In her sixth Brideology installment, Cara discovers 12 ways to put together an eco-friendly wedding design scheme.
The other night, while I was asking my fiancé if he preferred the color mauve over amethyst, it hit me that I needed to take… a… step… back. Meaning that I needed to get out of Ridiculous Minute Detail Land and think about the bigger picture of the wedding again. So I pulled out a couple of lists that we made right after we got engaged: the his and hers versions of what is most important on our wedding day.
Doing this little exercise in the beginning was really fun—our columns of “important” and “not important” were nearly identical. Some were bigger themes, like honoring our families, being outdoors and having a really comfortable, intimate feel. Some were more lighthearted, like dancing to Michael Jackson, having a campfire and serving mini-grilled cheese sandwiches (yep, that was mine). I think revisiting these lists throughout the planning process will help us stay true to our vision.
One main thing that our lists shared was “eco-friendly.” I will admit that my fiancé is better about this than I am—I can be a bit lazy and would probably choose style over green. (He would probably choose to have a wedding with no electricity; maybe I need to add “electricity” to my important list just to be safe!) But I’m going to make a really big effort here, because when throwing a party for a large group of people, it can be really easy to be wasteful.
Thankfully, there are a lot of great resources for eco-friendly wedding tips, and more and more eco-friendly real weddings and styled photo shoots are popping up. I was especially drawn to this shoot from Jasmine Star—it’s GORGEOUS. The tables feature super-sustainable cork used for vases, vintage furniture is utilized, and the wooden cutting boards under the plates could double as favors. I love how literally green it is too: the use of potted plants really warms up the space. (Also loving the dip-dye dress and the fishtail braid. If only my hair would do that!)
I started pulling together a list of EASY ways to be green with the wedding. A few may break from tradition, but I like knowing that I’m doing my part! An added bonus is that many of these are budget-friendly as well.
1. Email save-the-dates: it’s paperless, plus you get quicker responses if you need RSVPs right away!
2. Send short, sweet, recycled-paper invitations: ditch the six envelopes for a postcard or simpler package and include extra info on your website. It can still look chic—see the proof above!
3. Write the program on a chalkboard or other sign instead of using printed programs. Same goes for the menu! (Extra creativity points to the couple who used this vintage door!)
4. Focus on local, organic food: try to find a caterer who uses sustainably farmed food that travels the shortest possible distance to your plate. It’s often the best tasting, and it’s fun to show off the local cuisine of your area! For us, salmon is a must.
5. Think about what’s in season, not only for food but flowers too! Look to your local farmer’s market to see what’s fresh. I’m hoping to get flowers from the market and make my own bouquets.
6. Reuse drinking glasses: have guests write their names on tags instead of using multiple different glasses through the evening. Small things make a big difference! (Extra points again if the seating card is used as the tag!)
7. Use natural decorations! Flower petals, seeds, lavender and compostable papers can take the place of confetti, balloons, plastic or anything that’s bound for the landfill.
8. Place herbs and potted plants on tables rather than cut flower arrangements. They last so much longer, and you can give them as favors or use them in your home. I also love the terrarium idea!
9. Go vintage! This is such a huge trend in weddings right now, but you must make sure you get true vintage items and not just new stuff made to look old! Visit flea markets or ask your family and friends what they already have. My parents have some major gems in their garage!
10. Give consumable favors. Think jams, honey, bread, coffee beans or seeds in containers that can be reused. Or think about a favor that can be regifted beyond your wedding. Spread the love!
11. If you’re using disposable place settings, consider these eco-friendly plates made from palm leaves. Personally, I love this look! (Also note the vintage linens and potted plants—check and check!)
12. Promote reuse after the wedding by donating or selling your décor items on Etsy, Craigslist or eBay to help future green brides!
I’m sure there are so many more! If you have any tips or tricks, comment below!
Until next time,