beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony set up wedding ceremony area on the hillside in Tuscany
Image Source: Adobe Stock Photo

How To Have A Sustainable Wedding (& Love It)

If you’ve ever been backstage at a wedding so to speak, you’d have seen single-use plastics, cardboard, fabric, and even flower stems and food being disposed of improperly without any thought to recycling in most cases. Most popular wedding venues probably don’t even give a second thought to the amount of waste that is being produced in each wedding and being let loose on the environment. If you’re a ‘go green’ environment-conscious kind of person, you definitely can make a better choice regarding your festivities, so there’s zero guilt.

A sustainable wedding need not look and feel like you’re holding back. There are so many fantastic zero waste options for everything from wedding stationery to gowns out there that you’ll find options swamp you!

Start With The Ring

When you go the eco-friendly route, you’ll find you can incorporate it into everything, and what better way than to start with the ring? Buy a vintage ring or use your mother or grandmother’s ring as an heirloom! You can also repurpose a ring you already own by adding gemstones and so on.

Sustainable pearl and diamond wedding ring by Catbird Jewelry
Gorgeous pearl and diamond wedding ring by Catbird Jewelry


Recycle Your Wedding Dress

Another great way to lessen the impact of your wedding on our environment is to buy a used wedding dress and then sell it to another bride after your wedding. There is no doubt that wedding gowns are a labor of love, but few know that they also have a tremendous impact on our environment. For example, some wedding gowns require more than 20 yards of tulle and lots of dyes and chemicals to achieve the desired style.

And you probably have no idea that simply producing one wedding gown requires 9000 liters of water. That is 2377 gallons. Talk about a tremendous impact on our environment! But that’s not all. Most wedding gowns are produced overseas in Asia, where they don’t have strict guidelines and regulations for the proper disposal of waste.

Without proper regulations, our global environment suffers because the rivers and streams are polluted with all of these toxins, which then flow directly into our oceans. Not to mention, once the wedding gowns are completed, they have to be shipped across the globe on gigantic container ships, which adds even more pollution into the atmosphere that we breathe.

Recycling items from your wedding such as decor, flowers, signage, and yes! Even your wedding dress can help save our planet…one dress at a time. To find the perfect wedding dress for your upcoming sustainable wedding or sell your gown, click here.

Beautiful bride wearing Riki Dilal Juliet wedding dress
Image Source: Riki Dilal – Juliet via

Ditch Pricey Standard Wedding Venues

Wedding venues or hotels may or may not use a zero-waste or sustainable policy. The fact that this is just business as usual for them means they won’t consider your ideas about the environment. Stray from the beaten path and look up locations near you where your wedding festivities can be organized, even if it’s a huge barn or backyard or by the beach or on some city-maintained piece of greenery or even a vineyard!

When you think outside of the box and don’t try to recreate some magazine have-it-all wedding, you find you can have a unique take on it with magical and nourishing views to spare! See if friends or acquaintances know of any such locations where a wedding can be hosted; you’ll save a bunch on expenses too!

Cut Down The Guests List

The more guests there are, the more preparation and materials are needed. Think more food, party favors, napkins, and even more décor items like lights, flowers, and lanterns. More people also means greater heating or cooling equipment use, and you may even have to book a larger venue.

The trend of micro weddings or more intimate gatherings that started in Covid is one that seems likely to continue and is now widely preferred by couples getting married because who wants their hateful great-aunt there anyway? One of the reasons destination weddings became so popular a decade ago was that couples wished to escape from toxic relatives and frenemies!

Green Invites

Who needs costly cardboard invitations? Instead, go green and just email or WhatsApp wedding invitations to your guests or hire a company specializing in using recycled paper and cardboard for its products.

Beautiful Electronic Wedding Invitation by SimplyDIYPaperie via Etsy

You’re As Good As Your Team

There’s an old and pretty wise saying that you’re just as good as your team. When there’s a wedding to pull off the team is everything. You need to have vendors on board that have the same values and priorities as you with regards to the environment and have a killer resume and client satisfaction rate to top it off.

You need vendors that can work off your values and believe in the same principles. For example, if they’re setting up a tent, it needs to be sustainable fabric; they need not waste plants and flowers and instead work with the surrounding foliage or pick wildflowers from close to the actual venue.

Charitable Not Materialistic

Many couples that prioritize sustainability opt out of a gift registry. Who needs so many utensils and vases anyway? If you’re not of the material-is-everything school of thought, you can instead encourage your guests to donate to a charity of your choice as their gift to you. Your wedding will be all the more joyous because of your generosity and emphasis on love and fulfillment over material gains.

Encourage Your Loved Ones To Join In

You might be wearing a gorgeous vintage gown, repurposing your mum’s gown, or opting for a dress from a sustainable clothing line, but there might be unsaid pressure on your guests to have new attire to wear to the wedding.

Make everyone’s life easier by specifying in the invitations that you are hosting a sustainable wedding reception, so everyone needs to follow suit. You can also take the pressure off the bridesmaids by not making them invest in over-the-top bridesmaids’ dresses that they’ll probably never get to reuse.

Don’t Destroy Foliage

You might think deforestation is a horrible disaster but ordering hundreds of fresh-cut rosebuds is okay- you’re wrong. Don’t aid in destroying rose bushes, flower patches, or other plants off trees. Instead, try to utilize the natural foliage as much as possible and opt for locations (especially for bridal photoshoots) that are already lush green and rich in gorgeous flowers like vineyards, orchards, and botanical gardens. That way,, you can pose to your heart’s delight and get the full effect without having the floral arrangement guy throw hundreds of stems out at the end of the day.

beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony set up wedding ceremony area on the hillside in Tuscany
Stunning outdoor wedding ceremony set up on the hillside in Tuscany.

Eat To Live Not Live To Eat

Wedding cuisine is always a tad bit controversial. Some couples just need the expensive champagne, the caviar, or the seafood platter. We may not realize it as consumers, but the food ordered and served in large amounts at events like weddings can take a real toll on the environment.

Use locally and sustainably sourced meats and vegetables for the main course and try not to order food that needs to have ingredients shipped from a distance as that contributes to the carbon footprint.

Recycling Bins Are Not Just For The Home

Although you will have minimized the incidence of single-use materials and disposable trash, there will still be some waste leftover from your wedding. So regardless of whether you think a giant blue recycle bin is mainly aesthetic or not, you need to have some mechanism to make sure waste is either recycled or at least disposed of in a way that is not toxic to the environment.

Weddings may be one of the most cherished events we experience. And sure! We all adore the love story and the dreamy ceremony and reception, but we have to be more aware of our choices. Having a sustainable wedding can begin to help lower the impact that our weddings have on our environment. So we celebrate you for making sustainable choices and educating others to do the same. One wedding at a time, we can make our planet better.