Planning A Sustainable Wedding

The cutest foraged centerpieces from a beautiful forest wedding in 2018.

The cutest foraged centerpieces from a beautiful forest wedding in 2018.

Having an eco-friendly, low-waste wedding can sound daunting, but it’s actually a totally achievable goal! Here are some of my favorite tips for planning a sustainable and beautiful wedding celebration:


Opt for Vintage or Heirlooms

I certainly don’t have to tell you how stylish and unique vintage attire can be! Instead of shopping new, check out your local vintage shops for dresses, suits, jewelry, and more!

Shop Your Closet

Have your bridal party wear something they (or their stylish friend) already own! Or if they want to buy something new, have them pick out something on their own that they love and would wear again.

Rent It!

Why drop piles of money on something you’ll only wear once? Most people these days are familiar with the concept of renting suits and tuxedos, but did you know that you can rent gorgeous dresses as well? This is far from a sponsored post, but I have personally had incredible experiences renting from Rent The Runway. They have a wide variety of the latest styles in a great range of sizes for all occasions.


Get Thrifty

If you’ve ever set foot in a thrift store, you’ll know that so often they have shelves packed full of an eclectic collection of vases and glassware, boxes full of picture frames and candlesticks, and full rooms of furniture and rugs! Sure, it takes a little bit of time and creativity to get that perfect thrift store haul for your wedding, but if you’re looking to save some money and reduce your environmental impact, there’s no better place to start!

Go Paperless

I’ll be the first to say that I love stationery, and I am sort of in awe of some of the perfectly-designed invitation suites I’ve seen over the years. However, if you’re looking to cut down on your waste (and give your wallet a bit of a a break!) skipping the paper invitations is a great option. With services like Paperless Post you can have a beautiful invitation and make collecting RSVPs a breeze. Again, that’s not a sponsored post, just an honest recommendation.

For my wedding, my husband and I had a tattoo artist friend draw something up to use as an email header image, and then seriously just emailed the folks we wanted to invite. Some will say that’s not classy, but it was free, easy, and completely zero-waste which is just about our speed!

InviteArt copy.jpg

Do Double Duty with Potted Plants

Using live, potted plants to replace or supplement your cut flower arrangements is a great option for reducing waste. You can also use the small plants as favors for your guests, and larger ones as gifts to your parents or wedding party. Or, if you’re like me, you can always just hoard them all into your own home and live in a little potted jungle. Either way, you’re cutting down on the flowers that end up in trash bags at the end of the night, while still having that super lush, green look.

Use Your Flowers to Brighten Someone Else’s Day

If you do opt for cut flower arrangements, talk to your florist about donating the arrangements to local nursing homes, retirement communities, and hospitals after your wedding. Here are some organizations to check out for recycling your flowers! Petals With Purpose , Random Acts of Flowers , ReBloom. Rebloom actually sells the recycled flowers and donates the proceeds to charities, so you can check them out if you’d be interested in buying recycled flowers, too! Your local florist or wedding planner might also have some connections for this sort of thing in your area!


Talk Trash

Most wedding cleanup at traditional venues involves people hurriedly cramming everything into garbage bags at the end of the night. Chat with your planner or venue contact about having landfill, recycling, and compost bins. Or if your celebration is at a less conventional venue, and you’re doing things a little more DIY, make sure to have clearly labeled bins and ask your guests to dispose of things responsibly!

Zero- Waste Catering

As more and more restaurants, grocery stores, and caterers worldwide make the move toward Zero - Waste, it is becoming easier to find zero-waste caterers for your wedding. A quick Google search didn’t turn up anything in the Richmond, VA area, unfortunately, but you can definitely chat with your caterer about their environmental practices! The more demand there is for zero-waste catering, the faster we’ll see it! At the very least, you should be able to find a caterer that sources from local farms!

Feed The Hungry

Talk with your planner/venue/ caterer or local food banks and homeless shelters about donating any unserved food from your wedding! This is a common enough practice these days that most organizations will have some sort of procedure for accepting your donations!

I hope this post was helpful for planning your sustainable celebration! This is a topic I am very passionate about, and I could easily accidentally turn this “quick list” into an exhaustive textbook that no one would want to read! If you’d like to chat about how to make your wedding or celebration more sustainable, please email me!

Leave your favorite tips for sustainable celebrations in the comments below!