Tips for the Eco-Conscious Bride

It's a Nice Day for a Green Wedding

By Breanne Rogers

So, you're planning your dream wedding, and want it to be romantic, fun, beautiful - and environmentally friendly! Don't worry, we've got some tips and tricks for helping you with the big day.

The Invitations

Everything suddenly feels real once you and your partner have sent the wedding invitations to family and friends - no going back now!

Many of the fancy papers and inks used in invitations are non-recyclable and bad for the environment. The easiest way to mitigate this is to go for a completely digital invitation. There are many online companies, such as Paperless Post, Greenvelope, and Minted, with beautiful designs you can modify to suit your event.

If you're set on having a physical memento for your wedding and want to mail invitations, try for compostable or recyclable papers and natural inks. You can even get seeded paper that your guests can plant and watch grow!

The Venue

The easiest way to go eco-friendly with a venue is to make sure you hold the ceremony and the reception in one place. This removes the necessity of guests driving from one place to another.

Along the same line, choose a venue that doesn't require travel for the majority of your guests - we know, this means no destination weddings! But eliminating the number of people who have to fly or make a long drive in can make a huge impact. You can even try organizing a shuttle or a guest carpool to and from the wedding.

Lots of venues are sustainable - make sure you do your research! Ask them about their recycling and composting facilities, and if they have connections with local suppliers.

If an outdoor wedding is an option for you, national parks, beaches, and botanical gardens are always a great choice, since they have gorgeous built-in scenery, and your money will go towards maintaining the grounds.

The Decor

Everyone wants their wedding to be beautiful - we get it!

Many cities have businesses that will rent wedding and party decor - this is a win-win-win, since you'll eliminate single-use decor, support a local business, and ensure that the venue will look absolutely stunning. Ask your venue of choice if they have the rental/borrowing option as well - if they regularly host weddings and events, they may have a cache of items you can use.

For dishes, find out if either your caterer or your venue has these available to rent, or included as part of their fees.

If you're a DIY-er, scope out your local thrift shops for items you can use to make centerpieces, like glass mason jars, vases, or other treasures. Get creative!

If you want your wedding decked out in flowers, make sure you go local - and organic, if possible. Use potted plants instead of bouquets, so you can take them home and re-plant them. Or, give the plants to your guests as a wedding favour.

If you do end up with leftover floral bouquets, see if you can distribute them to hospitals or senior centres to brighten up another person's day.

The Food

When choosing your menu, have your caterer go through options that only include local, organic, and in-season products. Many caterers will offer farm-to-table options, which not only boosts your local economy, but limits the amount of transport - and thus, emissions - required in getting your food to you. Plus it has the added bonus of being fresh and tasty!

To limit food waste, try going for a plated dinner, rather than a buffet. If that's not your style, see if there are any organizations in your area who can work with your caterer to get that extra food to people in need in your community.

And, if you really want to go the extra mile, serve a completely vegan or vegetarian meal!

The Registry

Your guests will want to celebrate your new adventure by offering a gift. Rather than registering at big chain stores, connect with local small businesses to ask them if they can do wedding registries. Choose businesses with a proven track record in selling eco-friendly and ethically sourced products.

Or, eliminate physical gifts altogether and ask your guests to purchase gift cards, contribute to a honeymoon fund, or donate to a charity of your choice!

The Dresses

The fashion industry is a major player in the global climate crisis. Choosing a sustainable dress - both for yourself and your bridal party - can be a huge factor in creating a green wedding.

Allow your bridesmaids to choose their own dresses. This will ensure they choose something they will wear again, or even something they already own!

When choosing your wedding dress, think vintage! Maybe your mom still has her dress, and would allow you to have it altered, or maybe there's a perfect dress waiting for you in your local vintage thrift store.

If you're set on brand new, find a local bridal company - like Pure Magnolia! - who will custom-make your dress for you, using sustainable and ethically sourced fabrics.

Do you have other tips for an eco-friendly wedding? Let us know!

Photographer: Corey Lynn
Planning: Greater Good Events
Venue: Glynwood Events
Floral Design: Sarah Saunders Studio
Rentals: Together LLC
Make-up: Alana Schmidt
Model: Bally
Stationary: Whole Weddings
Dress: Pure Magnolia Liane in black