Ideally, your wedding should have a major impact on your lives, and preferably those of your guests. After all, this is a pretty major do, and the chances are that you’ve put at least a few years of your life (and a whole load of your love) into making it precisely what you envisioned. What you don’t want, however, is for your wedding to have an irreversible impact on a planet that’s already in the midst of climate breakdown. But, with sustainability in the wedding industry very much under fire, this is a very real risk that anyone planning a wedding should account for.

Below we consider the environmental damage that weddings can inadvertently cause, and the surprisingly simple ways that you can overcome those issues during the planning process. 

Sustainability in the wedding industry: The facts

97% of wedding businesses now report prioritizing sustainability. This is great news, and it signifies a notable shift towards a more eco-conscious approach to weddings in general. But, those intentions haven’t necessarily led to notable improvements just yet. 

As of writing, the average wedding does a pretty astounding amount of environmental damage, and produces – 

Plus, of those wedding businesses prioritizing sustainability, 63% reported difficulties sourcing a supplier with the same ethos. And just 7% were actively recording their carbon emissions. 

All of this is pretty bad news considering the average of two million weddings that take place in the US each year. But, it’s a bad habit that’s well within our power to change. The question is, how exactly can you begin planning a more eco-conscious wedding that stops you from being a part of the problem?

Sustainability in the wedding industry: The solutions

There are some surprisingly simple and effective solutions to the issue of wedding sustainability, and some of them might just end up saving you some money, too. The most notable points to keep in mind throughout the planning process include – 

# 1 – Avoid physical invites

You can start creating a more sustainable wedding even before the big day arrives by eliminating the physical invites that are responsible for a large portion of wedding waste. Far from meaning that you’re missing out on this crucial stage in the wedding planning process, getting more creative with the multitude of e-invites now available can see you having a lot of fun, and ending up with something unique.

It’s now surprisingly easy (and cheap) to design a basic electronic invite that you send around to guest email accounts. Or, if you fancy something a little more punchy, why not create a fun video that contains all of the information that your guests require? In each instance, you’re reducing everything from the materials required, to the transportation necessary to get each invite to a multitude of guests and locations.

# 2 – Get conscious about your venue

Even an eco-wedding won’t be waste-free if your venue doesn’t share the same ethos on climate combat as you do. To avoid that issue, think consciously about your venue with the environment in mind. 

On the one hand, seeking a venue close to home can save long-distance travel, which can make a difference in itself. If you want to take things further, you may also benefit from using something like the Green Building Information Gateway. This will help you to find venues with things like solar or otherwise self-sufficient energy resources, recycling drives, and even integrated decor that saves you from stocking up on additions that will only end up in the bin.

# 3 – Seek more sustainable meal choices

Wedding meals are a big deal but, with more and more weddings seeking ‘street style’ buffets and things like hog roasts, they’re also a notable area of wastage. By instead going classic with a sit-down meal, it’s far easier to avoid throwing a load of food away at the end of the day.

It’s also worth considering further food sustainability efforts, including – 

# 4 – Rent what you can

With post-wedding waste such a major issue, it’s also vital to consider renting what you can. After all, remember that most of what you use for the big day is unlikely to make an appearance again. And, when you look into things, you’ll find that it’s possible to rent everything from your outfits to your wedding tablescapes and beyond. 

By renting instead of buying, you benefit from sustainability plus points including limited manufacturing requirements, and reduced waste later on. In an age where the general renting of clothes is quickly gaining in popularity, you may even find that people pat you on the back for taking this route. With rentals typically cheaper, you can also significantly reduce costs this way! 

# 5 – Re-use where possible

Even after your wedding, you can give a nod to sustainability by re-using what you can. Most obviously, you might want to preserve things like your flowers (the growth of which is typically terrible news from an environmental standpoint) by seeking wedding bouquet preservation from companies like the Bouquet Casting Co. Equally, you may wish to reuse wedding outfits that would otherwise stay in the wardrobe, either as outfits for other occasions or as mementos including blankets, pillowcases, etc. 

You could also take home things like your decor ribbons, tablescapes, and more, for either daily use, or to bring out during future dinner parties. In each instance, you’re saving waste, getting more for your money, and creating a generally more eco-conscious wedding.

Weddings don’t need to spell environmental disaster

The fact that weddings aren’t traditionally great for the environment doesn’t mean that you can overlook the climate during the planning stages. By implementing all, or even just a few of the tips in this article, you can start saving the world, one wedding at a time.