses and only needed one because guests were not reminded and drove their own cars.” From his perspective, simply reminding guests of the transportation options that exist can be one of the most impactful ways that a couple can reduce their environmental impact and encourage a sustainable wedding mindset.
After the Party
Get creative with recycling and waste disposal. No one wants to think about how they’re going to get rid of all the trash that’s created from a wedding, but according to the Green Bride Guide, the average wedding produces 400 pounds of garbage and all that garbage has to go somewhere. A sustainable wedding is sounding a little better, huh? When we reached out to our vendors asking them what they’ve seen as professionals in the field and what they recommend from couples – overwhelmingly the responses brought up the amount of trash, single-use plastic, and other items that end up in the trash when they don’t need to be.
From clean up and disposal services like the Bend, OR based Broomsmen to simply just asking the venue about the possibility of setting up a recycling and/or compost system for guests to take advantage of, a little bit of planning in advance can go a long way to reducing how much ends up in a landfill after the guests have gone home.
Since 2015 Bend, Oregon based company The Broomsmen has been taking a hands-on approach to promoting zero waste and environmentally friendly events. The founder’s spent years in the event planning and wedding industry, seeing how often there was no plan for waste or, if there was, how often recycling wasn’t considered or managed properly. Eventually, they decided enough was enough.
Specializing in sustainable weddings, couples can hire The Broomsmen to work with their wedding planner to ensure that all waste management logistics are handled professionally and done in a way that reduces the amount of waste that will end up in a landfill after the event. They set up stylish recycling and composting stations, and even help with the breakdown and clean up so couples and their guests can enjoy their evening stress-free!
Break Down & Clean up: Now for the dirty work. Your event is winding down and your guests have left a trail of destruction. Who is left (sober enough) to help with tear down and clean up?? Never fear The Broomsmen are here! Let us break down, consolidate and return the venue to its original state so your full deposit is returned.
Waste Management: Having a waste plan for your event is extremely important. Most private residences and venues do not provide waste management services or a plan for recycling. The Broomsmen specialize in zero-waste recycling solutions that reduce your carbon footprint and significantly “greens” your event!
DONATIONS TO CAUSE OF CHOICE
A wedding registry is the perfect opportunity to work on aligning the celebration with one’s environmental values. For the couple who doesn’t really need another toaster or a new Kitchenaid, adding suggested donations to causes they care about allows their guests to feel as if they’re contributing to something meaningful without having to worry about the environmental impact of their purchase.
Some vendors even offer donations and conscious business practices as a core part of their brand, supporting couples looking to plan a sustainable wedding. Photographer Sam Starns with Adventure Elopements explains, “I donate a percentage of each elopement collection to a nonprofit of the couples’ choice (I have 4 options to choose from). I also offset our carbon emissions as much as possible and teach Leave No Trace to all my couples. As a former park ranger, it’s an important part of my brand.”