Sustainability and style do not have to be mutually exclusive. For brides looking to save money on their wedding without sacrificing aesthetic, many are turning to earth-friendly options when it comes to picking everything from their wedding dress to their invitations.
The Knot’s executive editor Kristen Maxwell Cooper shared the following eco-friendly wedding checklist with EcoSalon—which includes a few invaluable tips from the queen of party planning, Martha Stewart herself.
Utilizing natural light can cut down on energy costs and reduce the amount of decorations you need. Plus, having your special day at a farm, vineyard or botanical garden gives your guests a chance to reconnect with the natural world. Cooper suggests having the ceremony and reception at the same location, cutting down on carbon emissions from traveling between places.
Get your invites in eco-order.
Snailmailed invitations continue to be classier than paperless posts (although the latter is becoming more mainstream), but they can be costly—and wasteful. Cooper suggests exploring seeded invites your guests can plant, and always insisting on recycled invitations with soy-based inks.
Say yes to the (reused) dress.
Wedding dresses are heavily marked up, worn once, and usually spend the rest of their lives parked in the back of a closet. It doesn’t have to be this way! An increasing number of services offer full catalogues of pre-worn gowns in every style, and from vintage to contemporary.
If you’ve got to go new, seek out designers who mindfully source their fabrics and are committed to zero-waste production, eco-friendly materials, and smart manufacturing methods.
Keep your rings conflict-free.
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend—but playing into this trend doesn’t have to come at the cost of the environment or the welfare of people caught in the crosshairs of conflict. Steer clear of any jewelry whose history can’t be traced—and forego the mass productions of big-box ring shops by shopping at eco-friendly and fair-trade retailers. EcoSalon recommends Brilliant Earth, Catbird Jewelry Do Amore, and Fair Trade Jewellery Co.
Don’t be afraid to forego the diamond, either. There are tons of gorgeous options for rings that use different stones altogether that sidestep the divisiveness of the diamond trade.
Get your food from a farm.
There are some pretty obvious reasons farm-to-table dining is all the rage. The food is fresher, more flavorful, and more eco-friendly—and we like knowing where what we eat came from.
Bonus points if you get creative and pick a delicious menu that’s totally meat free. This can be as simple as swapping out dairy and meat from familiar dishes, or finding a caterer willing to create unusual, fun dishes that will really impress your guests.
Give plantable wedding favors.
Guests should get little favors to take home, but that doesn’t need to come at an environmental cost. Giving out seed packets, small succulents, or even potted saplings and herbs is a great way to keep the memory of your love alive while nourishing the air at the same time.
Go with seasonal blooms.
The flower trade has a high environmental price tag. From pesticides and toxins on non-organic flowers to the crazy amount of shipping that goes into having unusual blooms at your local florist, more often than not bouquets are anything but eco-friendly.
Consider using local wildflowers for your special day, or seek out organic florists. You can also check with a floral designer you like about in-season options. After the wedding, see about donating your leftover flowers to a local hospital or nursing home.
Put planet-friendly items on your registry.
Consider the environment when filling out your registry. From textiles and furniture to kitchen appliances and art, there are fair-trade, organic, and eco-friendly versions of just about every style.