Minimalist Wedding Guide: How to Have a Low-Waste Ceremony
Your wedding reflects your love story. If you care about waste and the environment, you don’t have to sacrifice your beliefs to have the ceremony of your dreams. You want to look back on your big day with fondness and not regret contributing to harming the planet.
Thankfully, you have many options when planning a ceremony that celebrates your love for each other and the planet. Here are some actionable ways you can minimize waste at your wedding.
1. Go Paperless
On average, weddings produce up to 400 pounds of trash. Wedding costs continue to increase, with $27,063 being the average for 2021. The cost contributes to the waste, and the vicious cycle begins. There are many ways to minimize waste and expenses, and you can start with digital invitations.
Digital invitations eliminate paper waste from traditional invitations. If you don’t want to go completely paperless, you can choose eco-friendly paper options for your invites, like bamboo or recyclable paper. Ensure your guests know they can recycle their invitations. You can also ask for e-gift cards as wedding gifts to contribute to eliminating waste.
2. Choose and Reuse Wedding Flowers Wisely
Choose flowers that are in season and locally grown for your big day. This can save you and your florist money, as it cuts down on transportation and shipping. The less your flowers have to travel, the less pollution they’ll cause.
You can reuse your wedding flowers in many ways, like creating a keepsake, infusing tea or other drinks, or as an ingredient in a dessert. If your heart is set on fresh flowers, consider donating or preserving them after your event to eliminate waste. You can donate your fresh blooms to hospitals, nursing homes, shelters or other charitable organizations. You can also use live plants as your centerpieces and send them home with guests.
3. Choose the Right Venue
Ensure you consider the geographic location of your nuptials. You want to cut down on emissions from travel as much as possible. Choose a venue that most of your guests won’t have to travel far to attend. You can also save on emissions by having your ceremony and reception in the same space.
Look for venues that compost and recycle or find a local company to pick up recycling from your wedding. If you can find a venue with reusable decor, that’s a huge bonus. You will save decoration costs and also reduce emissions from event rental trucks. You can also look for a venue that uses renewable energy. Lastly, keep your guest list small to minimize the waste from your event.
4. Use Minimal Decor
Repurpose items around your home for your event. You can use one of your tables for the guest book or appetizers at your wedding. You or your family may own many miscellaneous items that you can use to decorate your event. Mirrors are excellent decorating options for your big day, and books, baskets and vases are also ideal.
Use chalk or pastels for your signs rather than having them made from vinyl. Use a large easel for menu items and a seating chart rather than paper menus and place cards.
5. Hire Local
Hire local everything to reduce travel, air pollutants and emissions while supporting small businesses. Shopping locally is a great way to be sustainable, help the environment and reduce waste. These companies also typically buy locally, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps lower your carbon footprint.
Hiring local vendors aids your neighbors, protects wildlife and contributes to a greener environment. Support local farmers by purchasing their produce to cook with or hire a nearby caterer. You can also utilize farmers for consumable favors for your guests, such as mini jars of honey, salsa or olive oil for zero-waste, delicious wedding favors. Enlist a baker to make your cake, opt for an edible cake topper or use a figurine you own. Funko pop or action figures make quirky and low-waste cake toppers.
Typically, plenty of food goes to waste after an event, so ensure your guests or caterer donate or take home the food from your event. You can also shop sustainably for beauty products and fashion for your big day. Hire someone local to do your makeup and hair and let them know your concerns so they can ensure you’re as sustainable as possible.
6. Eliminate Plastic
If you’re planning a low-waste ceremony, you likely don’t want to contribute to the plastic pollution crisis. It has risen substantially and continues to increase, with over 8 million tons being dumped into oceans yearly. You can use many alternatives at your wedding to reduce the amount of plastic that gets thrown away. Consider tossing flower petals instead of confetti or bubbles.
Don’t use plastic water bottles, cups, plates or cutlery. Consider having a water station with regular and flavored water for your crew and guests. You can use reusable bottles or wine glasses as gifts for your bridesmaids and groomsmen, making it easier for them to keep up with their drinks all night. Hit up your local thrift stores to find reusable dinner plates, cups and utensils for your reception.
Have a Low-Waste Wedding Ceremony
The simplest way to achieve a zero-waste wedding would be to elope at a courthouse with your significant other. However, wanting a grand ceremony is understandable and achievable. You don’t have to forgo the special things you want incorporated into your big day, but you can take steps to have a small environmental impact. Aim to keep your guest list under 100 people and utilize these tips to have a gorgeous yet minimalist ceremony