4 Ways to Have a More Eco-Friendly Wedding

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A few strategic decisions can greatly reduce the environmental impact of your Big Day.

Wedding season is fast approaching, which means that planning season is in full swing right now. If you are one of those lucky people preparing to tie the knot in 2019, now is the time to ask yourself (and your partner) some important questions about how green you'd like the event to be.

This is a topic we've covered numerous times on TreeHugger, so there are already some great resources in the archives. (You can find links below this post.) But every now and then I come across yet more wisdom that is worth sharing. The latest comes via Sarah Baillie, a coordinator at the Center for Biological Diversity, who wrote a blog post about her and her fiancé's efforts to have a more 'wildlife-friendly wedding'. Baillie writes,

"My fiancé and I are major animal lovers and nature nerds. We both spent time as undergraduates volunteering at wildlife rehabilitation centers, and we met in a grad school lab studying bird behavior. We’re also passionate about caring for the environment and try to make the most sustainable choices in our day-to-day lives."

The pair has made some conscious choices surrounding their upcoming wedding day. A few stood out to me and I wanted to share them below.

1) Choosing a location nearest to the guests

Baillie and her fiancé live in Arizona, while most of their friends and relatives are on the East Coast, with the highest concentrations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. So, they've opted to get married in Philadelphia to cut down on travel costs and overall impact.

2) Choosing a simple, accessible venue

The pair is getting married in an aquarium, where no decorations need to be put up because there's a gorgeous shark tank right behind them – and who can beat that? The reception is in the same location, saving people from driving.

3) Selecting a planet-friendly menu

Going vegetarian for the dinner could cut 75 percent of the emissions created by the meal, and opting for plated servings reduces food waste, compared to a buffet. Baillie said their decision was, ultimately, a compromise:

"Because my fiancé isn’t a vegetarian, we decided to compromise on the menu. All of the appetizers offered will be vegetarian. And since beef has a much higher environmental footprint than other protein sources, we’re only serving chicken and fish entrées."

4) Using flower alternatives

Bouquets may seem like a given, but they shouldn't be. They're expensive, often imported by airplane, and thus carbon-intensive. You could forego the bouquets altogether and do as Baillie did:

"Instead of a bouquet, I bought myself a vintage gold-beaded clutch to carry. It’s much more my style than holding a bunch of flowers, and I’ll get more use out of it in the future."

Using similar inventiveness, the groomsmen will wear live succulents in their lapels that will be replanted after use – "a nice wedding keepsake [and] a nod to the Southwest, where my fiancé and I have lived for the past four years."

Read Baillie's full article here, and check out TreeHugger's other posts on this topic below. As you'll quickly realize, there's no need to buy into the whole multi-billion dollar wedding industry. You can still get married, celebrate with people you love, and have a party to remember without generating heaps of waste, emitting piles of carbon, and draining your bank account.

Choose to do it differently – and help the wildlife while you're at it!