10 Ways to have a Guilt-Free Wedding

Your wedding day is one of the most amazing days of your life; you’ve spent countless hours picking out the perfect flowers, food, dress, and so much more, but often something not considered is the amount of waste this one beautiful day can create, and events in general. In a day and age where single-use plastics are on the outs, why are weddings an exception?

Now we know thinking of ways to have a ‘green’ wedding can seem daunting. You may be asking yourself, “Is buying used decorations better? Will recycled paper make a huge difference? Does ‘green’ mean I have to go without?” Well, we wanted to offer 10 easy ways to reduce waste at your wedding so that when the clock strikes midnight you can continue dancing the night away and feel confident knowing you’ve done your part to help the environment.

  1. Donate Your Wedding Flowers: Simple right!? When you find a second home for your flowers they can be enjoyed for longer and then be composted by the donation recipients. Many seniors homes will accept flowers for their residents (who doesn’t enjoy getting flowers?!), or you could send them home with your guests at the end of the night. We never throw out fresh flowers, and make sure to donate the flowers from every wedding we’re involved with.
  2. Email Save the Dates/Invitations: Paper is one of the quickest ways to create waste, so consider reducing the amount of paper you use for your wedding by emailing your save the dates and invitations instead. Websites like Greenvelope or Paperless Post offer you all the style of traditional post options, but with none of the added environmental impact. Not only will going paperless for your wedding help the environment, there’s also the potential to save on costs (which you could in turn use on something else you really wanted).
  3. Find a Foodshare Program: There is almost nothing worse than perfectly good food going to waste. While not all food can be donated due to food safety laws, you can definitely ask your caterer if they are able to take part in a foodshare program so that leftover food isn’t discarded. Instead of going in the bin, it could be given to a shelter, which will make your special day special for even more people.
  4. Rent Your Decor: Yes, you could potentially save some money if you actually bought your decor, but the truth is the savings are typically pretty marginal. On the flip side, if you rent your decor, you’re guaranteed to save yourself the hassle of selling everything down the line or, even worse, having to throw it all away, plus reducing the amount of packaging/paper included with shipping said decor. When we’re planning our couples’ weddings, we work with an amazing group of vendors that have a wide selection of rentable decor to meet all your needs (and dreams) with a minimal amount of waste.
  5. Consumable Favours: While it is common for weddings to have gifts for guests to take home, they are definitely not a requirement in this day & age. Often times, we see clients opting for an open bar as a treat to their guests instead of wedding favours, for example. However, if you do want to treat your guests to a little something nice, try to make it consumable. Think about giving soap, chocolate, or even a charitable donation as your wedding favours. That way, any small physical tokens are less likely to end up sitting gathering dust in the corner or, even worse, being tossed in the garbage.
  6. Rideshare: No matter how ‘green’ you go, travel is a huge factor for any wedding. Maybe your wedding is out-of-town, or maybe you have a lot of guests from out-of-town visiting. Whatever the case, you can look into rideshare or group transportation options for you or your guests to help dramatically cut down on the size of your carbon footprint. This is especially important to consider in Banff National Park for example, where guest parking cannot always be easily found.
  7. Unwrapped Gifts: While paper is admittedly very easy to recycle, it isn’t always even necessary in the first place. Consider asking for your gifts to come unwrapped – while they may not be as ‘Instagrammable’, it will help prevent all those pretty paper and bows from ending up in the local landfill.
  8. Local Flowers: We absolutely love shopping local at Julianne Young Weddings! We suggest using locally sourced flowers instead of imported. This reduces all the waste it would take to get imported flowers to your venue and has the added bonus of supporting your local farmers. There are so many types of flowers that you can source locally, you won’t even have to sacrifice any of your dream style to get on board with this suggestion.
  9. Cloth Napkins: Right alongside with renting your decor is renting your linens. Why not skip the monogrammed paper napkins and go with something reusable. Cloth napkins come in many colours and can be washed for many uses to come.
  10. Donate the Dress: This isn’t for everyone, but can be an excellent option for some. There are many wonderful organizations that you can donate or even consign your wedding dress to. If you choose to go this route, you can rest happily knowing that your dress is getting a new lease on life, and that there is at least one less dress needing to be manufactured in the future.