17 Tips To Plan An Eco-Friendly Wedding

Jun 02, 2022

“Let's nurture the nature so that we can have a better future.”

With the world becoming more conscious of its own environmental impact, it’s no wonder that sustainable weddings have seen a growth in numbers lately. It is not only more cost-effective but also makes your wedding stand out from others and just as much extravagance while keeping the wedding waste at a bare minimum.

Green weddings focus on sustainability - from the food menu to invitations and the decorations – there are many ways that you can plan an eco-friendly wedding. 

We have witnessed a larger number of couples opting for small, intimate weddings with sustainable decor and conscious choices. It is in fact easier to execute different, new ideas when the scale of the wedding is small. Even a small effort towards a sustainable wedding counts in making way for an eco-friendly environment. 

Tips to Plan An Eco-friendly Wedding

If you are thinking of hosting an eco-friendly wedding, and giving back to society, then these thoughtful wedding planning choices can help reduce wedding waste and go green this season.

Some of the tips are mentioned below:

1. Choose your Location Wisely 

Source: Third Element Photography

Prefer getting married near your hometown or maybe consider a venue that's in the center for both of you and your families. 

Choosing to go for a destination wedding is romantic but it involves a lot of air and car travel for you and your guests. It also means having to book rooms for everyone which also involves a lot of costs. 

2. Invitation Cards

Source: Kanoo Paper and Gift

There's nothing like inviting your guests to be a part of your celebrations with a physical paper invitation just like the same traditional way. But with changing trends, we have seen an incredible amount of shift from physical invitations to digital invitations. That not only saves a lot of energy but saves the environment too. There are alternate options that you can consider to invite your guests:

Go for plantable seed invites

If you do opt for printed wedding invitations, instead of going for the traditional ones, go for recycled or earth-friendly paper for your invitation, or use plantable seed paper which is made with seeds inside it so that your friends and relatives can use them for plantation after your wedding. 

Here are more eco-friendly invitation ideas that you can consider for your wedding

Send digital invitations or save the dates

Rather than sending printed wedding invitations, send digital invites. There are tons of great online wedding invite options that have set templates. You can also hire a professional to make a customized digital invite. 

Cut down the number of printed pages

Rather than having 3-4 pages of invitation cards, each page dedicated to separate ceremonies, we recommend you reduce the number of printed sheets to help make an impact. For example, rather than having one page only for the name, the next for sangeet details, and the next for mehndi details, etcetera, try and squeeze in the pre-wedding ceremonies on one page. You can also skip the mailed RSVP card and envelope and have your guests RSVP online. It's way easier to manage and eco-friendly also. 

Consider having a detailed wedding website 

In this era of the internet, having a wedding website with detailed information about every ceremony will eliminate the need of having too many pages on your wedding invite. You can simply ask your guests to check your wedding website and find all the info there. From ceremony details to other important ones, everything will be in one place. 

3. Consider a Day Wedding

Source: Mili Ghosh Diaries

Hosting a day event outdoors is one of the best options for eco-friendly weddings as the setup is naturally lit. Opt for an outdoor wedding space like a garden or farmhouse or a vineyard! You will not only get married amid nature, but the photos will also come out nicely. 

Getting married at night requires a lot of electricity consumption.

4. Make the Most of Your Venue

Source: Khamkha Photo Artist/Aash Studio 

Choosing a wedding venue is the foremost step toward a conscious wedding. Be clear about what kind of place you both would like to get married. Are you looking for a garden, beach, open lawn, or indoor ballroom? And if you are planning on hosting an eco-friendly wedding, then choosing a venue like a garden or a farmhouse where there are already plants, flowers, trees, etc would be a better option. It will not only save on money but trees and plants will even transform the vibe of your sustainable wedding. Other points to consider before finalizing your wedding venue:

Choose a venue with natural beauty that requires little decor. Having your ceremony amid gardens, meadows, beaches, or forested means minimal décor and less waste.

Consider hosting your reception and ceremony at the same venue to reduce the transportation. You can also reuse your decor. 

Consider using the naturally available structures at the venue, and incorporating them into the decor like trees or artistic walls, or any structures. This helps with keeping additional decor material to a minimum. 

Source: Khamkha Photo Artist/Aash Studio 

If your venue has a gorgeous tree, get married under it or hang canes, umbrellas, lamps, or flowers for decor  just like Bollywood actor Dia Mirza's wedding. She chose to get married in her home garden under her favorite mango tree, which became the highlight of her wedding. You can also use this space as a ceremony or photo backdrop. 

5. Choose Sustainable Decor

Rather than printing hundreds of paper menus, wedding programs, or signages for your ceremonies, consider multi-purpose sign options that can be used again after the wedding like chalkboards that can be rubbled again or acrylic or framed glass that can easily be personalized to give a vintage feel. Some other decor elements you can consider for your eco-friendly wedding are: 

Go for dried flowers

They are very cost-effective as well as environmentally friendly.

Rent your decor

Instead of purchasing a whole bunch of jars, vases, and decor that you’ll never use again, find a local wedding rental company for these things. 

Incorporate natural elements in your wedding details

Make nature your perfect inspiration, and use it to style your wedding. For example, use real leaves as place cards for your guests to find their seats at the wedding ceremony or reception. It's more sustainable and would save on cost too. You can also opt for a no-seating plan and let the guests sit wherever they want. 

All of these options could help reduce the amount of money being spent on your wedding and will help reduce excess waste created through weddings.

6. Use Sustainable Materials for your Decor

Source: Etsy

Instead of choosing disposable paper napkins, consider buying cloth napkins. You can also use natural fabrics like bamboo, and linen rather than artificial ones for table covers and accessories. 

7. Light up the Venue with Candles

Rather than lighting your entire event with electricity, utilize candles where possible to cut back on energy utilization. They also help create a romantic vibe for your event.

8. Centerpieces & Chandeliers 

Have you found some stylish alternatives for a more eco-friendly wedding? If not, then beautiful succulents can be a great option for sustainable wedding decor. Instead of chandeliers, use hanging plants to decorate your space, or use potted plants or fruits as table centerpieces. In case you do not want to go for potted plants, you can also put single stems into recycled glass bottles. These can also make for great wedding favors that your guests can take it home after the ceremony. 

These are not only eco-friendly decor options but add a picturesque rustic vibe to your wedding. 

9. Use Artificial Flowers Rather Than Fresh Flowers

Source: George Street Photo

Consider using dried wedding flowers for decor and bouquet that stays longer and are budget-friendly.  

You can also reuse bridesmaid bouquets as floral decor or table centerpieces at your reception ceremony. 

10. Plants and Saplings as Gifts & Favors

There are plenty of wedding favors and gifts out there that never get used by guests, but if you’re looking for eco-friendly options that your guests are definitely going to love and use, then here are some options: 

Potted Plants

Source: Photos by Marcos

You can use potted plants as center table decor pieces or around your wedding venue and later can keep them as favors for your guests. 

Plant Saplings

Source: Beginnings for you

Saplings are another great gift option for your guests. You can also give these with your invitation card or later after the wedding as favors. Saplings are easier to carry and maintain. 

Seeds as eco-friendly wedding gifts for the guests

Give your guests a pack of seeds that they can grow and celebrate your special day. You can also customize the seed packet with seeds of flowers, plants, etcetera. 

Choose recyclable packaging

Try and use packaging that can be re-purposed! For instance, glass jars for local honey or cake or biodegradable paper, or jute sacks for chocolate or cookies.

11. Wear a Sustainable Wedding Dress

The idea of a sustainable wedding is not only limited to decor, or invitations but also outfits. There are many ways you can go eco-friendly with your wedding outfit. 

Rent your wedding outfits instead of buying them

What's better than buying the outfit of your dreams, and that too at a very affordable rate. Renting your outfit is one of the easiest ways to go green.

Important Things To Consider Before Renting Your Wedding Outfit

Shop earth-conscious designers

If you don't want to rent your wedding outfit, then it's best to research designers who make sustainable outfits.

Avoid buying from oversees and go local

Instead of buying an outfit from international designers, shop locally to cut down on the transportation cost. Plus, it's always best to physically go and try on the outfit before buying to avoid any hiccups later. 

Re-sell your wedding dress after the wedding day

Some people want to keep their wedding outfit as a memory, but if you don't want it, then consider selling it or giving it to another bride maybe a friend or cousin as a gift or at a discounted rate.

Here are interesting ways to reuse your wedding outfit

- Wear your mother or grandmother's heirloom 

An heirloom will be very very special and close to your heart. You can make some changes to the outfit like get a new blouse, alter the embroidery a little, or you can also add one more dupatta to your bridal attire, just to keep the new and old look, or you can also reuse your mom or mom in law's jewelry for your sustainable wedding. 

12. How about Local Organic Veggies for the Wedding Meals?

Source: O'Malley Photographers/Sugar Beach Catering

Whether your venue is providing the wedding meal, or you're hiring a separate team for catering, ask them to source local organic veggies that are fresher and tastier. 

13. Eco-Friendly Wedding Cutlery 

For your eco-friendly wedding, give special attention to your cutlery also. Try not to use the disposables like plastic straws, or cups, and go for reusable crockery and cutlery like bamboo leaves plates, or any other available eco options. 

14. Donate Left Over Food Wisely

We know a lot of food is wasted at weddings but instead of just throwing it away, you can donate it to an NGO that can later feed it to needy people. 

15. Separate Trash Bins

Make sure you use as many trash bins as possible at the wedding. Keeping a bin for wet waste and dry waste separately can help protect the environment. 

16. Opt for Cruelty-free Makeup Products

Another way to ensure your wedding is an eco-friendly affair is by choosing cruelty-free products for your bridal makeup. 

17. Choose an Eco-friendly Wedding Exit

There's no doubt that wedding exit photos are the most joyous and magical!

Source: Etsy KaBlooms

But what if there's a way to alternate your paper confetti or sparklers with something more sustainable? Shower the couple with dried flowers, leaves, or seed paper confetti for the grand wedding exit. 

Source: Etsy Bloomingful

About Author

Neha Garg Ahuja

She is a wedding-obsessed 'Content & Marketing Director at Pyaari Weddings' who has been giving inspiration to couples across the globe for eight years!

How does she do the magic: She is always scouting beautiful bridal lehengas, extravagant decor, captivating jewelry, and romantic couple dances.

While not working: You will find her scrolling through Airbnb and exploring, hidden gems for her next travel.

Find her on Instagram! @nehagarg2903