You love each other and you love the environment too. If the thought of your wedding day being bad for the planet makes you blue, try incorporating these tips to ensure your day is green.

1. Choose your location wisely

The greater the distance your guests need to travel for your wedding, the larger your wedding’s carbon footprint will be. Try to choose a location that means the least amount of travel for all your guests (although that’s not always practical if you have family and friends scattered around the country or around the world).  The more people who need to stay in hotels for your wedding, the greater the carbon usage will be on the day.   Try to have your ceremony and reception at the one venue to eliminate extra travel for your guests on the day.

2. Your dresses and suits

For your dress and your bridesmaids’, have a look and see if you can find something secondhand that would suit. There are plenty of websites dedicated to buying secondhand gowns.

If that doesn’t do it for you, try an op shop for some vintage, retro chic. Or better still, see if you can use an heirloom dress from a family member.

If you can’t find a dress that’s been worn before, try buying a dress that you can wear again. Think dresses with detachable trains, or one that can be hemmed below the knee and still look good.

3. Have a smaller wedding

The most influential factor affecting how sustainable (and expensive) your wedding is going to be is the size.  The smaller the wedding, generally, the less expensive it will be and the smaller the environmental impact.  Think of it this way: a 50 person wedding at $100 per head is $5000 compared with 200 people for $20,000 – and four times the environmental impact!

4. Ask vendors about their environmental impact

When providing services for your wedding, every vendor you hire will affect the environment in some way.  Where you can, use vendors that are local to where you are having your wedding. Use caterers who source locally produced food, florists who grow their own flowers or use locally-sourced seasonal blooms, and photographers who provide all digital images so you just print what you want.

5. Use decorative items you have access to already

Wherever you can, use decorative items that you have access to  – either your own, or those belonging to family and friends who don’t mind helping  you out. You don’t have to settle for something crappy so make sure it’s in your style and taste. But you never know what sorts of beautiful items you can include. Think candles, plates, cutlery, tablecloths, vases, cake stands, cake cutting sets, champagne flutes and so on. Especially if they are things you will never use again, it’s better to borrow than to be wasteful.

Check to see if your venue has any items you can use as well, also your florist might be able to provide vases. If you are using a wedding planner or stylist, many of them have an extensive collection of decorations that they can repurpose for you.

6. Skip the favours

By having an eco-friendly wedding, you’re generally reducing the consumption of unnecessary goods. Guest favours require the item itself as well as packaging and sometimes labels and notes. You’ll find that most packaging is often discarded at the wedding, and sometimes the favours are too!

7. Give plants as favours

If you can’t bring yourself to leave favours out entirely, look to an eco solution like plants. Think potted seedlings, herbs, succulents, trees or fun seed kits. That way your guests will have a take-home gift that will keep on giving…to the planet.

Photo credit: Flickr/Mateus Lunardi Dutra