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How to Host a Sustainable Wedding

Did you know that the average wedding produces more than 400 pounds of garbage? Annually, weddings in the U.S. contribute to releasing more than 63 tons of CO2, so it’s fair to say that the wedding industry has a waste problem.

The good news is that eco-conscious couples are taking notice and making big changes to the industry as a whole. Rather than purchasing items for single-use, couples are opting for reusable or second-hand options.

Going green isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for your wallet too. Most sustainable practices are actually cheaper than their wasteful alternatives. Eco-friendly options are also more likely to lift up the local community and support vendors who share a similar vision for the future of the planet.

Here are some of our favorite sustainable wedding ideas from Zola:

  1. Choose an eco-conscious venue: Hiring like-minded vendors is a key ingredient in your eco-friendly celebration. Find businesses that share your eco-conscious vision to make zero waste easier to achieve. Your venue is a great place to start, so when touring possible locations for your ceremony and reception, make sure to ask about their waste removal, and inquire about LEED certifications and Energy Star ratings.
  2. Host your ceremony and reception outside: If possible, consider hosting your celebrations outside. Sites such as campgrounds, gardens, and farms make great eco-friendly venues. Hosting the celebrations outside cuts down on energy usage. You can also cut down on carbon emissions by hosting your ceremony and reception at the same location.
  3. Go paperless: One great thing about the digital revolution is that it reduces the need for printed materials. Set up a wedding website to communicate details of your special day online, and consider sending digital save-the-dates and invites. You can even track your wedding planning on an online checklist.
  4. Embrace a green wedding exit: Choose a green alternative to a traditional confetti toss so you don’t litter on your way out. Biodegradable tosses include leaves, flower petals, and bird seeds.
  5. Arrange transportation: Reduce the need for multiple cars at your venue by renting a shuttle for your wedding guests. This will also curb drunk driving risks.
  6. Choose seasonal flowers: Cut down on carbon emissions and floral costs by featuring local blooms in your bouquet. You can also decorate your venue with potted plants that will live on well past your wedding day.
  7. Embrace candlelight: Turn down the electricity and up the romantic mood by featuring candlelight in your reception ambiance. The firelight will also keep bugs away from your outdoor celebration.
  8. Rent your tuxes: You don’t have to buy suits in order to match your groomsmen party. You can rent your tuxes which will help you save costs and the environment.
  9. Buy vintage accessories: Consider a second-hand wedding dress or antique accessories such as a vintage veil or timeless earrings. If it’s wintertime, make sure to opt for faux fur.
  10. Send leftovers home: Let your guests have a midnight snack by sending your leftovers home with them. This will cut down on food waste. You can also consider donating food to a nonprofit or compost it.

Check out the visual below for even more eco-friendly wedding inspiration.

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