What makes a wedding or event eco-friendly?
If you read our last blog post, you now have a good understanding of what an eco-friendly planner does. Now it's time to explain how we can make your wedding or event sustainable! The task can seem daunting at first, but we are here to help you discover just how easy planning a green event can be. We have broken down this post into six main vendor categories so it's really easy to follow along.
Vendor = someone who is selling something for your event
To plan an eco-friendly event, you must hire vendors who have green business models or are willing to provide products or services that will help lower the events carbon footprint. Companies who have experience executing green functions are generally the best choice as they make the planning process easier - they are willing to share tips and ideas to limit waste. Here is what to look for when hiring eco-friendly vendors.
In most big cities eco-friendly venues are starting to pop up. These are hotels, event spaces or function halls that are built using recycled materials, painted with non-toxic paint, and furnished with LED lights and sustainably made furniture. Venues like this will be plastic free and they will follow strict sustainable practices (like having proper recycling and composting options). If you can't find a venue like this near you, than make sure you choose a venue that respects your wishes to hold an eco-friendly event and is willing to work with you or your planner to limit waste throughout the event (ie. no plastic water bottles or straws).
2. Catering (food & alcohol)
Hire a catering company that does one or more of the following things:
a) Sources all their food and beverages locally (grown or produced within a 100 miles)
b) Sources all organic products
c) Can produce a delicious vegan menu that you think guests will enjoy
d) Sources only sustainable meats & seafood (hormone free, grass fed cows, free range eggs ect.)
If you want flowers at your wedding or event, here is what to look for in a eco-friendly florist:
a) Make sure that your florist can source local blooms that are in season for the city you live in (don't order flowers that have to be shipped from anywhere else in the world).
b) Make sure that your florist doesn't use floral foam or plastic packaging on your order.
c) Make sure that your florist can source eco-friendly ribbon or hemp string (if needed).
Another eco-friendly option is to skip the flowers all together and order potted plants. After the event the plants can be given to guests to take home or used to decorate your own home.
4. Clothing & Makeup
Events are a time to dress up, put your makeup on and celebrate, but is buying that new dress really worth it? If you really want to lower your events carbon footprint, you have to think about what you and your guests will be wearing to it.
Here are some sustainable options to keep in mind when buying your wedding dress, tuxedo or new formal gown.
a) Try to buy used. There are some amazing consignment stores out there, and lots of the time you can find a dress that has only been worn once.
b) Use a dress or suit rental company (you can send out an email to all your guests telling them about a local company in your town the rents out evening wear).
c) Borrow from a friend or sibling if you can.
d) Buy from a sustainable clothing company that uses organic cotton, or makes its clothing from recycled materials.
In regards to a makeup artist, try to find one who uses 75-100% all-natural vegan products, that are free from harmful toxins. The eco-beauty industry is starting to take off - there are so many fantastic sustainable products being sold now. Start thinking about replacing your own makeup products with more sustainable brands when you run out of your old stuff!
There are always two options for sending out eco-friendly invitations.
1) Send out digital invitations via email.
2) Send out invitations on post-consumer recycled paper.
Both of these are eco-friendly options - you just need to decide which one is right for your event. Then, make sure that all of your signage at your event is done digitally (on a TV screen) or printed on post-consumer recycled products. Finding a stationery artist who has a variety of post-consumer paper options makes this task way easier. One of the most eco-friendly types of paper you can buy is hemp paper.
6. Waste Disposal
If you want to have an eco-friendly event you must make sure that you have a proper waste management plan. If your venue doesn't have one in place, make sure you hire an outside company to come in to properly dispose of all waste products.
Waste management differs depending on the city you are in. As a rule of thumb, make sure to always have a food compost, recycling and waste bin at your event. Leftover food should be donated to a homeless shelter and leftover floral arrangements can be dropped off at seniors homes or hospitals.
Have any more questions about eco-friendly weddings? Write to us in the comment section below :)