Wedding Ideas

How to Have an Eco-Friendly Wedding

Posted on June 05, 2020 by Ariana Baio

Eco Friendly Wedding

For some couples, implementing environmentally-friendly aspects to their wedding is an important part of their big day. Looking to the future, it is important to be aware of the amount of trash we accumulate, and using wasteful products on your wedding day can contribute to this. For those of you who are interested in reducing your carbon footprint, here are some great—and easy—ways to have an eco-friendly wedding!

1. Put an (Ethically-Sourced) Ring on it

Ashley and Kevin -Sophia Jones PhotosAshley and Kevin at Federici’s. Sophia Jones Photo

We’re all familiar with blood diamonds and the crisis associated with unethically sourced diamonds. Do your research before purchasing a diamond engagement or wedding ring to minimize your impact on the environment. There are limited regulations on diamond mining, and these lack of regulations can contribute to massive amounts of soil erosion, deforestation and land degradation. There are simple ways to avoid these issues: Use recycled diamonds, opt for a synthetic lab-made diamond or if you’re determined to get that diamond, check with your jeweler on where and how their diamonds are sourced. However, the best way to reduce any impact is to reuse a gem. Go vintage and see if there’s a family heirloom you can reuse or shop at an estate jewelry store.

2. Donate and Reuse Your Leftovers

Kerry and Joseph at Basking Ridge Country Club. Vanessa Marie Photography

Food, flowers, extra décor—you can donate or reuse a lot of the leftover items from your wedding. See if your venue will donate extra untouched food to a local food bank or shelter to prevent food waste. You can also donate your extra flowers to local hospitals, nursing homes or funeral homes for others to enjoy. If you have smaller centerpieces,  invite your guests to take them home to enjoy; this is a great way to give your guests something to remember your wedding by and also reuse your flowers. Similarly, if you have non-customized wedding décor, see if other brides/ grooms-to-be can use it in their own weddings by selling it.

3. Choose Favors Wisely

Alyssa and Leo at Art Factory.   Thatwerks Photography

It’s a known secret that, most of the time, guests don’t use or keep knickknack favors. Reduce extra waste by opting for a charitable donation instead. This is a great way to help your favorite organizations while going green. Another great option for favors are edible ones! See if your favorite local restaurant or fast-food location will provide snacks for your guests to take home.

4. Pick an Eco-Friendly Venue

Dana and Adam in Colts Neck. Joseph Vincent Photography

If you’ve always dreamed of an outdoor garden wedding, a simple way to help reduce your carbon footprint is to have your ceremony outside. Backyard, beach or park weddings are great options for the couple looking to get married in a beautiful space. If you prefer an indoor setting, you can check to see if the venues you’re touring are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. This means your venue is a recognized green building and does their part to reduce their impact on the environment.


5. Rent Décor and Dishes

Katie and Tom at Brigantine Cove. Sara Fitz Co. 

Rent, don’t buy, items to use in your wedding reception space. See if your venue will provide plating for your guests that can be washed and re-used. Or, reach out to companies that rent silverware, dishes and glasses for you to use if you want a specific type that your venue may not offer. The same goes for linens and any décor you want to spruce-up your reception space. If you’re looking to transform your wedding venue using furniture, reach out to companies that specifically rent furniture for weddings. These are great ways to make sure you’re not creating extra waste when it’s unnecessary. 

6. Consider Other Wedding Invitation Options

Hannah and Peter at Park Avenue Club. Brittney Raine Photography

Choose wedding invitations that have a low impact on paper waste. You can go green with recycled paper, seed paper or digital invitations. Go even further by making your menus, wedding program and name cards out of recycled or seed paper, too!

7. Be Mindful of Your Meal

Meg and Adam- Bri Johnson Weddings PhotographyMeg and Adam at Ryland Inn. Bri Johnson Photography

One of the largest contributors to greenhouse-gas emissions is animal agriculture. Consider serving a vegetarian or vegan dish to reduce your carbon footprint. Or you can choose a venue that partners with a local farm to create a farm-to-table meal that has low impact on the environment and helps local businesses.