Something Borrowed, Something Green: Sustainability in the Wedding Industry
According to respondents of The Knot’s Real Weddings Survey, the average wedding dress costs roughly five times more than the price of the groom’s attire, which is often rented or reused.
Creating a Sustainable Supply Chain
- Work with suppliers who are committed to reducing carbon footprints
- Source raw materials locally and seasonally to reduce fuel emissions
- Invest in renewable sources of energy
- Support local suppliers to reduce transportation costs
- Reduce waste by reusing products with more than one client
- Opt for packaging materials in recycled or biodegradable materials
- Learn about LEED certification and ways to make a venue more energy friendly
- Explore sustainable options for waste collection like composting and recycling
- Encourage clients to make sustainable choices
- Incorporate messaging about sustainability into marketing
- Ask clients to share testimonies about sustainable touch points
- Opt for organically grown ingredients to minimize the use of harmful pesticides.
- Select reusable or recyclable products for place settings. Plastic dishware often has to be thrown away if contaminated with partially eaten food.
- Choose seasonal dishes to minimize transportation costs and support local farmers.
- Give away uneaten food to shelters, or let guests take food home in recyclable containers.
- Reuse bridal bouquets as table center pieces to cut down on the volume of greenery used for décor.
- Work with a florist to coordinate reusing arrangements from another ceremony or event happening during the same week.
- Feature potted plants instead of bouquets as table centerpieces, which can be taken home and planted instead of thrown away.
- Send bouquets after the reception to assisted living facilities, hospitals, or places of worship.
- Rent or buy used formal attire such as tuxedos, gowns, bridesmaid dresses, shoes, and accessories
- Give or sell a used dress to organizations that repurpose formalwear for underserved communities.
- Reserve a local venue to minimize transportation costs.
- Ask the venue manager about collaborations with local vendors for streamlined production costs.
- Look for LEED-certified venues that save energy and reduce emissions.
- Rent or buy secondhand décor from couples who have already had their weddings, or ask venue managers about reusing décor from events happening at the same site.
- Seat guests with a sign instead of paper placeholders.
- Opt for ethically and sustainably sourced products made from recycled or organic materials
- Consider skipping favors all together, knowing that many of them may end up in the trash if they aren’t used.
- Package favors in recyclable containers such as paper or glass.
- Create gifts that give back to the environment, like packaged flower seeds or potted plants, or purchase fair-trade products for guests.
- Create a registry to minimize chances of guests purchasing multiples of the same gift, which may get returned to the store or discarded.
- Opt for an experiential registry, like a honeymoon fund, cooking subscription, or travel budget, which eliminates the cost and environmental impact of shipping.
- Choose items that will prove useful for the long term and may encourage sustainability, like glass kitchen storage or a compost collector.
- Send digital invitations to save time, trees, and postage costs.
- Consolidate paper usage by directing guests to a wedding website for RSVPs, menu choices, and other accommodations.
- Use recycled paper or ethically sourced stationery with vegetable- or soy-based ink.
- Use flower petals from bouquets, dried leaves, or potpourri that won’t harm the environment or create waste.
- Opt for biodegradable confetti or recyclable products (Note: These may still need to be collected after the event).