Are you looking to have a more environmentally conscious wedding — but the term “sustainable” calls to mind a less-than-glamorous affair? Don’t worry; you can most definitely cut back on the wedding waste without impacting the tone of your nuptials.
“A sustainable wedding is perfect for couples who really want to limit the amount of waste,” said wedding planner Christine Cusano, owner of Events by CC. “Being extravagant doesn’t necessarily make your wedding more fun. So, you absolutely can have a beautiful wedding without being extravagant or wasteful.”
Regardless of your personal style, throwing a sustainable bash can also help to put your priorities into better perspective. “I always say if you’ve got good music and good people, you’ve got yourself a great party,” said Cusano. “Having an entertaining wedding isn’t about using lots of decorations. Decorations don’t make the party. Good food and good people make the party.”
Here, Cusano shares her five favorite ways to throw a socially conscious — but still incredibly festive! — sustainable wedding this summer.
Save a Tree by Skipping Traditional Invitations
The best way to be sustainable is to avoid creating any waste in the first place. So why not start by skipping those thick, elaborate invitations, Cusano suggested. “Going paperless is a great way for the environmentalists out there to save trees. It’s saving a lot because, otherwise, you’re sending out your invitations, your thank you notes, your Save the Date cards. There’s a lot of things that are sent out for weddings. You could do an Evite or an email. But, in this day and age, there actually are beautiful designer options for paperless invitations too.”
Get Favors Guests Will Actually Want
We’ve all got votive candles and other wedding favors getting dusty in a drawer somewhere. Why not cut the waste — and help make the earth green — with your wedding favors? “It might be really neat if the couple gave cute fresh herb plants or seeds to their guests. You could do a tag attached to it that says, ‘Watch our love grow’ or ‘Plant our seed of love.’ It’s something guests can bring home and reuse so it isn’t wasteful,” Cusano suggested. “It also shows rebirth and regrowth. If you use the herb thyme, you could even do a saying like, ‘This is the best thyme of our life.'” Cusano suggests hitting a farmer’s market and picking up herbs or small plants in bulk.
Trade Centerpieces for a Charitable Gift
Ditch those expensive arrangements and spend the money on your favorite charity, Cusano said. “I would definitely donate money to your favorite cause instead of doing centerpieces. You can do signs on the table saying where you donated — whether it’s saving farmlands or animals or trees — instead of doing floral arrangements.”
Go Vintage with Your Dress
A bride doesn’t really need a new dress, Cusano said. “Finding something vintage or reusing your mother’s dress would be special for a few reasons. Number one, you’re saving money. Number two, you’re saving time,” she explained. “It could be your something borrowed. It would alleviate waste. And it’s nice because if you wear a family member’s dress, there’s sentimental value there too.”
Donate Your Leftovers
All the rich food that doesn’t get eaten? Cusano said it all simply gets tossed. “One great way to be sustainable is to donate your leftovers to a local homeless shelter. That would be an amazing thing to do at your wedding. By law, caterers aren’t allowed to serve extra food at another party,” Cusano said. “So, if you donate it, you avoid wasting the food and you’re doing something good for somebody else. Ask around or look online to find one near you. It’s a great way to pay it forward.”
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