Say "I do" to a sustainable celebration with these eco-friendly wedding planning tips.

By Rachel Sylvester
Updated: April 17, 2019

Wedding trends come and go, but it seems one particular planning practice is gaining traction among newly engaged couples—the eco-friendly wedding. "More millennial couples are committed to sustainability, and this environmental consciousness is not exclusive of how they go about planning their wedding," says Jeffra Trumpower, Creative Director at WeddingWire.com. "As we learn more and more about the impacts our choices have on the environment, we see people making more responsible choices."

Sustainable weddings range in scope from a few recycled reception centerpieces to carefully executed zero-waste affairs, but now, more than ever, to-be-weds are considering the ecological impact of their nuptials long before they walk down the aisle. For couples looking for eco-friendly wedding options, a lot starts with the vendors they select, according to Trumpower. "Having open and honest conversations with vendors about their wishes to be eco-friendly or zero-waste is vital before deciding on a wedding pro," she says.

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If the thought of going green conjures up images of papier-mâché bouquets or compostable party shoes, fret not. The reality of an eco-friendly wedding is much more chic than it sounds, especially when you keep these five essential details in mind:

Floral Arrangements

Before booking your florist, ask the right questions to ensure you're both on board with eco-concious flower arrangements. Are harmful pesticides used? Do any centerpieces include foam? Trumpower suggests working with a local farmer florist who grows and maintains on their own land. If that's not an option, couples should tell their florist they would only like to use local and in-season blooms. "Look into donating your centerpieces to local hospitals or nursing homes too, so others can continue to enjoy the florals rather than throwing them away," she says.

Catering

If you're planning an outdoor affair, opt for compostable dinner plates over plastic, and avoid gifting edible treats in cellophane wrappers. The same goes for serving signature cocktails in monogrammed plastic cups. Trumpower also suggests speaking with your caterer about plans to donate rehearsal dinner or reception leftovers to a food bank or another local organization in need.

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Invitations

Etiquette experts may disagree, but we're all for embracing the e-vite. Digital save-the-dates and invitations are widely available online, and going paperless allows you to easily track your RSVPs. If paper is an absolute must, consider plantable invitations embedded with seeds for an unexpected eco-friendly twist.

Guest Favors

The days of sending guests home with personalized favors they'll ultimately throw away are long gone. Save money by doing away with favors entirely, or send partygoers home with edible gifts in the form of homemade treats, like limoncello or cookies. Miniature potted plants are another thoughtful sustainable option your guests will actually use.

Reception Rentals

"For couples going eco-friendly, work with a vendor who does rentals rather than purchasing a lot of items that will essentially be thrown away after your wedding," Trumpower says. This means renting everything from tables and chairs to candlesticks and votives.

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