Sustainable Weddings: How to Plan an Environmentally Conscious Event

Eco-friendly wedding

For brides who want to minimize their environmental impact, this article has tips for planning a sustainable and eco-friendly wedding.

Couples are placing greater importance on sustainability when planning their weddings, as environmental awareness increases. To achieve a beautiful and eco-friendly celebration, many are incorporating these popular  sustainable wedding trends in 2023.


Selecting an engagement or wedding ring is a significant choice that requires careful consideration, especially since unethical practices are common in the jewelry industry. Therefore, it's crucial for brides (and their future partners) to choose a ring that aligns with their values.


Choosing a lab-grown diamond is a great alternative for a bride as it has similar beauty as mined diamonds, but without environmental and ethical issues. These diamonds are cultivated in a regulated environment, using sustainable methods and avoiding potential human exploitation.

Lab-grown diamond alternative

Vintage or Heirloom

Opting for a vintage ring or an heirloom piece offers a distinctive charm. It also reduces the demand for fresh diamonds and gold, which can have significant environmental and social consequences. The decision for a bride to choose a vintage ring lessens the unfavorable effects of making something new.

When considering a newly made ring, we recommend you investigate the ethical and sustainable practices of the company. Find businesses that employ fair trade gold and environmentally conscious production processes.

Wedding Venues

Couples are choosing sustainable wedding venues. Outdoor spaces like gardens, parks, and beaches are popular choices. These venues use less energy than indoor spaces and provide a natural setting. Farms and gardens can also reduce the need for decor. Choosing a sustainable venue can connect you with nature and reduce negative environmental impact. Venues that use renewable energy sources, like solar or wind power, are also popular.

Farm wedding venue

When selecting a venue, it may be worth exploring options that support environmental causes or prioritize sustainability. You can identify environmentally conscious venues by finding LEED certification or Energy Star ratings, which indicate energy efficiency.

Wedding Outfits

Couples are opting for sustainable wedding attire by choosing vintage or secondhand dresses. They're also choosing sustainable fabrics like bamboo, hemp, and organic cotton. All these options reduce the need for new resources and can be cost-effective.

Second hand wedding dresses

Brides choosing a sustainable wedding dress can reduce fabric waste and environmental impact during production, without compromising on style for your wedding day.


To address the issue of food waste at large events such as weddings, some couples are opting for vegetarian or vegan menus. These food options have lower resource requirements and generate less waste compared to meat-based options.

Vegetarian wedding meal option

Buffet-style meals contribute to a lot of food waste. Plated dinners allow for portion control and less wastage. Consider donating leftover food to local food banks or shelters. Biodegradable or compostable plates, cutlery, and napkins can reduce waste and minimize environmental impact.

Choosing a sustainable wedding cake can help reduce environmental impact while supporting local businesses. 

Local and In-Season Produce

Using locally-sourced organic and Fairtrade ingredients can ensure that your wedding cake is sustainably and ethically made. Consulting with local farmers, farmer's markets, or specialty shops when sourcing ingredients for your cake.

Including in-season fruits in the cake can contribute to its sustainability by reducing long-distance transport and enhancing its freshness and taste. 

Wedding Favors & Confetti

Couples are choosing sustainable wedding favors to reduce their impact on environment. Even small favors can have lasting effects. Giving plants like sunflower seeds or small potted plants can show commitment towards sustainable living and serve as a reminder of love.

Lavender to be used as wedding confetti

Confetti Alternatives

Don't pick traditional confetti as it can be harmful to wildlife and take years to decompose. Biodegradable confetti is a sustainable and efficient option that breaks down easily and doesn't cause issues with gutters.

Biodegradable leaf cuttings are a potential solution for environmentally friendly confetti. Unlike paper or plastic confetti, these cuttings decompose quickly and do not leave harmful residue. To create eco-friendly leaf cutouts, use fresh leaves and a hole punch. By punching small circles from the leaves, you can make a sustainable substitute for conventional confetti that adds a natural touch to your wedding.

When seeking environmentally-friendly options, think about using birdseed, lavender, flower buds, or flower petals. All these options are biodegradable and have minimal environmental impact.

Wedding Flowers & Alternatives

After a wedding, the flowers used for decoration can be recycled. Donating them to nursing homes, hospitals, or shelters can spread joy. Non-profit organizations can also help collect and distribute the arrangements. Alternatively, some can resell the flowers for charity.

Choose Local and In-Season

Choosing locally grown and seasonal flowers for a wedding reduces transportation emissions. Dried flowers, whether preserved from the wedding or purchased, can also prevent waste and serve as a longer-lasting memento.

Potted Plant Options

Choose live potted plants for wedding decorations instead of cut flowers. Potted plants last longer and can be repurposed or gifted. Using potted plants can also support sustainable practices like farm-to-table flowers and local suppliers. Cut flowers travel long distances, negatively impacting our environment. Potted plants support local farmers and reduce carbon emissions from transportation.

Live potted plants as wedding decor

One of the best ways to reduce the environmental impact of your wedding is by finding ways to repurpose décor items after the big day. Instead of throwing everything in the trash, consider donating items to local hospitals and homeless shelters. You can also gift décor to family, guests, or service staff, or drop off unwanted items at local thrift stores.

Not only does donating décor reduce wastage, but it also provides tax-deductible benefits. You can claim deductions for charitable contributions of property like wedding decorations. Before donating, be sure to check with the organization to see if they provide an acknowledgment receipt for tax purposes.

Consider Renting Instead of Buying

One of the easiest ways to plan a sustainable wedding is to rent instead of buy. This not only reduces the environmental impact of producing new items but also saves you money and reduces the clutter in your home after the wedding. Renting wedding clothes, decor, and equipment means that you are not contributing to landfill waste with single-use items that may never be used again.

When it comes to wedding clothes, consider renting a gown or suit instead of buying one. Many companies offer high-quality rental options at a fraction of the cost of buying a new outfit. Not only will this save you money, but it also ensures that your clothes do not end up in the landfill after the wedding.

When it comes to decor and equipment, renting can be a more sustainable option than purchasing items that might only be used once. Many companies specialize in rental options for wedding decor like centerpieces, lighting, and archways. Renting also allows you to avoid the hassle of trying to resell items after the wedding.

Eco-Friendly Wedding Invitations

Eco-friendly wedding invitations are a great way to reduce the environmental impact of your big day. Using recycled paper or wildflower seed paper is a great way to make your invites more earth-conscious. These materials are not only sustainable, but they also add a unique touch to your invitations. Plantable wildflower seed paper is a popular option as it can be planted to grow wildflowers, giving guests a beautiful and lasting reminder of your special day.

Recycled paper wedding invitations

Register Responsibly

When it comes to planning a sustainable wedding, it is important to consider every aspect, including the registry. There are many options available for couples looking to register sustainably.

Another option is to set up a charity registry which allows guests to donate to causes that are important to the couple. Couples can encourage their guests to donate to organizations that support causes such as animal welfare and protection of the environment.

It is also important to evaluate and include items that you know you will use in your registry. This ensures that the gifts you receive won't go to waste.

Choose products made with sustainable materials and from companies doing good. This will not only have a positive impact on the environment, but it will also support businesses that are committed to sustainability.

Overall, when it comes to registering responsibly, couples should focus on selecting eco-friendly choices and products made with sustainable materials. By doing so, they can create a wedding registry that aligns with their values and helps reduce negative impacts on the environment.

Guest Favors

When planning a sustainable wedding, it's important to consider all aspects of the event, including the welcome bags for guests. One way to reduce waste and select items that have a low environmental impact is to opt for eco-friendly gifts.

Reusable Containers

Glass water bottles are an excellent option for welcome bags, as they can be reused and are more sustainable than single-use plastic bottles. Boxed water is another choice that can minimize the environmental impact.

Homemade Gifts

Homemade snacks are a great addition to welcome bags! They can be prepared using organic ingredients and packaging can be minimized by using reusable containers. Guests will appreciate the thoughtfulness and unique touch of homemade treats.

Fabric totes are an excellent choice for the welcome bags. They can be used again and again, reducing the need for single-use plastic bags. They also provide a stylish and practical gift that guests can use long after the wedding day.

When selecting items for welcome bags, keep in mind the importance of reducing waste and selecting gifts that have a low environmental impact. By choosing eco-friendly gifts, the wedding can be more sustainable while still providing guests with a thoughtful memento of the special day.

Edible Favors

Consider giving edible favors that are both eco-friendly and locally sourced. This idea not only supports regional vendors but also reduces the negative impact that traditional favors can have on the environment.

A great way to give edible favors that are sustainable is by packaging them in reusable containers such as mason jars. This eliminates the need for single-use plastics, which can take hundreds of years to break down. Feature regional vendors at a local farmer's market to support the community and ensure that the ingredients are fresh and organic.

Mason jar wedding gift favors

Book an Environmentally Friendly Honeymoon

Looking for an environmentally friendly honeymoon that is both romantic and sustainable? Consider choosing eco-friendly honeymoon options that promote sustainable practices. Many eco-friendly destinations such as Costa Rica, Bali, and Kenya offer sustainable accommodations that champion green initiatives such as energy-efficient lighting, water conservation systems, and recycling programs.

Eco-Friendly Options and Accommodations

Participating in eco-tourism activities such as hiking, wildlife watching, and cultural tours is another practical way to support sustainable tourism. Staying in eco-friendly accommodations during your honeymoon will make your trip more eco-friendly and will leave a positive impact on your destination.

Eco-tourism honeymoon

Avoid purchasing animal products such as exotic meats and ivory beads, as it can contribute to animal exploitation. Try opting for a vegan or vegetarian meal on your honeymoon and consider visiting food banks or donating leftover food.

Sustainable Accommodations

One option is to consider staying in sustainable resorts that use biodegradable materials and avoid animal products. These resorts are designed to have minimal impact on the environment, making them a great choice for couples who want to have a positive impact. Choosing an eco-friendly accommodation such as a LEED-certified hotel or a resort that promotes sustainable practices is a great way to keep it green. Additionally, participating in eco-tourism activities such as wildlife watching, hiking, and cultural tours will help you explore the local surroundings while keeping the environment in mind.

Sustainable Practices

Finally, consider integrating sustainable practices into every aspect of your trip, from transportation and accommodations to food and activities. Choose a destination that is easily accessible by train or bicycle instead of relying on flights or car rentals. Eat at restaurants that prioritize locally-sourced, organic ingredients and avoid single-use plastics. Choose outdoor activities that don't disrupt natural habitats or wildlife.

For many couples, planning a wedding is a chance to embrace their values and help make the world a better place. Find sustainable and environmentally responsible ways to host your special day. This could include choosing organic catering and locally sourced décor to selecting green venues and carbon-offsetting honeymoons. By doing so, you'll be consciously reducing your wedding’s environmental impact in more ways than one.

For more wedding planning advice, be sure to check out all the articles in the Mrs... At Last! Wedding Planning Blog.

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