Here’s how to plan your big day with less waste

Having a sustainable wedding is a lot easier than you think—whether you are planning a grand celebration or an intimate ceremony. From reusable decor to recycled stationery and minimizing food waste, we have gathered some of our favourite ideas to make sure your big day is as memorable as it should be—in the greenest way possible.

1. Choose a sustainable venue

wedding venuePhoto by Pat Rindone on UnsplashSelect a venue that puts the environment first and has practices in place to recycle, compost, use less electricity—or even grow their own food. Also, no matter how fun destination weddings can be, picking a local venue means you're reducing the amount of emissions and fuel for your event. As well, you can encourage family and friends to carpool, or even hire a shuttle service to reduce your carbon footprint. If you love being in the outdoors, greenhouses, wineries and botanical gardens make for gorgeous venues thanks to all the lush scenery.

2. Create an eco-friendly registry

registryPhoto by Annie Spratt on UnsplashShow your loved ones how much you care about the environment and how you support various causes, brands and organizations through your wedding registry. It’s also a fabulous way to perhaps inspire the guests to lead a more green lifestyle, too. If you don’t want any material gifts, then select a foundation or charity that everyone can donate to.

3. Get creative with stationery and signage

signPhoto by Sooz . on UnsplashIt’s all in the details when it comes to weddings, which can unfortunately mean a lot of excess waste, so here's your opportunity to get extra creative! If you’re creating save-the-date cards and invitations, there are many options available, including finding an eco-conscious company online, using recycled paper yourself, or choosing to present all of your wedding information on a website. Instead of printing hundreds of wedding programs and creating signage just for one day, think of using reusable items, such as a chalkboard.

4. Start thrifting

ladderPhoto by Photos by Lanty on UnsplashThis is one of the best ways to find decor and statement pieces—whether it's for placing on the dinner tables or hanging around the venue. Thrift shops and flea markets can be filled with hidden gems that can also be customized and given out as keepsakes for your guests afterwards. There are so many possibilities!

5. Buy or rent reusable wedding decor, or make upcycled pieces

flowersPhoto by Kelly Sikkema on UnsplashInstead of spending money on brand new items, search on platforms like Facebook Marketplace or other buy/sell online groups to see what you can find for decorating the venue. If you don’t want to purchase anything, there are many companies that rent items as well. Our favourite idea is to upcycle things from around the house, such as Mason jars and wine bottles that can be used as easy and gorgeous table centrepieces.

6. Minimize food waste

food wastePhoto by Victoria Priessnitz on UnsplashWeddings and food go hand in hand, but it’s a sad reality that a lot of food goes to waste by the end of the night. Set up a compost station for your guests, and commit to donating unserved meals to a shelter or food bank. If you are hiring a caterer, make your selection based on what farmers they partner with, and how they source their food. The same goes for alcohol. Look for natural and organic local wines, or beer that is produced with a commitment to sustainable production and packaging.

7. Cut down on electricity usage

candlesPhoto by Hunt on Photos Studio on UnsplashOur favourite way to set a romantic mood is with candles during the ceremony and reception. Not only does it look absolutely stunning, but it’s also the best way to cut down on electricity. When required, opt for LED light bulbs, which use less power versus a regular bulb.

8. Source your flowers locally and donate them after

floralsPhoto by Annie Spratt on UnsplashBuying local flowers is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, and will ensure you have only the freshest blooms. Also consider hiring a sustainable florist and incorporating potted plants into your decor. Once the event is over, choose a few hospices or shelters to donate your flowers to—you’re not only doing a good deed for the planet, but also brightening up someone's day.

9. Wear eco-friendly attire

gownPhoto by Jonathan Borba on UnsplashSelecting your wedding gown or suit is one of the most special moments leading up to the big day. Make it even more amazing by borrowing or up-ycling from a family member or friend, or even from your nearest thrift shop. Encourage the entire wedding party to do the same to support your cause.