Man and woman standing on beach smiling

Sustainable Wedding Ideas

Has the word sustainability ever come to mind when thinking about weddings? What is an eco-friendly wedding?  Normally, when one thinks of weddings they think of love, happiness and joy.  As these emotions race to the forefront of your thoughts, it is important to remember that these beautiful ceremonies can also have damaging effects to the surrounding environment. 

    This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend a beautiful wedding ceremony. Well, I actually participated in the wedding.  Ok Ok, I was the groom, but that's besides the point!  The wedding was held on the beach and was casual by most standards.  However, like any wedding, there was still decorations, food and drinks were served, and most importantly people showed up to celebrate. 

    Now, let me start by saying that myself and my wife (still getting used to that) both care an awful lot about sustainability and reducing our footprint in general. Considering we own a clothing brand dedicated to the use of 100% natural fibers, and that our brand uses eco-packaging and other sustainability initiatives, that kind of speaks for itself.  So when planning our wedding, this was a key point of consideration.  But that got me thinking, how many weddings take place without any consideration or knowledge of the environmental damage they can cause?

    For this reason, I've created this small list of 5 ideas that will help create a cleaner and greener wedding for all to enjoy:

    1. Avoid the use of balloons: Although they are a fun addition to any celebration, the manufacturing of balloons alone is hazardous to the atmosphere.  Additionally, the degradability of latex is very low, meaning balloons that are released and end up on land still will remain there for years to come.  Animals often mistake this debris for food and can end up seriously ill or sick from the consumption of latex.  For the balloons that reach the ocean,  "A new study has found that balloons are the highest-risk plastic debris item for seabirds — 32 times more likely to kill than ingesting hard plastics. Researchers looked at the cause of death of 1733 seabirds from 51 species and found that one in three of the birds had ingested marine debris".

    Man on orange boat holding bird with red balloon tied around his leg

    2. Avoid single use accessories: Although convenient, single use plastic cutlery, cups, napkins, and other additions to your celebration have a lasting effect on the environment.  Whenever possible, choose to incorporate real glasses, washable cutlery and napkins, and if you must go the single use route, choose recycled or alternative materials such as bamboo.

    White text over a blue background talking about reusing cutlery instead of buying single use plastic

    3. Create eco-friendly invitations: Weddings usually have a large amount of mail associated with informing invitees of the date, sending the official invitation, and thank you cards that follow.  While all of this is nice, it also creates unnecessary waste. Consider using seed paper, recycled alternatives, digital invitations, or other eco-friendly solutions that can can biodegrade instead of ending up in a landfill

    Close up of product tag with seeds in it

    4. Reuse flowers and other decor: If flowers are a must for your ceremony, which they are for most, then consider where you are getting the flowers from and what you'll do with them after your wedding.  "In a typical year, between 85 and 95 percent of the most common fresh cut flowers sold in the U.S. are imported from Columbia and Ecuador. California is the top American producer of cut flowers, accounting for about 75% of the domestic share."  We all know that labor laws, wages, and conditions can be inhumane in many foreign countries, so if you must purchase flowers, seek out a local farm and buy seasonally.  When the day is over, consider donating your flowers to charities, shelters, hospitals, or other places that they will still make a lasting impact rather than immediately being discarded.

    dump truck unloading flowers

    5. Dress to impress, but also for the best: When it comes to sustainable fashion, we have pretty strong opinions, so for us this is a big one! But our last tip to creating a greener and cleaner wedding involves what you wear.  You can allow your bridal party to wear clothes they already own, or if you must have them all perfectly matching, choose clothing made from 100% natural fibers.  We all know the statistics behind the devastating impact synthetics have on our environment, so celebrate in style but also be conscious of the beauty that’s around you.

    one large and one small animated trash cans with their lids open

      This short list was created to inspire you to think green, and there are a TON of other ideas you can implement to have a beautiful day without harming the planet.  And more importantly, these ideas can be applied to any gathering or celebration.  So next time you’re planning any special occasion, and especially when you plan your wedding, get creative and you’ll be surprised the amount of waste that can be saved!

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