14 Eco-Friendly Wedding Ideas

Let’s be honest: Some aspects of weddings can seem wasteful. (What are you supposed to do with all those centerpieces the day after you say, “I do”?) Yet the rustic, shabby, green-wedding look may not be every couple’s favorite choice of theme. Here are a few subtle, simple and upscale ways to invite Mother Nature to your big day.

Invite guests in an eco-friendly way

The gorgeous Eloise wedding invitation suite from pencilandpine is printed on thinly sliced, barely processed wood—and for every order, a tree is planted.

Have the ceremony and venue in the same place

Asra and John; photo by Lara Rios

Asra and John; photo by Lara Rios

Photography: Lara Rios

Choosing one location for the entire day reduces fuel waste (not to mention makes it easier for guests). Above, Asra and John‘s ceremony site was transformed for their reception at Villa Woodbine in Coconut Grove.

Purchase a vintage dress

Vintage wedding dress; photo by Kent Bristol

Photography: Kent Bristol

Wearing a used gown doesn’t have to mean finding your dress in a consignment shop. Lauren wore the same dress her mother and grandmother did, making her own alterations for a personal touch.

Go for green hair accessories

Flower in hair; Moss + Isaac

Photography: Moss + Isaac

Opt for a beautiful flower in your hair.

On him: a floral boutonniere

Floral boutonniere; photo by Moss + Isaac

Photography: Moss + Isaac

For a sweet touch, match your groom’s boutonniere to the flower in your hair.

Use nature-inspired escort cards

Succulent escort cards; photo by The Rasers

Photography: The Rasers

Rock escort cards; photo by Gideon Photography

Photography: Gideon Photography

Attach guests’ names and table numbers to potted succulents they can take home, or write in lovely calligraphy on smooth found stones.

Don’t cut your centerpiece flowers

Eco-friendly centerpieces; photo by Jasmine Star Photography

Photography: Jasmine Star

Instead, display potted centerpieces (and, here, hanging plants) that can be replanted.

If you must toss it, think biodegradable

Biodegradable wooden utensils from intheclear

InTheClear offers wooden, compostable utensils that can be stamped with personalized messages.

Set up a recycling station

Wedding recycling station; photo by Lane Dittoe

Photography: Lane Dittoe

Find a charming way to arrange a recycling area, and make sure it’s clearly labeled for guests.

If venue appropriate, consider eco-seating

Hay lounge seating; photo by Lisa Dawn

Photography: Lisa Dawn

Hay reception seating; Jessica Oh Photography

Jessica Oh Photography

Hay bales, for instance, make creative and Earth-friendly seating for country-inspired weddings.

Send guests home with Mother Nature

Succulent wedding favors

Seed favors; Jason and Anna Photography

Jason and Anna Photography

Two ideas here are to gift pots of succulent or packets of flower or produce seeds. Some couples also use potted herbs as favors.

Consider what you release in the air

Wish Lantern

Releasing lanterns at the end of the night makes for beautiful photos, but be sure to select an environmentally safe choice. Eco Wish Lanterns are made of a bamboo frame and rice paper and are 100 percent biodegradable.

When you exit, toss birdseed instead of confetti

Birdseed in bag via PlantablesAndPaper

These PlantablesAndPaper handstamped muslin drawstring bags are filled with two tablespoons of birdseed.


Petals with a Purpose

Brittany Agro (center) founded Petals with a Purpose, a nonprofit that collects leftover flowers from various events and delivers them to local nursing homes, shelters, hospitals and Hospice facilities. Click here for other ways to give back on your big day, including donating your dress and helping fund a charity as a wedding favor.

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