How To Have A Less Wasteful Wedding

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In the months leading up to a wedding ceremony, there are a lot of things to buy. Traditionally, many couples buy fresh flowers, party favors, decor elements, and lots of food and drinks, just to name a few. But if you're two folks who prioritize sustainability in your lives and your purchasing habits, buying so many single-use things might seem not quite in line with protecting the environment, not to mention keeping your spending within budget. With the help of a few wedding ideas that are more sustainable, you can keep waste to a minimum and save yourself (and the members of your wedding party) some major money in the process.

An eco-friendly wedding might initially seem extreme, but it can actually turn out to be really unique and personalized to you and your partner, instead of following tradition just for tradition's sake. For example, instead of passing out the same old plastic containers of bubbles that so many other couples give as party favors, you can get really creative by putting together kits for starting your own herb garden, or cute Mason jars filled with your partner's famous homemade sauerkraut. With a little creativity, your special day will truly represent your personalities while being a little kinder to the planet.

Here are a couple of sustainable wedding ideas to get you started.

1. Use Succulent Planters

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Traditionally, many couples include flower arrangements in the decor for their wedding, but for a lower-waste option, you could hang succulent planters instead. This will not only give a unique vibe for your ceremony, but it will also leave you with tons of greenery long after your wedding. If you aren't sure you want to become a plant parent of that many planters, gift a couple of them to members of your wedding party or guests with a green thumb.

2. Be Unique With Your Registry

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If you're registering for gifts for your wedding, explore ideas that aren't as focused on consumable products if you can. Try asking for donations for your honeymoon instead, or requesting support for charities that are important to you and your partner. If you're in need of specific household tools, share a list of the things you're looking for and specify that you'd love to receive hand-me-downs that are still in good condition. If you have a child or a pet child, request volunteers for babysitting services. Whatever need you and your partner have, see if you can find a way to let someone take care of it without purchasing new products.

3. Get Married Outdoors

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Instead of renting an indoor venue for the festivities, reduce electricity use by holding your ceremony and reception outdoors, weather permitting. This will help reduce the carbon footprint of the event, but it can also save you some major money when it comes to decor. If you choose your location wisely, you'll be surrounded by natural beauty, and won't have to worry about buying curtains, floral arrangements, or a runner for the aisle. You'll have plenty of built-in beauty that won't cost a cent.

4. Make Your Own Bouquet

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Instead of purchasing bouquets that will wilt within a few hours for members of the wedding party, think outside the box and reuse things you already have. This doesn't have to be extreme or tacky. Spend a few moments browsing Pinterest and you'll be swamped with ideas for stunning bouquet arrangements made from old book pages, colorful paper flowers, or even a variety of buttons. These original creations will last virtually forever, so you can bring them home after you say "I do" and use them as decor.

5. Choose Sustainable Party Favors

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If you love greenery but succulents aren't really your style, another eco-friendly option is to use potted herbs as decor throughout the ceremony and reception spaces. The fresh scent these will exude will liven up the space, and they can double as party favors for your guests, who can take them home and use them in recipes, or even plant them to use for years to come.

6. Support Local Vendors

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If you're using outside help for different parts of your wedding, look for florists and caterers who use natural, locally-sourced ingredients. This will both help support your local economy and reduce the impact that shipping products from other parts of the world has on the environment.

7. Alter Someone Else's Dress

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If you or your partner (or both of you) has opted to wear a dress on your wedding day, consider repurposing a dress from a family member or friend since you'll likely only wear it once. This doesn't mean settling for something you hate in the name of sustainability. If none of the options really seems to be your style or size, some simple alterations can make a huge transformation in the dress and take it from just a hand-me-down to something that's perfect for your personality, your body, and a more sustainable fashion option.

8. Let Your Wedding Party Rent Their Outfits

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If you've ever been part of a wedding party, you know that buying an outfit for the big day can be stressful and incredibly costly. Many people end up with something in their closets that they'll probably never wear again. But you can keep things classy, save your friends money, and reduce waste at the same time by letting your wedding party members rent their outfits. Rent the Runway, for example, offers a variety of dresses from a huge range of colors and styles that you can rent for as little as $40. Plus, it includes up to a size 22, which is great for giving your friends options that can work for each of them.

9. Supply To-Go Containers

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If you're providing a meal after your nuptials, think about providing compostable to-go boxes made from plant fibers after everyone's finished eating so that your guests can pack up a lunch for the next day from whatever is left over in the buffet platters or the kitchen. Not only will this save you the stress of trying to deal with the extras before going home for the night (or off to a honeymoon), it will also make sure that not a scrap goes to waste and that everyone goes home well fed.

Whether you and your partner decide to go the sustainable route for every element of your wedding, or just opt to make a couple of eco-friendly swaps, you'll know that the planet will be better off because of it. Plus, you'll probably have a little extra cash to do some celebrating afterward.