Zero Waste Wedding Ideas

Guides and Tips

June 7, 2021

Some ideas to help you be more sustainable and eco friendly at your wedding.


sustainable wooden slab wedding centerpiece with succulents and reusable glassware filled with plants contribute to the zero waste wedding

Did you know that the average wedding produces at least 400 pounds of trash?

Woooahh!! One day can add so much to the carbon footprint. But it doesn’t have to be this way! You want to help Mother Earth and reduce your carbon footprint on your big day? Here are some things you can do to have a zero waste wedding.


DONATION GUEST FAVORS

In lieu of handing out favors to guests for attending, opt to donate money to charity in honor of your guests. Not only does this support a good cause, it also prevents waste caused from traditional wedding favors. Choose a charity that is meaningful to you as a couple, or one that gives back to Mother Earth.

CHOOSE LOCAL FLOWERS FROM GARDENS

From your family or friends’ gardens, you can easily build a beautiful bouquet or table decor with some simple stems and candles. You don’t have to buy flowers. We are surrounded by gorgeous foliage right in our back yards!

WEAR HEIRLOOM DRESS AND SUIT

Opt to wear a loved one’s wedding dress or suit on your big day. Not only is this saving you money, but it’s Earth friendly. It also adds a unique touch to your day that is special to YOU. Having something borrowed has never been easier!


reused lacy boho wedding dress hanging in palm fronds

PLANT GUEST FAVORS

Gifting guests plants as wedding favors is a great way to give back to the Earth directly, but you can also use these plants as decor for your wedding. Just make sure to let guests know they are for them to take at the end of the night. If you don’t want to buy these plants, you can even make them yourself, adding another touch of uniqueness to your zero waste wedding.

USE LOW WATER PLANTS

Talk with your florist about how you can choose florals and plants that don’t require a lot of water. They’ll be easier to care for and reduce water consumption rates, making Mother Earth a happy camper!! Some examples of drought-resistant plants include: succulents, baby’s breath, lavender, peonies, protea, and thistle.

USE DECOR FROM YOUR HOUSE

Do you have a plethora of canning jars, old candle containers, or any glass containers? They can be used in so many ways. You can use mason jars as candle holders or even old wine bottles as vases for plants. Not only does this prevent you from spending money on things you’ll likely never use again, but it’s also sustainable in that you’re reusing what you already have.


boho macrame wall decor hanging on wooden wall with roses and greenery accenting across the top

VENDORS WITH SAME MINDSET

Choose wedding vendors with a mindset to incorporate sustainability practices in their business. Ask them what they do to be Earth friendly and how they can help with your zero waste wedding. This could range from your caterer using organic, locally grown ingredients to working with a company that allows you to rent furniture and decor instead of buying. There are so many vendors that want to give back to the Earth; it’s important to find the right one.

VIDEO CHATS FOR MEETINGS

With the current state of the world, online meetings are at an all-time high. These practices are great, though, because they’re actually much better for the environment. Driving accounts for 47% of the carbon footprint of a typical American family. Choosing virtual meetings to coordinate plans still allows for face-to-face conversation without contributing to the carbon footprint.

DONATE LEFTOVER FOOD

So often after weddings there is an abundance of food leftover. Almost all homeless shelters and hospice homes would be more than happy to have freshly cooked meals available to their residents. You can even see if your caterer will provide you with biodegradable to go boxes so you can package up leftover food to donate.


Wedding dessert display piece holding white frosted donuts with pink roses peeking between them as an accent. Out of focus, in the background is a floral tiered wedding cake.

GLASS OR PAPER ONLY

Think about how much waste comes from one-time-use dinnerware at weddings. When choosing your dinnerware, look for glass or biodegradable paper options to use for your wedding meal. Glass dinnerware is reusable, making it much more Earth-friendly. You can find tons of glassware at thrift stores to give a more eclectic look, or even rent glass dinnerware from a company. If you would rather use paper, make sure it’s biodegradable so that it doesn’t wind up contributing to landfills.

GO DIGITAL

There are so many options in the digital space to create and send save the dates and invitations electronically. This saves on paper and postage, helping reduce that carbon footprint. As an added bonus, guests can RSVP directly through the invitation streamlining the whole process!! Yipee!!

REPURPOSE FROM CEREMONY TO RECEPTION

Whatever decor you use for your ceremony arch, use it for your reception decor for centerpieces or to decorate your dessert table or an entrance to the reception. It could be lanterns, flowers, carpets, macrame hangings, candles, lights, anything. This could be for elopements or for weddings.


Sustainable wooden triangular arch sits on the beach for a boho wedding ceremony. The arch is accented with florals and tiki torches line the aisle. Behind the tiki torches are boho benches for guests to sit.

GIFT REUSABLE CUTLERY

Another great option as guest favors is gifting reusable cutlery. Bamboo utensils are a great option for this, as they’re sustainable and guests will actually use them. Other options include reusable straws, glasses, and small bowls.

DONATE FLOWERS TO HOSPICE

Have you thought about what you’re going to do with all of those florals after your wedding day has ended? Consider donating them to hospice homes. Almost all hospice homes would be thrilled to receive flowers to give to their residents. It would brighten their day and is a great way to make use of your leftover florals.

GIFT BEE FRIENDLY PLANTS AND FLOWERS

Did you know that 1 out of every 3 bites of food comes from a bee pollinated plant??! On top of this, the bee population decreases every year. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to give back to the bees. You can do this with your wedding favors!! As a gift to guests, give bee friendly plants, seeds, or seed paper that they can plant. Some examples of bee friendly plants are: lavendar, geranium, sage, thyme, buttercup, poppy, hibiscus, rosemary, hyndrangea, and sunflowers.


using wildflowers are a great, eco friendly way to incorporate florals into your zero waste wedding. give these flowers to wedding guests as favors

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