What if there was a way to turn your “I do” into an “I do… care about the environment” – without compromising on anything on your wedding day?
I mean, your happiness, all those Instagram-worthy moments, and celebrating your love without stress, guilt, or pressure is the most important thing on your big day. But what if there was a way to do all this while limiting the not-so-pretty environmental impact lurking below the surface of most weddings?
Now, before you think I’m crazy, I just wanna get one thing straight: going green for your wedding doesn’t mean you’ll be saying your vows in a hemp suit or repurposing your grandma’s old curtains as tablecloths.
But it does mean making a few smart, conscious, and easy choices that align with your values and help keep our planet healthy too. I mean, to be fair, a typical wedding does produce about enough CO2 to fill 15 hot-air balloons, garbage equal to the weight of an adult male lion, and enough food waste to feed a small African village.
And with about 2 million weddings happening in the U.S. every year – that’s A LOT of hot air balloons, A LOT of lions, and A LOT of African villages…
Now, if the environment is not something you want to consider on your wedding day, no worries – nobody’s judging here! After all, it is YOUR big day – and nobody should tell you how to plan the happiest day of your lives.
But if making your wedding a bit more eco-friendly without compromising on the important stuff is something close to your hearts, then I’m here as your favorite wedding photographer from North Carolina to guide you through the process!
1. Pick a wedding venue that’s in harmony with nature
No matter what the topic, it might seem like I’m repeating myself when I say: location is everything.
But when it comes to planning an eco-friendly wedding, this cannot be more true. Choosing a venue that sings in harmony with nature not only sets the stage for stunning photos but also reduces the need for artificial lighting and decorations.
Think solar-powered botanical gardens, repurposed barns or warehouses with huge windows, or even a picturesque backyard…
You’ll get more natural lighting, which will not only lead to a more romantic vibe overall – but will also result in better wedding photos that make you look incredible without those pesky filters.
And a beautiful backdrop means less worry about decorations – because your backdrop is going to look amazing no matter what!
So, try to choose a venue that’s in-tune with Mother Nature. If they’ve made a conscious commitment to being environmentally friendly – great! But even if not, look for a wedding venue that seems to check all the right boxes.
Finally, one thing that not many couples consider: most of your wedding’s CO2 emissions will actually come from traveling to the place – and not the venue itself. So, if possible, try choosing a location that’s close enough for most of your wedding guests. The less time it takes for most of your guests to get there – the smaller your wedding’s carbon footprint will be.
2. Have eco-friendly wedding decorations
Before you rush to buy those plastic doodads that scream “I’ll be here until the sun explodes” – have you considered any greener options?
I mean, eco-friendly decorations are usually classier and more elegant anyways – so why not hit two birds with one stone?
For example, you can have biodegradable confetti and throw your joy in the air without littering the planet. You can also have your guests throw flower petals (rose & lavender are both beautiful) instead of confetti.
As for your floral decorations, go local, go seasonal, or – if you want to take it to the extremes – go potted. Sure, having potted flowers might add to your costs – but at least you get to keep them and they won’t keel over after a day.
Oh, and you know those wedding invitations that usually end up as fancy paper airplanes? Go digital, use recycled materials, or use plantable seed paper (paper that’s embedded with flower and herb seeds that your guests can plant in their gardens). It’s like telling your guests: “Hey, join us in celebrating our love story, and also, aren’t trees awesome?”.
3. Make conscious catering and food choices for your reception
Having your guests starve at your reception would kind of suck, wouldn’t it?
But then how can you make better catering & food choices for your wedding? And more importantly: how can you decrease the amount of food that just ends up in the trash can?
Well for starters, you can always choose locally-sourced, seasonal, and organic food products that don’t need to travel halfway around the world just to get to your plate. As with your guests, limiting the distance your food has to travel to get your guests’ plates can is an easy way to ensure your celebrations leave a much smaller environmental footprint.
Other than discussing food choices with your caterers, it’s also worth exploring options to wrap up any leftovers and take them home.
While I know that this might not sound like an elegant solution, it won’t actually have any impact on your wedding itself – but will leave you and your guests with delicious leftovers for a meal or two. It’ll be almost as if your wedding left an aftertaste in everyone’s mouths – an aftertaste that I’m sure everyone will appreciate!
4. Have a low-waste send-off
Once you’re ready to leave your reception as a married couple, you definitely won’t want to miss your send-off. You know, the experience of your guests sending you off to married life with one last big gesture.
Now, at some weddings, this means fireworks, sparklers, and a classy ride waiting for the couple at the end of the line of their guests.
But for your wedding, it can be whatever you want it to be! And if you’re looking for an eco-friendly send-off, then consider biodegradable floating lanterns, non-toxic sparklers, or paper airplanes made of recycled paper.
And as for your vehicle, you can always have a horse-drawn carriage to add a touch of elegance while eliminating the carbon emissions associated with modern vehicles.
While your send-off probably wouldn’t have that big of an environmental impact either way, it’s always a good idea to explore all your options before making your final decision. I mean, even without the environmental aspect… floating lanterns? Horse-drawn carriages? – I’m all in for those!
Remember: making your wedding eco-friendly isn’t about sacrificing the glitz and glamor – it’s about enhancing your beautiful experience with thoughtful, earth-loving decisions. So if that aligns with your values as a couple – let’s throw a wedding that ensures that even your great-grandchildren will be able to enjoy the beautiful world that we live in.
Because in the end, the best love story is one that includes a little love for the world around us too…
And hey, if you want someone who can capture the heart and soul of your big day without leaving carbon footprints all over the dance floor, I’m the right photographer for you! Feel free to check out my wedding packages, or get in touch with me to find out how I can help bring your vision to life.