Published: Thursday, Apr. 21st, 2022
Weddings are naturally romantic, but their impacts on the natural world are not!
Unfortunately, the average wedding produces a ton of waste – 63 tons of CO2, actually, and nearly 400 to 600 pounds of trash.
Larger weddings and receptions create more waste, of course, while elopements create less. It’s just one more reason we’re such big fans of small, intimate ceremonies!
Luckily, there are many great ways to reduce your environmental impact without sacrificing an ounce of style or minute of fun!
Plan the perfect environmentally friendly wedding!
You can keep your wedding green behind the scenes too, by choosing an environmentally responsible wedding officiant!
Ask a friend or family member that shares your values to get ordained to officiate the ceremony. Then, brainstorm ways to reduce your impact together, such as meeting virtually to work on the ceremony script, or taking public transit to the rehearsal.
If you’d prefer to hire a professional officiant, check your local listings for pros who advertise green business practices.
Choose a venue close to home and limit the distance that friends and relatives will need to travel to celebrate with you. As simple as it sounds, this one decision can do a lot to keep your wedding greener.
Although destination weddings are undeniably delightful, they pack a punch in terms of fuel costs. Consider this: A 10 hour flight on a Boeing 747 uses 36,000 gallons of fuel; a large cruise ship consumes 80,645 gallons per day of travel; and a cross country drive takes an average of 150 gallons of gas, depending on your car.
Add in the additional fuel used to transport wedding guests and vendors, and things add up fast! That’s why sticking close to home is an easy way to be green.
We love a backyard celebration with vintage style!
Virtual and hybrid wedding ceremonies just might be the simplest way to eliminate almost all of the immediate environmental impacts of a traditional wedding. Virtual weddings also offer endless opportunities for creativity; quirky unity ceremonies and readings, and participation from guests living all over the world!
By live streaming your celebration over Zoom, Skype, Facebook, or Instagram (or any of the custom wedding streaming services like Lovecast, Lovestream, or Wedfuly), you eliminate the fossil fuel costs of guests traveling to a venue, along with the waste produced by hotels and venues while hosting a ceremony.
Vintage wedding suits and wedding dresses bring unique charm to the day.
Photo by Jonathan Borba
Choose vintage decor to cut down on the number of new items you purchase, especially when it comes to things you’ll only use on the big day. We’re talking vintage lace tablecloths and photo frames, antique candle holders, retro lamps and lanterns, cute tea cups, record players, and any other timeless accents you can think of.
Previously-owned wedding gowns and wedding suits can be upcycled, too. If you find a vintage fit you like, make it your own with modern touches like handmade jewelry, custom tailoring and alterations, and accessories that lend a splash of color.
There’s no better way to 'go green' than with actual greenery! Add a tree planting ceremony to your celebration to give the day a special meaning and lasting impact. Tree planting ceremonies have been around for thousands of years, and continue to be a popular unity ritual at weddings – especially for couples who love the outdoors!
If you live in an apartment or townhouse and don’t have room for a full size tree, substitute another favorite plant instead. Consider a potted rose bush, seasonal bulbs, a dwarf fruit tree, or a sweet succulent or houseplant.
Bouquets and arrangements using flowering bulbs can be replanted,
to bloom again and again each year on your anniversary.
One of the most stunning details of a traditional wedding ceremony are the floral arrangements! It’s very common for brides and grooms to carry lavish bouquets down the aisle, or to find vases filled with freshly cut flowers set along the aisle or atop the wedding altar.
To make your floral flourishes eco-friendly, consider using potted plants and flowering bulbs instead of cut flowers! These can be placed in decorative planters or pots along the aisle or on the altar. Flowering bulbs can also be used to create colorful bouquets, which can be re-planted in soil after the ceremony, or add a bulb planting unity ceremony to the celebration.
These special blooms will blossom again and again over the years, marking anniversaries and the turning of seasons with a splash of color and gorgeous aroma.
A simple way to counteract your carbon footprint and fight climate change on the wedding day is by donating to an environmental charity. Donations can be made by a conscientious couple, or by family and friends in place of traditional wedding gifts.
You might choose to donate to wildlife preservation, a reforestation project, or a clean water charity, for example. Donating to a ‘carbon neutral’ or ‘zero carbon’ charity, such as Carbonfund.org, is also an excellent way to offset the environmental impacts of your wedding-day.
For more inspiration, consider eco friendly wedding favors, confetti, and invitations made from recycled paper, or find an eco friendly wedding registry.
Even your wedding cake can be eco friendly,
with locally sourced ingredients and live succulents as decoration!
American Marriage Ministries is a carbon neutral organization and a proud partner of Carbonfund.org. To learn more about our environmental advocacy and other charitable donations, visit our Charitable Activities page.
Did you know? The history of Earth Day is about working together. The first Earth Day took place in the US in 1970 following growing concern among people from all political parties, ages, and walks of life, about the health of the environment. It became a global day of activism and awareness in 1990, uniting people from all over the world in the common goal of environmental stewardship and conservation.
According to EarthDay.org, “the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of other first of their kind environmental laws, including the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act.” Two years later, as annual Earth Day demonstrations continued, Congress passed the Clean Water Act. Three years later, the Endangered Species Act was passed. All told, these historic laws “have protected millions of men, women and children from disease and death and have protected hundreds of species from extinction.”
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