Weddings don’t tend to be very eco-friendly events. Typically, there’s a lot of wasted food, paper, and plastic, not to mention the carbon footprint of your traveling guests. While you may not be able to control every detail of your wedding, there are ways to make the best day of your life a good day for the environment too.
Here are a few things you as a bride can do to make your wedding celebration a little more ethical and sustainable.
1. Choose a Vintage Dress or an Ethical Designer
Consider how many different outfits you and your wedding party are purchasing for this special occasion. Some things you can rent, such as the groomsmen’s suits, but you can’t do the same with your wedding dress.
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That doesn’t mean you have to buy a brand new dress, though. Reusing a dress or purchasing a vintage one are great eco-friendly options that are also very cost-efficient. For second-hand dresses, try browsing Nearly Newlywed’s collection of lightly used dresses. And, if vintage is more your style, take a peak at Dressafford’s extremely economical dress options.
If you have a larger budget to spend on a dress, consider hiring an ethical designer. Consider Stella McCartney’s vegan-friendly bridal collection Or check out Deborah Lindquist’s sustainable bridal gowns made from organic fabrics and recycled materials.
2. Let Your Bridesmaids Choose Their Dresses
Your bridesmaids are way more likely to wear their dresses if they choose a style they love — speaking from experience here. Too often, bridesmaids wear their dress the day of your wedding and then hang them up in a corner of their closet, never to see the light of day again. To avoid this one-and-done scenario, try picking one or two colors to narrow down their choices, then give them the freedom to choose their own design.
And, if your girls still plan on solely wearing their dresses on your big day, encourage them to donate their gowns to a local charity shop or re-sell them. This way, the dresses see more than one use and help save others’ money, all while doing the environment a favor.
3. Accessorize With Eco-Friendly Materials
Eco-friendly wedding planning can begin as early as ring shopping. Choose an antique diamond, a family heirloom or vintage wedding bands to help give the environment — and your wallet — a break. If you’re looking for something a little more modern, pick a dealer who is committed to using recycled and fair-trade materials. For instance, Brilliant Earth uses recycled precious metals that are ethically sourced and conflict-free to design your dream engagement ring and wedding band.
If you’re committed to finding green wedding rings, you might also consider finding other earth-friendly accessories as well, such as bridesmaids’ jewelry or groomsmen’s suspenders or bowties. Look for companies that are locally sourced or businesses that reuse vintage products.
4. Make an Eco-Friendly Day-of Kit
As a bride, you know firsthand that things don’t always go as planned. So, naturally, you wouldn’t be caught dead without a wedding day emergency kit. Pack a personal bag of eco-friendly essentials like a glass water bottle, organic makeup and tampons, vegan snacks and calming essential oils. And nix the tissues to take your efforts a step further. Instead, pack a handkerchief to blot away those happy tears. And rest easy knowing you are planning ahead for both your own sake and the environments.
5. Rent or Make Decorations
Biodegradable materials and reusable decor are key to making your wedding day more eco-friendly. Check our your local flea markets or thrift store to find glass jars or vases. Look for anything that can be re-purposed as centerpieces or head table decor. And, when the celebration’s over, consider selling, recycling, repurposing or donating your decorations to further reduce waste.
You might also consider renting decor and equipment like stemware, linens and china. Not only will this upgrade the whole look of your wedding, but it will also automatically reduce landfill waste.
A Little Effort Goes a Long Way
Throwing an eco-friendly wedding celebration shouldn’t feel like a chore, and, with these helpful tips, it doesn’t have to! Finding eco-friendly accessories or renting decor doesn’t take much effort, but the impact is long-lasting. Not only will your big day be more eco-friendly, but it might inspire your guests to integrate more sustainable habits, like recycling and reusing, into their daily lives as well.