According to Green Bride Guide the average wedding produces roughly 400-600 lbs of waste, per event. Between left over food, flowers, decor, etc there is a lot of waste that comes along with that Pinterest Perfect Wedding Board most couples desire!
So let’s talk about 10 ways your Big Day can WASTE LESS !
1. Food :
One of the biggest wastes that can be avoided on a wedding day is FOOD! Buffets, cake, prime rib, untouched cocktail hour veggie platters, the possibilities are endless and sadly I have seen it all land in the trash! With hunger at an all time high, it seems so silly to take perfectly good food and throw it away, when there are organizations everywhere across the world taking waste food.
Photo by Gray Kammera Photography
When I was in LA, last year, I had the opportunity to tour the L.A. Kitchen and learn how they are using unwanted waste food to make amazing dishes for assisted living communities and also employing aged-out foster kids and the previously incarcerated members of society to learn a trade in culinary arts! These places exist all around the country, find a food bank in your area via Feeding America or a food rescue center via The Food Rescue Database.
Image via Feeding America
Disclaimer: It is common for caterers or food service providers to push back because of the substantial liability for such food donations. Thankfully any good-faith food donations are free from such liability due to the latest federal government law 42 U.S.C. 12672, the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.
Imagine the scene… The Bride and Groom are on their way off to their honeymoon and the clean up team is hard at work. As they put away the chairs and dishes they notice one thing they are unsure of what to do with…. Thousands of dollars worth of left over flowers! ‘What should we do with them, we can’ t take them back on the plane’ and the perplexed helper regretfully places piles of fresh roses and hydrangeas in the trash bin!
Photo by Gray Kammera Photography
PLEASE FRIENDS! There are so many organizations out there ready to take your leftover flowers and uplift and inspire those in hospitals, nursing homes, or rehabilitation centers. Do the research, call ahead and let them know you want to donate these blooms to their cause. They will even give you a tax-write off for your love offering!
Video via Random Acts of Flowers
3. Gift Registries:
Back in the day, couples would leave their parents homes and have to make a home from nothing and hence the wedding guests would bring them all the welcome home goodies their newlywed hearts would need. Nowadays the statistics show that couples are getting married later and later in life. They want to have their careers in place and independence aligned before nuptials are even thought of so most of those engaged love birds already have a lot of crap! So let us do our wedding guests a favor and skip the gifts! OR consider a gift registry that doesn’t involve wrapping paper and plastic wrap.
Here are a few charitable/sustainable wedding registries that can help your wedding impact others:
Heartful.ly– A gift registry that empowers couples to fund life changing projects around the world.
So Kind Registry – A registry and wishlist service that encourages the giving of homemade gifts, charitable donations, secondhand
goods, experiences, time, day-of-event help, and more
If you do still need goodies consider a few fair-trade online options:
Bambeco– Recyclable, sustainable home goods that give back.
West Elm– Support fair trade and often local artisans in each store, West Elm is the perfect one stop shop for any soon-to-be newlywed’s love nest needs!
ZOLA – You can combine all of the things/brands you might need for your new home under one roof and then ship all the goods at once and reduce your waste/carbon footprint. You can also fund a honeymoon, portion of the wedding costs, or donate to charity as well.
Carpool, Uber, Bicycle, Smart Car, Moped, or charter a boat taxi to take your bridal party to the reception! The eco-friendly options are endless!
Having been to my fair share of weddings I’ve seen a variety of cheaply made wedding favors that no one will ever use again and it breaks my heart. Try sponsoring a child, or redirecting your favor budget toward the charity you plan to support, such as these sweet doggie cookies that support a local dog shelter.
Photo By Alissa Dineen
6. Paper Goods/Invites:
Paper goods can be one of the most obvious waste makers, but it is equally one of of the easiest parts of the wedding that can lead to positive change. There are so many options like:
Or if you are a bit more new school, try an e-vite, or video wedding invite, etc and save some trees and postage along the way!
7. Function vs. Fancy
Fancy is fun, we get it! There is a certain level of exclusivity and experience that comes along with black tie affairs, however they aren’t always the most functions and sometime the more wasteful events can be those that are the highest end people with the abilities and budgets to make more sustainable choices. This is where functionality comes into play… The best things in life are simple, functional and intentional… Here are a few examples:
Glass Jars to take home vs. Champaigne Flutes
Photo by Image Clairity
Decomposable Bamboo Utensils vs. Polished Silver
Photo by Emily Dykema
Ceremony Programs that double as Pop Corn Bag Holders (or any other reception treat you might choose)
Photo by Emily Dykema
8. RENT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Renting is far more waste-preventing, and minimally impactful to the environment than flat out buying things you’ll never use or wear again. Literally there are rental options for practically every aspect of your wedding day process, your dress, your tuxes, the bridesmaid’s dresses, your decorations, you name it and it can most likely be rented!
Here are few rental companies to consider:
Menguin – Tuxedos
Borrowing Magnolia– Wedding Dresses
Rent the Run Way– Elopement, wedding attire, rehearsal dinner garb.
Happily Ever Borrowed– Rentable Bridal Accessories, Veils, jewelry, etc.
The biggest misconception about DIY Weddings is they will be better on the pocketbook, but after the time is spent buying the materials and flea market finds to put the projects together, you are in better use of your time, dollars and energy to rent the things you are trying to faux-antique and you will save yourself space after you’re married.
Not only will it save you money, it will be reused multiple times by others and treated just like new!
9. Reuse/ Reduce/Recycle
This is obvious friends. If you have reusable goods, save them aside, donate them to your local non-profits, half way houses, etc. Reduce and Recycle what you can! Set out separate bins for recyclable trash vs. regular trash vs. compost… When given the opportunity people will make the right choices.
10. Composting is your friend!
At the end of the day, if you aren’t able to find a non-profit locally that will take your flowers, or food…. COMPOST your biodegradable waste, so the earth can benefit from your waste in a productive and positive manner, like using it in a co-op garden vs. ‘wasting’ good soil nutrients in a land fill. COMPOST NOW has pick up services across the nation ready to grab your garbage and turn into garden goodness!
11. Buy with Purpose!
Even if you have the budget dollars in the world, or would rather buy new, do so with integrity and value businesses that put the environment and humanity first! A few examples of sustainably-minded wedding brands are Rebecca Schoneveld Bridal, MiaDonna Eco Diamonds!
Photo: Rachel Gomez Photography
Now Happy Waste Less Wedding Planning to You and Have an Intention and Impactful Earth Day! Let us make every day about helping making the world a better place!