Each year, an average of 2.4 million weddings are performed in the United States. And while it's entirely up to every couple to determine the style and budget of their big day, there are a number of simple yet effective eco-friendly practices you and your guests can implement to enhance your wedding's sustainability without breaking your budget or sacrificing your stylistic preferences. Here are just a few simple, affordable, and sustainable practices to consider during your wedding planning process.
Choose Eco-Friendly Favors And Decor
A surprising number of couples don't stop to think about the impact that their choices for wedding favors and decor have on the environment. However, being conscious about even these small decisions can truly make a difference in your wedding's environmental impact. If you're struggling to think of creative and eco-friendly party favors, there are a number of options. For instance, have you ever thought about giving honey as a wedding favor? Americans consume about 1.3 pounds of honey per person per year, making flavored honey a quirky and fun wedding favor option. In addition, packets of bee-friendly wildflower seeds and other plant seeds are also a viable option that many guests are sure to find memorable. Any element of nature can essentially be re-gifted and shared with your wedding guests to improve the Earth.
Opt For Sustainable Attire
You may not realize it, but any element of wedding attire can be obtained using sustainable practices. First, there are countless websites dedicated to selling wedding gowns for re-use, so don't feel like you need to buy a brand new gown. Of course, if you don't feel fully comfortable wearing used attire, you're not out of luck. Sales of organic non-food products in the U.S. were up 8.8% in 2016, and there are a surprising amount of manufacturers who have made an increased effort to source from organic cotton and textile farmers. Organic farming is certainly more costly for farmers, and supporting the industry as a whole is a great way to show your support for that sustainability.
As for the wedding party, the same principles apply. It's perfectly acceptable to request that they wear clothing that they already own or borrow from other clothing rental sites. As long as you provide a few guidelines as far as color and style, anything goes!
Go Digital Whenever Possible
Finally, when it comes to sending out save-the-dates, invitations, and registries, digital is the way to go. Not only do people often misplace paper invitations, but the paper used in the process is rarely recycled. Plus, you and your significant other can still customize these materials digitally just as you would with their paper alternatives.
This goes for photographs too -- not only is digital photography an absolute must, but it's best to print out a limited number of photos for framing and keep the memories digital.
"Even though most photographers are using digital cameras, it's a must for a green wedding. Digital photos don't use the harsh chemicals, wasted paper, and rolls of film that film photography does. Another plus is you get to choose exactly what images you want printed," writes Better Homes And Gardens.
Ultimately, being aware of these ideas is the best way to have the wedding you've always dreamed of while keeping the Earth in mind. Don't hesitate to ask your wedding planner about more ways to stay sustainable!