We celebrate Earth Day in April but thinking about how to live an environmentally friendly life is important year-round. And for couples getting married, planning an eco-conscious event has taken center stage. In fact, in a recent survey from Sustainable Wedding Alliance, 98 percent of couples revealed that sustainability was a factor when planning their wedding, while 78 percent said it was very important to them.
But putting together a green event for clients isn’t always easy. According to The Green Bride Guide, each wedding produces 400 pounds of trash and 63 tons of CO2. Yet you can make the world better one event at a time by guiding clients in the right direction as they plan their special day.
We've made a checklist to guide you in planning an eco-conscious event and picking the right vendors who's values align with your environmental goals.
When planning the event, make sure you are:
1. Selecting the right venue
Guide your clients toward venues that make sustainability a priority. Some examples include locations that prohibit single-use products, utilize solar power, make all of the food served on-site, and source any outside needs from local vendors.
2. Staying local
Speaking of staying local, taking advantage of the event location’s resources is one of the best ways to ensure an eco-friendly affair. Selecting local goods and services will cut down on fuel for transportation and save your clients money in the long run!
3. Tossing paper
From invites and menu cards to programs and place cards, weddings use up a lot of paper. Offer clients alternatives to this traditional route, including asking guests to RSVP to the event, showcasing a large seating chart at the reception (in lieu of individual cards), forgoing paper cocktail napkins, etc.
4. Choosing smart décor
Help your clients select décor that can serve several purposes throughout the wedding day. Flowers at the ceremony altar can be repurposed for the reception, while favors can operate as escort displays.
5. Borrowing when possible
Reminds couples that there’s nothing wrong with borrowing certain items from recently married friends or choosing heirloom pieces that will bring more meaning to the wedding.
6. Providing transportation
Shuttles that will bring your guests from the ceremony to the reception will limit the amount of driving (and gas usage). Even better: Have your ceremony and reception in the same place!
7. Opting for biodegradable items
If your clients don’t want to go the reusable route, make sure that you choose products that are biodegradable and less harmful to the environment.
8. Planning for leftovers
Figure out what the couple will do with any leftover items once the wedding day is over, such as sending extra food to a shelter and the floral arrangements to a nursing home.
9. Hiring the right vendors
It’s important that sustainability is important to everyone associated with the wedding, so finding like-minded vendors is a must.
When meeting with vendors, make sure to:
1. Check their website
If sustainability is important to them, it should be showcased on their website and social media pages. It’s easier if you hire people who have worked on green weddings before.
2. Read their policies
Find out if the vendor has a business plan or mission statement that details the company’s sustainability practices.
3. Find out about their materials
It’s important to research what materials vendors use when creating their products.
4. Ask the right questions
Come up with a list of questions to ask each vendor that will give insight into their eco-friendly practices. For example, if you’re meeting with possible venues, find out what they do with leftover food, if they use single-use plastics, if they recycle, and the like.
Hero photo courtesy of The Ganeys