10 Tips for Planning an Eco-Friendly Wedding

One wedding can generate up to 600 pounds of garbage. Yes, you read that right. As the world continues to shift focus towards more sustainable practices, it’s important that we do so in the wedding industry as well. If you’re planning a wedding, consider trying a few of these tips to reduce waste and have a more eco-friendly wedding.

paper wedding table numbers for an eco-friendly wedding by seattle mountain wedding photographer amy galbraith

1. Choose recycled paper invitations or e-vites.

It may be a bit less romantic than a fancy mailed invitation, but think of the emissions you’ll reduce and the trees you’ll save by emailing invitations. Allow guests to RSVP via your wedding website to keep everything in place. If you have your heart set on paper invites, choose a company that produces invitations with recycled paper. Greenvelope is a great place for email invitations. For unique recycled wedding invitations, Greenfield Paper Company provides invites made from recycled paper and printed with soy ink. They also offer plantable favor boxes!

Ice cream at a wedding served for dessert in a compostable dish by Seattle wedding photographer Amy Galbraith

2. Use washable or compostable flatware.

If you are required to provide your own silverware, choose a compostable option rather than plastic. This will save tons on the amount of garbage produced. I love these bamboo plates and compostable silverware.

A wedding reception at beautiful outdoor wedding venue Green Gates at Flowing Lake in Snohomish by Seattle mountain wedding photographer Amy Galbraith

3. Ask your venue about composting and recycling.

One great way to make sure you have an eco-friendly wedding is make sure you have options for the waste you do produce. When choosing a venue, ask if they compost and recycle. If not, work with a local company who can help you dispose of waste properly.

Live plant centerpieces at a wedding on Vashon Island photographed by outdoor wedding photographer Amy Galbraith

4. Choose live centerpieces for decor.

If you are considering florals or greenery for your decor, why not entertain the idea of potted plants? These will also be really fun for guests to take home at the end of the night, or fill your own home with them to remind you of your special day!

A bride holds a bouquet of seasonal blush and maroon flowers for her bridal bouquet photographed by Seattle mountain wedding photographer Amy Galbraith

5. Choose a florist who practices green floral design techniques.

Ask your florist if they can make your centerpieces using foam-free techniques. It’s also best to choose seasonal flowers purchased from a local market than to ship a specialty bloom from across the globe.

Rented wedding decor and long wooden tables for an eco-friendly wedding at JM Cellars photographed by Seattle wedding photographer Amy Galbraith

6. Thrift or choose reusable decor for your eco-friendly wedding.

Some venues or florists have decor available for you. Use as much of that as possible! You may also find wedding “thrift shows” that allow you to purchase decor from other couples who no longer need it. This is always a better option than purchasing new.

Edible wedding favors served in glass jars photographed by outdoor wedding photographer Amy Galbraith

7. Make your favors edible or consider a charitable donation.

Edible favors are always a big hit at weddings. Local chocolates, candies, or snacks are always great. Just be sure to use glass or compostable containers to put the edibles in. You could also consider donating to your favorite charity in lieu of giving out favors. Have a little sign for your guests to view as they enter so they can see where you donated to.

Second-hand wedding dress photographed by Seattle wedding photographer Amy Galbraith

8. Encourage your wedding party to purchase second-hand or rent their attire.

Yes, this is totally a thing. Even for wedding dresses! Rent the Runway is a popular option for rentals, providing multiple sizes for you to choose from and get the perfect fit. For second hand wedding attire and dresses, try

Water station at a wedding with glassware photographed by Seattle mountain wedding photographer Amy Galbraith

9. For a more eco-friendly wedding, skip the plastic cups.

Either use glass cups provided by your venue or gift guests with their own personal cup. This can be something they take home with them at the end of the night. However, resist the urge to put your names and wedding dates on the cups as people will be more likely to toss later on.

A bride and groom walk through a field of wildflowers at a venue in Leavenworth, Washington by Seattle mountain wedding photographer Amy Galbraith

10. Keep your eco-friendly wedding local.

As romantic as a destination wedding may sound, flying you and your guests across the globe isn’t a way to have an eco-friendly wedding. Keep things local so less people have to travel.

Do you have any other ideas of how to make a wedding more eco-friendly? I’d love to hear about them!

10 Tips for Planning an Eco-Friendly Wedding | Outdoor Adventure Wedding Photographer Amy Galbraith

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