How to Have an Eco-Friendly Wedding

Save the Dates :

If you can avoid it, do not send Save the Dates unless they are absolutely necessary. If you need to send Save the Dates because of your wedding’s location, use 100% post-consumer recycled paper (not just 100% recycled - they are not the same thing), or send them digitally. Do not use magnets, as tempting as they may be!

Invitations :

Use as little paper as possible. Try just sending one postcard with your website where guests can RSVP.
Support a small-business owner, like a local invitation maker (I can send you recommendations!) or use someone sustainable like Paper Culture.

Decorations :

Use center pieces and table cloths that you will use in your own home after the wedding, or that you can gift to friends and family who will also use them in their own home - better yet, use things you already own or that your friends and family already own such as :

  • Vases

  • Candles Sticks

  • Table Cloths

  • Cloth Napkins

  • Statues

  • Boxes

  • Picture Frames

  • Planters

  • Books

  • Pitchers

  • Herb plants that guests can add straight to their food or take home

Hannah and Shannon - Autumn Back yard wedding - Loudoun County Little Washington Wedding - Intimate Wedding - White Sails Creative Photography_14.jpg

Food & Plates :

Along the same lines of using things from home to decorate, try using dishes from home or renting dishes.

If your wedding is small enough, or if your wedding is casual and intimate enough, make your own food or ask others to bring food. I know having a pot-luck wedding sounds ridiculous, but it works for a lot of people (and a lot of budgets).

White+Sails+Creative+Backyard+Wedding+Guide++Inspiration.jpg

Dresses & Suits :

Find sustainable wedding dresses and suits. Sustainable clothes are a lot of money, so if you can’t get yourself to spend that much, look into buying second-hand or vintage dresses!

I have had a hard time finding sustainable clothes for grooms! If you know of any, please feel free to let me know so I can update this.

For your bridesmaids and groomsmen, ask them to find sustainable clothes that they will wear over and over again - gone are the days of everyone matching.

Gifts :

Gifts for your bridesmaids, groomsmen, and guests are tough - but instead of buying them things they will only use the day-of your wedding, spend time thinking of meaningful gifts they can always use - such as plants, photos taken with them, natural skincare or soaps, homemade candles, or simply handwritten thank-you notes.

Damian+and+Jesse+Chebeague+Island+Maine+Backyard+Destination+Beach+Wedding+White+Sails+Creative_61.jpg

Flowers :

If you are using a florist for your wedding, find one who uses locally sourced flowers. After your wedding, dry your flowers and use them as decoration in your home, and give to family & friends! Herb plants in terra cotta pots, like basil or cilantro, that guests can add straight to their food. Tell your guests to bring centerpieces home with drying instructions so they can do the same.

Still have more leftover? Bring your floral arrangements to nursing homes or hospitals to brighten someone else’s day.

White+Sails+Creative+Sunrise+Mountain+Vow+Renewal+Intimate+Wedding+Picnic+Shenandoah+National+Park_14.jpg

Grand Exits & Sparkler Exits :

If you are having an outdoor ceremony and want to do a grand exit, consider throwing local flower petals or leaves.

Your Own Back Yard :

It doesn't get more eco-friendly than having a wedding in your own back yard. Plus, you'll have the added sentimentality of getting married in the place where you grew up, whether it be on the beach, near a lake, in a prairie, in the country or in the mountains. Read my Backyard Blog Post Here!

Things to think about during your entire planning process :

  • Can we do this and help a local small business?

  • Will this be thrown out after the wedding? (but us or by guests)

  • Who are these made by? Is it ethical?

  • How can we reuse this?

  • Do we already have this?

  • Can we rent this?