Small changes can make a big impact, and it’s easier and less expensive than people realize, said JoAnn Moore, owner of JoAnn Moore Wedding, Design and Event Planning in Vail, Colorado.
“Going green is really taking a hit due to the current situation, but hopefully after COVID-19, it will come back,” said Moore, whose motto is “Reuse, repurpose, recycle.”
There are countless ways to go green. Instead of buying, rent wedding attire from sites like PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com or StillWhite.com, wear an heirloom dress or tuxedo, or choose environmentally friendly wedding and engagement rings. Consider a lab-created diamond or other gemstone that is more ethically sourced, Moore said.
“Rent whatever you can, unless you have a purpose for it afterward,” she said.
“Eco-friendly is a trend that’s here to stay,” said Marie Kubin, CEO of Rent My Wedding, a nationwide online wedding rental company. “Rentals have become even more popular in light of the pandemic.”
Some of the top items people rent for weddings to be more eco-friendly include LED wedding lighting, backdrops, chair covers and digital photo booths, Kubin said.
“Couples thinking about hosting a green wedding should start by making a list of every vendor and every service/
product needed,” she said. “From there, examine each line item and think about whether it can be done in a more eco-friendly way. For example, if you intended to have custom printed napkins, consider standard linen napkins instead. When it comes to florals, think about going faux or reusable options such as potted plants that guests can take home after the wedding.”
Wedding invitations are practically a necessity for formal weddings, but choose materials that can be recycled, Moore said. One popular choice is invitations that are embedded with wildflower seeds that guests can plant, she said.
Skip the wedding programs, which usually end up in the trash, and write out the schedule of events on a wooden board or poster.
For flowers, opt for a local florist and in-season blooms, and donate the flowers afterward to a senior center or hospital, Moore said.
Be creative. For one wedding, Moore rented two trees to be placed inside the wedding venue “to bring the outside in.” She wrapped the dirt clods in color-coordinated linens, then after the event, the trees were returned to the nursery and sold.
Forgo decorations entirely by planning an outdoor wedding, but be sure to have a backup plan in case of weather, Moore said. You’ll cut down on energy use, and natural light is great for pictures.
Google wedding sites in your area and check with local park districts and forest preserves. Check area licensing and permitting to avoid penalties, Moore said. Any fees can be considered a contribution to conservation, she added.
Donating leftover food is difficult, but consider your options.
“As many venues and vendors are aware of the need for eco-friendly elements to entice potential customers, I typically work with restaurants and wedding reception venues who grow their own food, mulch the scraps to use in their onsite garden, don’t have plastic water bottles on site, have recycling trash cans in their rooms for guests and use other standards that raise the bar as to their awareness and working toward going green,” Moore said.