sustainable, green, or eco-weddings are becoming increasingly popular as more and more couples seek to plan their weddings in more sustainable and eco-friendly ways, aligning their values with their big day.
this isn’t so much a new wedding trend as it is an extension of a growing lifestyle. as the effects of climate change become more apparent, many of us want to do what we can to become better caretakers of mother earth in our daily lives. with this in mind, we’re here to share some examples of how your wedding day can be a beautiful expression of your love for each other and for the planet.
don’t worry, this list isn’t all-encompassing—there are many ways to make more environmentally-conscious choices, and there are several factors at play that impact our capacity to do so. access, budget, and wedding planning are not one-type-fits all situations, but if we all get creative and commit to making small, consistent steps towards a more sustainable world, those steps will begin to add up.
there are many options and ideas out there, so we’ve compiled a few to help you get inspired.
venue: the venue is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make when planning your wedding, and there are a wide variety of options when it comes to making more eco-friendly choices in this area. many venues offer green amenities such as solar panels, low-flow plumbing, biodegradable cleaning products, composting, water bottle filling stations, energy-efficient lightbulbs, eco-friendly building materials…and that’s just the beginning! shop around to find venues that offer green initiatives that best speak to your values— check out this list of eco-friendly venues in and around toronto, this breakdown of sustainable wedding vendors and venues in british columbia, and parks canada guidelines on weddings in banff national park to start brainstorming!
transport: if you can, limit carbon emissions related to transportation by having your ceremony and reception in the same location, or within walking distance of each other. If that isn’t an option, consider arranging carpooling or a shuttle for your guests to lower the footprint around travel to and from the event.
stationery: if you can, consider using post-consumer recycled paper, or another sustainable option like biodegradable, seeded, or hemp paper. Cotton paper is a tree-free option that seems appealing, but take care to ensure that you choose a product that uses post-consumer recycled cotton—cotton production tends to contribute to excessive water usage. read through this list for more information on choosing sustainable paper options.
looking to go one better? think about skipping printed save-the-dates, invitations, and rsvps altogether and create your own wedding website– saving on paper usage, and streamlining the process of tracking who will and won’t be attending. there are a myriad of wedding website hosts out there that provide templates and design options for you to choose from.
flowers: we love flowers as much as the next person, and this area is a great opportunity to look for more sustainable options—here are just a few to get you started:
- for those of you with a green thumb and plenty of time, why not grow and arrange your own bouquet to add a truly meaningful touch to your florals?
- partnering with florists who will source local, in-season flowers rather than importing cut flowers
- switching to dried or potted flowers that can be kept after the event
- renting or making fabric or biodegradable or recycled paper flowers
- requesting environmentally-friendly alternatives to floral foam
decor/confetti: wherever possible, consider finding low-waste decor options. you could rent, borrow, or make your own decorations instead of buying to avoid creating excessive waste. some of our favourite ideas have included whimsical vintage teacups and teapots, lush potted succulents, old-fashioned books, and upcycled mason jars—but get creative, because the possibilities are endless! Make sure to select organic, biodegradable confetti, such as dried flower petals or leaves, and opt for compostable or plantable paper cones—dried rice is known to be harmful for birds and other wildlife, and non-biodegradable options effectively amount to littering.
favours: wedding favours are an easy thing to adapt to your values and priorities. we love these wedding favour ideas:
- something useful—like little wedding survival kits with items such as painkillers, bandaids, hair clips, breath mints, a mini comb, or lip balm
- something edible for a post-wedding snack!
- something green (literally!) like a small potted plant, seedling, or wildflower seeds (just make sure that the seeds are appropriate for the local area!)
- a charitable donation in the name of your guests
food: seek out like-minded caterers who use locally-sourced and in-season ingredients to feed your guests, and make a plan to either donate leftovers or send them home with your guests (packed in bring-your-own, reusable, or eco-friendly packaging, of course!).
registry: to minimize waste, packaging, and shipping emissions, register for honeymoon or date night activities and experiences instead of items, or ask that your guests make donations in your name to a charity of your choosing in lieu of physical gifts. Another fun idea would be to craft a “sustainable registry” challenging your guests to find thrifted or sustainably-sourced gifts. if you have specific sustainable brands that you shop with, you could use those, and also include requests or suggestions for thriftable, DIY, or upcycled items such as unique homewares, framed photos of memories with your guests… the possibilities are endless!
clothing: consider renting, borrowing, or thrifting suits and dresses for members of the wedding party, or asking them to use glad-rags they already own. for the happy couple, there are several options to source your outfits, from second-hand or vintage to heirloom or upcycling dresses, suits, or tuxedos. if you have your heart set on buying new, there are still ways to offset its footprint: perhaps think about reselling, repurposing, or donating your items—there are amazing possibilities out there! for other items, such as shoes and accessories, aim to select items you’ll be able to wear again, keeping them from a landfill and turning them into beautiful ways to remember your wedding day.
wedding bands and jewelry: and finally– here’s one suggestion we know a lot about! wedding jewelry that is ethically and sustainably made is a wonderful and lasting way to incorporate your green values into your wedding—and the rest of your lives. here are some things to consider when seeking out sustainably made jewelry:
- post-consumer gold & silver: when opting for post-consumer recycled metals, you help to avoid further mining by using gold or silver that is already in circulation. recycled metals are always tested to verify that they are completely pure, ensuring that they will be heirloom-quality
- ethical sourcing of stones: it’s crucial to make sure that wherever you buy your jewelry, they have transparent traceability practices confirming that they use conflict-free diamonds in line with the kimberley process and other ethically-sourced stones.
- Packaging: when shopping for jewelry for your wedding party, aim to avoid amassing too much disposable waste. when possible, it can be great to shop locally to skip shipping packaging, costs, and emissions. when shopping in-store at bluboho, you have the option to forego the packaging in exchange for $5 off your purchase. if shopping in-store isn’t an option, no need to worry– our packaging is entirely made from recycled, reusable, and compostable materials!
some final tips for waste reduction: it can be helpful to consider the most impactful changes you can make, and the areas that are most important to you as a couple. for example, if you love to thrift and peruse vintage shops, you may decide to source a vintage or pre-loved wedding dress/outfit. if you’re a couple of foodies, you may choose to prioritize hiring locally-sourced, seasonal caterers
- ask yourself how important each item truly is to you, and what will happen to it after your wedding. if the answer is that it will end up in a landfill or gather dust in storage, try to find an alternative solution
- overall, try to avoid single use items—for example, borrow or make any signage or props for photos, and then pass them on to the next happy couple!
- gift guests centerpieces and leftover food to take home, or donate them to local organizations (just make sure to double check their donation criteria in advance!)
- opt for reusable or biodegradable straws, napkins, and other diningware
for more information on our sustainability practices and initiatives, click here.
we can’t wait to see all the steps you take to make your wedding a little greener!