APRIL 22, 2020
Weddings don’t have to be bad for the environment. Many couples don’t realize that while your wedding may be the most important day of your life, to the earth, it’s just another day and the environmental impact of your celebration may affect the earth for years to come. But don’t worry! There are so many ways to make your wedding day more sustainable, and we’re here to help.
If you’re ready to jump in, take a look at some of these bigger picture changes that you can make! If you’re not quite there yet, we have some smaller actions that you can take, while still making a difference.
Big Picture Items
- Transportation: Choosing to provide transportation for your bridal party and guests is not only more sustainable, but also safer for everyone, after partying the night away!
Photo by: @jolieconnorphotography
- Stationery and guest communication: We’re suckers for traditional stationery, don’t get us wrong, but there are other options!
- Ask your stationery provider if they have recycled paper or seed paper options! We love Dodeline Design for this!
- Wedding Website: Don’t forget about your wedding website for convenient paperless communication with your guests!
- Flowers: There are a few options for your floral orders, but they make a BIG difference.
- Ask your florist if they use local vendors! This helps avoid fumigation at border crossings and reduces your carbon footprint.
- Ask your florist about flowers that are in season and plentiful. It’ll be easier to order them locally, reduces costs, and is better for the environment.
- Jewelry: Something that you might want to talk to your partner about is jewelry! If it’s important to you, (and you feel like you can drop some hints before they propose), suggest that you’d love a ring that might be:
- Made locally
- Utilizes stones from vintage or family rings (may add some great sentimentality)
- Lab-grown diamonds
This goes for your engagement / wedding rings, but also the rest of your wedding day jewelry. Family members might appreciate you asking to borrow some of their sentimental jewelry and including it in your special day! Think about options for your:
- Hair accessories
- Jewelry that you might include with your bridal bouquet
- Sustainable Fashion: This is a big picture item, but don’t be scared off!
- A wedding dress is a very special item, and most brides want it to be THEIRS and only theirs. However, there are some amazing options! A family dress can be a little scary at first, because styles change so much! My mother was married during the 80s, so you can only imagine the puffy shoulder pads that came along with that… But if you find a great seamstress or tailor, they can actually use the framework of the dress and just redesign the parts that don’t work for you. There are so many options, it can’t hurt to ask your family members, and it’s something that might mean a lot to them. Also, Reformation is a fantastic option and makes wedding dress manufacturing super sustainable! Vintage dresses are also a super retro option, if you don’t mind searching a little harder!
Alright, that was a lot of information, and maybe you’re starting to think that there’s no way your wedding can be sustainable. Having a small focus on sustainability can make a big difference! Not only will your wedding be better for the environment, but making sustainable choices can also be a big cost-saver. We’re not into eco-shaming, and we believe that every little action counts, so if yo’re not ready for some of the big picture items, start here.
Every Little Thing Helps!
- Hydration: Water stations instead of plastic water bottles for your bridal party
- Food: Organic and / or plant-based food options at your cocktail hour and reception. Ask your caterer if they source any of their products locally.
- Alcohol: Use local breweries and distilleries. It’s environmentally friendly, and adds a unique-to-Charleston vibe to your wedding!
- Reusable decor and rentals: This is a seemingly small item that has a BIG impact. Most people don’t buy furniture or decor for their wedding with the idea that it’ll end up somewhere in their home. A lot of these items end up being one-time-use items, and go to waste. Engaging Events has a large inventory of reusable decor with thousands of items for you to choose from. We also work with rental companies like Eventworks and Snyder when you want some more options.
Photo by: @wildcottonphoto
- Bridesmaid Dresses: Let your bridesmaids choose their own dresses. Many bridesmaids dresses go to waste, most often when they’re all the same exact dress and aren’t very wearable for future occasions. It seems like a small change, but letting your bridesmaids choose their own dresses, whether they’re all the same color, or even a rainbow of colors (see below), it makes a difference. Letting your gals choose their own dress also helps financially, and they’ll appreciate you for it.
Photo by: @annerhettphotography
- Confetti alternatives: Do you want a super cool departure photo? We want you to have one, too! Something that most people don’t think about is the effect that your departure confetti can have on the environment after you’ve headed off to your honeymoon. Some sustainable confetti alternatives include:
- Dried flowers
- Seed bombs
- Bird seed (make sure there are no non-native plant species seeds included)
- Artificial snowflakes (for the perfect winter wedding)
- Lavender (smells great and looks awesome in photos!)
- Biodegradable confetti
- And for the DIY bride, hole-punched leaves (sounds weird, but looks SO COOL)
- Donate your flowers: Share your special day with others by asking your wedding planner to donate your flowers after your wedding! You may have to pay a little extra for separate containers, but the joy that’s brought to nursing homes, hospitals, etc. is so worth it!
- Potted plants: Another great option for sustainability (and a great aesthetic) is using potted plants for your reception decor. These can be taken home and be a sweet reminder of your special day, or they can be given as favors to your wedding guests!
- Seafood: Having your wedding in Charleston is special for so many reasons, but one of the coolest unique things about Charleston is the Sustainable Seafood Initiative! Let Good Catch with the South Carolina Aquarium teach you more about how your choices really do make a difference, and then head over to Abundant Seafood to learn even more!
Photo by: @solography
- Outdoor Wedding: If you’re outdoorsy, or just love the Charleston weather, consider having your wedding outside. It provides fresh air, natural lighting (for amazing photos), and you can use candles instead of running electricity for indoor lights. Many vendors, including caterers, DJs, bands, etc. can work outdoors and find a way to run power. You’d be surprised!
- Escort cards: Your escort cards don’t have to be paper! Consider some of these fun options, some of which can double as favors!
- Cupcakes / Desserts
- Potted Plants
- Packet of seedlings
- Charleston has so many oyster options!
Photo by: @rachelredphotography
- Registry: Actually create a registry! Some couples shy away from creating a registry because they feel like it’s asking for too much. However, getting the gift that you actually want is so much better than getting something that will go to waste, receiving two of something, or having your family ask you much you loved that stained glass bird feeder that you appreciate but didn’t actually want.
Keep sustainability in mind throughout the planning process, and the big day! You might be surprised with what ideas you come up with!