The average wedding produces 400-600 pounds of garbage. Making a few easy changes to planning your day can greatly reduce the amount of waste from your wedding day and related events. These seven tips will help make your wedding more sustainable and just as beautiful.



PURGE PAPER PRODUCTS

This one can be the easiest way to make your wedding events more eco-friendly. Think of all the paper products that are used: Invitations; save the date cards; RSVP cards; programs; thank you notes; envelopes; wrapping paper; paper cups and plates. The list goes on and on—and the waste piles up.

Instead, use email where possible. Electronic RSVPs and shower invitations are great! If you’re not a stickler for old-school decorum, even emailed thank you notes and wedding invitations can reduce paper use. When you do need to use printed pieces, choose recycled paper. You can even request your guests do not wrap gifts; this is an easy way to reduce paper waste. For disposable flatware, look for biodegradable or sustainable products such as those made with bamboo. These earth-friendly options look and feel great, without filling up our landfills.





DO THE EARTH A FAVOR

Ban favors! Most guests aren’t going to miss them. If you’re set on gifting a small token, choose seed packets for native plants or wildflowers. Even better—make a donation to a conservation organization in lieu of physical favors.

More eco-friendly favor ideas: Bird seed feeders; locally made jam in reusable glass jars; potted flowers or succulents; dried cooking spices.





RENT OR REUSE DRESSES

Linens and décor aren't the only things you can rent for your wedding. With the rise of companies like Rent the Runway, Vow to Be Chic, and Union Station, you can rent gorgeous designer bridesmaids dresses, and even your own wedding gown. It’s a great way to reduce the footprint of your wedding by getting rid of wear-once dresses. Bonus—it can also save you thousands of dollars.

If you prefer to own your wedding gown, look for secondhand shops and bride-to-bride sales groups like StillWhite.com, where you can purchase designer gowns that have been worn by another bride. They’re often priced much lower than retail.





STICK TO THE SEASON

Local, in season flowers won’t be grown in an energy-inefficient greenhouse or have to travel long distances. They’ll be fresh and gorgeous, and will infuse your wedding day with the feeling of the season. You can also reuse your flowers by donating them to hospitals, nursing homes or shelters, so others can enjoy their beauty after your wedding day. You can arrange this through a company—though you’ll have to pay a fee for it—or call your local organizations directly.

Alternatives to fresh flowers can be beautiful options. High-quality silk flowers look like fresh blooms but will last forever. Trendy brooch bouquets or paper flower bouquets (made with recycled paper) can be unique personal touches for your day.





REGISTER RESPONSIBLY

As you build your wedding registry, look for sustainable and eco-friendly products that will fill your new home. In lieu of gifts, you can also register for a honeymoon—or ask guests to donate to a conservation organization instead.





RECYCLE AND COMPOST

When choosing your venue, ask about their recycling and composting policies. Even if it’s not typically the venue’s policy to recycle and compost, you should be able to arrange these services for your wedding day. Consider recycling and composting at your engagement party, bachelorette party, and bridal shower, too! It will make a big difference it reducing waste from these events.





ACCESSORIZE WITH CARE

Mined diamonds and gold have a huge impact on the environment. Look for recycled gold wedding bands, use family heirloom pieces, or choose our eco-friendly Nexus Diamond alternatives for your wedding jewelry. Diamond Nexus also uses recycled gold whenever possible to reduce the impact on the Earth. If you’re set on diamonds for your jewelry and wedding bands, look for lab grown diamonds like those from our sister company, 12FIFTEEN Diamonds.





What will you do to reduce the waste from your wedding?