Environmentally-conscious weddings are more than a trend: They’re quickly becoming standard practice for engaged couples and event venues alike. With climate concerns on everyone’s minds, it makes perfect sense that couples looking toward their future together would also have an eye on the future of our planet. Nearly every facet of a wedding can be tweaked to be kinder to the environment, and the small changes you make for your wedding can make a big impact on the carbon footprint of your event.

Here are some simple ways to incorporate eco-friendly choices into your wedding day:

Opt for digital invitations

Rather than wasting paper on printed save-the-date cards, invitations and RSVP cards, send digital versions of those messages instead! There are tons of designs, including free options, available on sites like Minted, Greenvelope, Etsy and Paperless Post.

Select used, upcycled or rented wedding decor

With today’s wealth of options for eco-friendly decoration, there’s no need to buy all-new decor for your big day! Local buy/sell groups or Facebook Marketplace are great places to start browsing for used wedding decor in fantastic condition. If you have a specific vision in mind, upcycling items from around your home like wine bottles, glass jars, tin cans and more can help create your dream decor while generating less waste!

Of course, if you’re not particularly invested in owning your wedding decor when all is said and done, renting pieces from wedding decoration vendors (or even renting your wedding flowers!) can help to reduce your wedding’s environmental impact.

Choose reusable items over disposable

If you can opt for a reusable version of a disposable wedding item—think signage, place cards, even dishware—you should! Use chalkboards, acrylic or glass pieces for signage around your venue and personalize them with markers and paint, or set the table at your quirky outdoor wedding with a collection of mis-matched vintage plates sourced from the local thrift store for 25 cents a piece. And don’t forget that many of these items can be rented, further cutting down on waste.

Local, local, local

Just like in real estate, location is everything! Shop local boutiques for your wedding party’s gowns and suits to save on harmful emissions. Consider nearby caterers who source their ingredients from local farms. Not only will you be supporting your community’s businesses and farmers, you’ll be avoiding the pollution caused by transporting items from further afield.

Ring shop responsibly

Finding a sustainable engagement ring or wedding bands is a great way to decrease your union’s carbon footprint! Consider purchasing a vintage or antique ring, or upcycling a family ring or stone into a new heirloom piece. If you’re set on buying a new ring, look for socially- and environmentally-responsible designers who use materials like conflict-free or lab-grown diamonds, recycled or fair-trade metals and vintage or ethically-sourced stones.

Say yes to the pre-owned dress

One of the simplest ways to go green on your wedding day is to purchase a pre-owned gown. Not only does this option cut down on wedding waste, you can often find designer wedding gowns in pristine condition for a much lower price than buying new. Online boutiques like a&bé and Nearly Newlywed are fantastic places to start your search!

Offer a shuttle service

If you’re planning on having your ceremony and reception at two different venues, or if there’s a significant commute involved for many of your guests, it’s good hospitality—and good for the planet!—to arrange for a shuttle service. This makes a significant difference in the number of vehicles traveling to and from your event, and the ozone layer (and your out-of-town guests) will thank you.

Throw some eco-friendly confetti

We get it: Those dreamy “leaving the chapel” photos complete with floaty confetti look incredible! So if you want to get the perfect post-nuptials pic without the waste or litter, opt for eco-friendly send-off materials. Choose real flower petals, seed paper confetti, birdseed, or biodegradable confetti and let the well-wishes fly!

Don’t ditch: Donate!

Many, many elements of your wedding can be donated to other couples or worthy causes once they’ve served their purpose in your big day. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Earle Brown: Your Environmentally-Friendly Event Partner

The planning team at Earle Brown Heritage Center would love to help you craft a gorgeously “green” wedding day that is perfectly aligned with your sustainability goals. Contact us today to connect with an event planner and share your extraordinary eco-friendly vision!