Embracing Sustainability: How to Have an Eco-Chic Wedding

As a wedding photographer and earth lover, sustainability means the world to me! Nowadays, there’s so much pressure for weddings to be huge and extravagant, but I’ve learned that true luxury lies in the details, not in wastefulness. I believe that sustainability is a journey, and I’m so thrilled to share this eco-conscious experience with you on your big day. Let’s create beautiful memories while taking care of our planet with a sustainable wedding!

Wedding decor ideas with honey wedding favors.

How I Incorporate Sustainability into My Wedding Photography Business

Leave No Trace

When I’m out capturing beautiful moments in nature, leaving no trace is a top priority. I make sure to stick to the trails, follow park guidelines, and never leave any trash behind. In fact, whenever possible, I aim to leave the space even better than I found it. I’m a big nature lover, so protecting our beautiful environment is near and dear to my heart.

Go Digital

I’m also conscious of paper consumption and try to go digital whenever I can. Whether it’s communication, contracts, or payments, I love using electronic means to reduce paper waste. And when it comes to albums or physical prints, I only work with companies that share my commitment to reducing waste and promoting environmentally-friendly practices. Using acid-free printing paper not only helps the environment but also ensures your precious photographs will stand the test of time!

Support Eco-Friendly Charities

Something else I’m really proud of is that a portion of my proceeds goes to organizations that work hard to protect our planet. So, when you choose me as your photographer, you’re not only getting beautiful memories but also contributing to a greener world!

Opt for Climate-Conscious Airlines

I know flying is sometimes necessary, especially for destination weddings, but I always make sure to choose airlines that are committed to protecting the environment and reducing their impact on the climate crisis. Every little step counts, right?

Choosing a Sustainable Wedding Venue

Natural Beauty Means Less Need for Decor

When it comes to sustainable wedding venue choices the best thing you can do is choose a venue surrounded by lots of greenery, natural scenery, or even stunning man-made structures. Think vineyards, chateaus, estates with expansive gardens, an outdoor forest setting, or beautiful architecture. The abundance of natural beauty means there’s less need for excessive decorations, reducing the materials brought in or used.

Additionally, couples can search for hotels and event spaces with LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certifications and Energy Star ratings to ensure they align with eco-conscious values. Here is a website that you can use to make your search a bit easier. Choosing such venues not only creates a stunning backdrop for your special day but also demonstrates your commitment to a greener and more environmentally responsible celebration.

The photos above are a great example of re-purposing florals throughout a wedding day. The same florals used at the ceremony were re-arranged into the reception space.

See more of this Fairytale Wedding in Chattanooga!

Eco-Conscious Wedding Decor and Floral Arrangements

Opt for Potted Plants or Dried Florals

When it comes to eco-conscious decor and florals, there are plenty of creative ways to make your wedding more sustainable. Consider opting for potted plants and arrangements instead of cut florals that will wither away quickly. If you do choose cut flowers, make sure they are composted afterward to minimize waste. Or, opt for dried flowers (an increasingly popular choice) as they can last for a long time and be repurposed as decor even after the wedding.

Sustainable wedding dried floral bouquet.

Dried Floral Bouquet by Olive and Sage Floral

Support Local Flower Farms

When sourcing your floral designs, consider working closely with florists who prioritize sustainability and collaborate with local flower farms. These partnerships not only support the community but also reduce the environmental impact associated with long-distance shipping and transportation. Choosing flowers that are in season or native to the area where you’ll tie the knot is a beautiful way to showcase your commitment to preserving the local ecosystem.

Sustainable wedding with a dried floral bridal bouquet.

Infusing eco-conscious decor and floral arrangements into your wedding not only elevates the beauty special day but also leaves a positive mark on the environment. Your commitment to sustainability will be admired by your guests, and you’ll have the joy of knowing that your celebration is making a meaningful difference for our planet.

Thoughtful Food and Beverage Choices

One of the biggest areas of waste in the wedding industry is food and beverages. However, couples can make eco-conscious choices to minimize their environmental impact. Sustainable options like using compostable appetizer plates or reusable eating materials instead of single use help reduce waste.

Embracing local produce and vendors who don’t rely on imports from distant places supports sustainability, and selecting venues with farm-to-table menus is a great option. Working closely with caterers to ensure accurate portion sizes can further reduce food waste, and any uneaten food can be composted or donated.

Prioritizing locally and seasonally sourced produce not only supports local farmers and agriculture practices but also contributes to a more sustainable event. Additionally, limiting meat consumption or opting for humanely treated sources can help lower the wedding’s carbon footprint.

Eco-Friendly Wedding Favors and Gifts

Wedding favors and gifts are a tradition that often generates unnecessary waste. However, you can break away from this pattern by embracing eco-friendly alternatives. Consider skipping favors altogether or opt for sustainable options like donating to a charity on behalf of your guests, selecting thoughtful thrifted antique items, or supporting local artisans. These eco-conscious choices not only express gratitude to your guests but also showcase your dedication to sustainability, adding a deeper level of meaning and significance to your special day.

Local honey wedding guest favor.

Anya + David chose to gift a small jar of honey to each of their guests created from the bees that live on the Groom’s parent’s bee farm.

15 Sustainable Wedding Favor Ideas

  1. Custom Portrait: Provide the opportunity for guests to have their portrait created with a live painter
  2. Seed Packets: Give your guests the gift of nature with seed packets, encouraging them to plant and grow flowers or herbs.
  3. Eco-Friendly Candles: Opt for candles made from soy or beeswax, which are renewable and produce less soot than traditional candles.
  4. Organic Tea or Coffee: Offer guests packets of organic tea or fair-trade coffee, perfect for a cozy and sustainable treat.
  5. Homemade Jams or Honey: Share the sweetness of your love with homemade jams or locally sourced honey.
  6. Succulents or Potted Plants: Give guests potted plants or succulents that they can cherish and grow as a reminder of your wedding.
  7. Wooden Coasters: Engrave wooden coasters with your names or initials, providing a practical and eco-friendly keepsake.
  8. Thrifted Treasures: Embrace the charm of vintage with one-of-a-kind thrifted items as wedding favors such as antique mugs or trinkets.
  9. Local Artisanal Products: Support local artisans and businesses by gifting handmade, sustainable products unique to your wedding location.
  10. Donations to Charities: Instead of physical favors, consider donating to a charitable organization on behalf of your guests, making a positive impact in the world.

Tips for an Eco-Friendly Wedding Experience

When planning your sustainable wedding, remember that less is more, and prioritize creating experiences over material possessions. If it feels right to you, downsize wherever possible to focus on what truly matters. Smaller, thoughtfully planned gatherings can be just as luxurious and hold an even deeper meaning. The key lies in making intentional decisions that align with your values and the positive impact you desire for your special day.

  • Choose a location that offers natural beauty and minimizes the need for excessive decorations.
  • Embrace local culture and support the community by selecting eco-conscious vendors and locally sourced products.
  • Opt for digital whenever possible and minimize paper usage throughout the planning process.
  • Consider eco-friendly transportation options for you and your guests, and encourage carpooling to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Communicate your commitment to sustainability with your guests and inspire them to participate in eco-conscious practices during your celebration.

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