According to TheKnot.com, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. was $32,641 in 2015. (Unless you got married in Manhattan, in which case you’re looking at $82,299.) One way to cut wedding costs is to think about how you can recycle, reduce, and reuse on your big day. Your pocketbook (read: parents) will thank you, and so will Mother Nature. Here are a few eco-friendly wedding ideas to consider:
Eco-Friendly Wedding Venue
Reduce energy usage by having an outdoor wedding ceremony, where you can use the natural light of the sun instead of relying on electricity indoors.
Reduce carbon emissions by holding your ceremony and reception in the same venue to avoid guests’ need to travel from one venue to another.
If an outdoor wedding is simply not an option, plan a daytime event inside an eco-friendly wedding venue with ample natural light to eliminate or reduce energy usage during your event. You can also use the soft lighting of candles around the room to save energy and also create a romantic ambiance.
Eco-Friendly Wedding Stationery
Reuse invitations and programs by choosing to print them on plantable paper. After your wedding, guests can plant them in soil (instead of throwing them away) and then enjoy the flowers, plants, or herbs produced by the seeds embedded within the paper fibers.
Reduce the use of paper and ink and create a wedding website with complete event information, eliminating the need for additional inserts included with your invitation.
Eco-Friendly Wedding Flowers and Centerpieces
Reduce the need for distribution and long-term refrigeration by choosing in-season, locally-grown flowers for the bouquets at your eco-friendly wedding.
Recycle your beautiful wedding flowers by donating them to Repeat Roses, a service that delivers them to hospitals, hospice care, cancer treatment centers, nursing homes, and women’s shelters.
Reuse other creative materials to create bouquets — think silk flowers and greenery, brooches or other jewelry, buttons, feathers, pine cones, Christmas ornaments, or origami.
For centerpieces, choose items that you can reuse after your reception, or items that guests can take home as party favors. For example, soy or honeycomb candles, pine cones, or potted plants, like succulents, orchids, primroses, African violets, or herbs are great alternatives for your eco-friendly wedding.
Eco-Friendly Wedding Dresses
Recycle and reuse by choosing an heirloom dress and hiring a seamstress to implement whatever modifications you desire to make it your own.
Reuse by buying your dress at a vintage boutique.
Reuse by shopping online stores that sell previously worn wedding dresses.
Why buy when you can rent? Look for an online wedding gown and bridesmaid dress rental store and save money by renting existing dresses instead of buying ones that are brand new. (Even the guys can rent their attire!)
Eco-Friendly Wedding Favors
A unique, philanthropic, and “green” party favor is donating to your favorite charity in lieu of purchasing party favors, or give guests a choice of charity from a select few.
Eco-Friendly Wedding Escort Cards
Instead of printing an escort card for each guest, telling them at which table they should sit, assign a friend or family member the role of guiding guests to their table (based on a list you provide). This is not only more environmentally friendly, but also adds a personal touch for arriving guests.