"Weddings tend to be really extravagant," says Tara Manchanda, owner of wedding and event planning company Tara M. Events in New York City. "It's not really the place where people save a lot, but there is definitely a growing trend for more mindfulness." But throwing an eco-friendly wedding is possible. Just listen to the experts.
How to have a sustainable wedding, according to wedding planners
1. Wear second hand or borrowed items
Couples are taking the idea of "something borrowed" to the next level. The Knot found that 38 percent wore an item that was borrowed or passed down. Erica Jill Razze, owner of eco-conscious wedding and event planning service Capiche Custom Events, says that you can redesign or repurpose sentimental items. "For example, we took beads off of my mom's veil and repurposed them onto something else, not necessarily the whole thing." Buying your dress second hand is also a great option—hear us out. There are tons of bridal shops, like Our Story Bridal in New York City, that buy, clean, and restore gently used wedding dresses to make them good as new. If you're interested in vintage items, Razze says to keep in mind that shopping vintage can sometimes be more expensive than buying something new.
2. Incorporate locally sourced products
Manchanda says she's seen more and more couples using locally sourced items, like honey, as wedding favors. Bonus points for putting favors in bags made from recyclable materials. Having locally sourced food is also gaining traction, and Razze says that can go all they way to your beer. "A lot of people will opt for local brewed just for the cool factor," she says. "And then, you reduce the carbon footprint of that traveling."
3. Donate decorations or food after the wedding
Not all vendors allow you to donate leftover food, so if that's something that's important to you, Razze says you'll want to check a vendors policy before you book them. "Some caterers will have a system already in place to tell you what they do with the food, and others may need your suggestions or ask you what you'd like to do with it, and others may just have a policy against it," she says. "So it's really important to have that conversation early on if that's important to you."
When it comes to decor, Manchanda says she's worked with florists who give their arrangements a second home. Some donate flowers to hospitals after an event, or, have a program where one client pays 80 percent of the cost of their flowers for their event, and another client pays 20 percent and uses them the next day. Organizations like Random Acts of Flowers transform lightly used flowers into beautiful bouquets to be delivered to local health care facilities.
4. Include eco-friendly/sustainable decor
"Things that are rentable are always a good option," says Razze. Items like lanterns and battery-operated candles are easy to rent. And silk flowers are making a comeback. Also, you can also DIY leaf confetti or buy it pre-made, which is just the cutest idea ever.
5. Send digital save-the-dates
Even when you want to go paper-free, you might have some people like your grandma who don't have the means to hop on a text message or an email to retrieve a digital save-the-date. "I tell my couples when that happens, then get a couple printed," she says. "Don't print out 500 of them, just get a handful of them for whoever needs to have that tangible copy." She says the fun part about sending them electronically is that there's "somebody immediately on the other end going, 'Oh my god, I can't wait!' or 'This picture looks so good!'" Companies like Zola and Joy have countless beautiful options to choose from.
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