AUG 6, 2020

How to Pull Off an Amazing Eco-Friendly Wedding!

A person’s wedding day is meant to be the most fabulous day of her life; however, it can also be the most costly - for the people and the planet. According to The Knot’s 2018 Weddings Study, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is around $33,000. This includes the whole shebang, from the engagement ring, to the ceremony, to the reception. It’s not only tedious to put together, but it’s also incredibly wasteful – too much excess food is thrown away, mountains of flowers and decor dumped in the garbage, and an expensive wedding dress you won’t even get to wear again. All these wedding waste contribute to issues bigger than ourselves, like overflowing landfills and higher carbon emissions, and it’s high time we do our part in letting the earth heal.

Wanting a picturesque, dream wedding is nothing taboo. Not to suggest you skip the gorgeous details, but having more responsible choices could have a significant, sustainable impact on your budget and the environment. We are actually very fortunate to be living in this era wherein people are more open-minded, knowledgeable, and empathetic. There are also lots of options, from venue and decorations, responsibly-sourced engagement ring, catering, stationery, and a lot more. All you need to do is look.

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An outdoor venue is a whimsical and romantic way to hold a wedding (Source: DREAMIRISHWEDDING.COM)

The Venue

The venue sets the stage for the entire wedding. The most practical, economical, and sustainable sites are the ones you find outdoors, al fresco! There won’t be a need for air-conditioning, plus natural light could be that added element for making your photos picture-perfect. Vineyards, ranches, beaches, gardens, hilltops, and parks are some venues that speak drama. However, make sure that these are equipped with modern conveniences such as bathrooms, or a small kitchen. A small cabin that can serve as a prep area for your entourage and in-between touch-ups is a plus.

If you’re not an outdoor fan, having your wedding indoors has its benefits, especially when poor weather strikes. Some people prefer getting married in a church or a chapel since you eliminate the costs and inconveniences of travel. If you think that the reception needs to be in another place, you can choose barns, a lakeside house, a loft-style space, or a neighborhood brewery. Whatever you decide, look for venues with a lot of glass windows and doors to still work the lighting in your favor.

The Food

Everybody wants delicious food for their special day! And what better way to make your guests happy than going the farm-to-table route! Ask your suppliers – bakers, vegetable, and fruit vendors for locally-grown and in-season food to bring the cost down. If you can, buy everything directly from growers to eliminate middlemen fees and substantially reduce packaging and fuel costs. Not only will you be serving the freshest produce, but you’ll also be supporting the livelihood of local farmers! All you need is a great chef to put this together and efficient servers on the day.

Another option is to hire eco-friendly caterers such as Blue Plate Catering in Chicago, and Occasions Catering in Washington or Alchemista in Boston and New York. They offer full-service catering – custom vegan menus, décor, wedding planning, and efficient service.

The Wedding Bands/Rings

When it comes to engagement and wedding bands, it seems that diamonds are the default option, and it’s not difficult to understand why. They are durable, stylish, brilliant, and prestigious; however, they also cost an arm and a leg – perhaps more, depending on the carat.

If you want the diamond look but not ready for a splurge, then a diamond simulant such as the moissanite would be your best bet, and for a good reason. Nicknamed ‘Stardusts’ or ‘Space Diamonds,’ moissanites are crystals that are made of silicon carbide that come from outer space. Since they are scarce, jewelers need to create them in a lab. In 2018, the Pinterest Wedding Trends report revealed a 294% increase in moissanite searches, and for a good reason. At the time of writing, the cost of a 1-carat diamond ranges between $2,000 to $25,000, vs. a moissanite gem of similar appearance and size costs around $600.

Another ugly truth about diamonds is that mining them causes enormous environmental devastation. Vegan Life estimates that 1,750 tons of earth get destroyed just to extract a 1-carat diamond; the average engagement ring typically has 1.25 carats. Since jewelers create moissanites in a lab, they do not violate any environmental laws. If you think that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, it’s because they haven’t seen (or think they haven’t seen) moissanites yet. To the untrained eye, they are the same in terms of brilliance, clarity, and durability, so you might have seen a lot of these thinking they’re real diamonds. Clearly, it’s the more practical and environmentally conscientious choice for engagement and wedding rings. Check out breathtaking designs at Brilliant Earth.

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Channel Set Cushion Colorless Moissanite Wedding Set 2.74CTW in 14K White Gold by Charles and Colvard

The Invitations

There’s nothing more personal than a DIY invitation. Design a save-the-date digital version and only print or do the actual invitation. Your guests will appreciate the effort, and you will save on a lot of printables. Opt for recyclable paper options and put personal touches like a rubber stamp logo or heat-pressed initials to enhance it. 

The Favors & Giveaways

Going for the rustic look is very popular these days, and flea markets are swarming with those forgotten treasures. Give them a second life by using them as wedding décor. For your wedding favors, look for ones that signify new beginnings such as bonsai trees, vintage mugs to hold succulents, mix-and-match vintage picnic napkins, or find locally made scented candles that can double as place cards, centerpieces, or tokens of thanks.

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Planter box hedges for the wedding aisle provides a perfect country feel to your wedding. You can use them to adorn your patio or garden even after the wedding is done. Win-win!

The Flowers

Couples pay around $2000 for flower arrangements during their wedding day, The Knot reports. Instead of traditional flower arrangements, showcase potted plants that will last long past your wedding day. And for bouquets and corsages, the best way is to source local vendors and request in-season flowers. Locally-sourced items are economical since mobilization/transport costs are minimal. Plus, you'll be helping small businesses in your area. 

The Bridal Attire

According to WeddingWire, women spend an average of $1000 for their wedding dress. While we agree that having the perfect dress is vital, the $1000 is not when you’re only going to wear it once. One of the best suggestions we have is to scour for vintage options. Heirloom dresses that were preserved with love and care that have been passed down from generations spark sentimental value. If your family doesn’t have one on hand, you may seek out a rental and tag it as your “something borrowed”. Or if your heart is set on having a new dress of your own, choose sustainable designers like Lindee Daniel or Adele Wechsler.

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One of Lindee Daniel’s wedding gowns from the Cosmos Collection

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Turn heads with Veerah's Venus stilettos in Gold Goddess that can be styled multiple ways by adding unique accessories

A perfect pair of shoes is one of the essential items on a woman's long and elaborate list of bridal accessories. It is the ultimate quest for most brides, rivaling the bridal gown, and it's easy to understand why. Not only are shoes another way for a woman's personality and style to come through, but they also have a significant role to fulfill in the whole wedding. The shoes can make or break her day's performance. No matter how much you value style, don't choose it over comfort. A bride walking like an injured flamingo down the aisle is not a pleasant sight to see.

What you need are shoes that fulfill your style goals and give you a set of happy feet at the same time. Made from apple leatheralgae and renewed plastic, Veerah shoes are socially responsible and environment-friendly. They not only provide a comfortable, luxurious style but offer great value for money. Cute add-on accessories such as tassels, bows, gems, and straps, add flair to your shoes; it's like having multiple shoes with just a single pair, perfect for any occasion. 

Every woman deserves a beautiful wedding, but if it is contributing to overflowing landfills and higher carbon emissions, we need to be mindful of how we do things today and every day. Having an eco-friendly wedding does not mean sacrificing style and downgrading options, but just being more responsible, creating value with values. By taking the green route, you will enjoy your wedding more knowing you saved a lot on expenses, and you’ll surely feel good about scoring major karma points with nature.

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