A wedding is a major life event, so, understandably, not all couples have "saving the environment" at the forefront of their minds. But data shows that each wedding produces 400 pounds of trash and 63 tons of CO2 according to The Green Bride Guide. Here are some suggestions you can give to clients to inspire a greener wedding day.
For planners, keeping clients happy is always a top priority, so all you can really do is encourage them to find ways to be environmentally conscious, says Adam Donovan-Groves of Donovan-Groves Events. “I never want to sound preachy, so I just make them aware of what their options are. And there are plenty of ways to be eco-friendly and still have their dream event.”
Reduce the guest count.
“The smaller the guest count, the smaller the carbon footprint,” says Mariah McKechnie of Northland Special Events. With micro weddings rising in popularity, couples might already be leaning towards a smaller event, which will not only be more environmentally friendly but could also save them money.
Toss the paper.
While many of his couples don’t want to forgo the traditional paper wedding invitation, Donovan-Groves urges them to have guests RSVP online. Not only does this save them when it comes to stationery costs and postage, but it also makes things easier if you need to update family and friends about any changes. “After COVID, it's strongly suggested that clients gather everyone’s email addresses so you can send out quick updates if needed.”
Choose the right vendors.
Planners should recommend vendors they know use eco-friendly methods when providing wedding-related services. For example, if clients insist on using paper, refer them to stationery designers who use eco-friendly means, such as printing on recycled paper or using biodegradable seed paper that can then be replanted!
Find dual-purpose décor.
Reimagine your design to incorporate dual-purpose components, suggests Ren Kolongowski, a wedding planner at Chalet View Lodge. “Wedding favors that can operate as escort displays, using a charcuterie board for signage, and hiring shuttles to transport your guests to and from the airport are just some of the environmentally friendly solutions we have encountered here. Incorporating just a few small changes into your wedding design can make a huge impact.”
Couples can have lush blooms throughout their event space and then find a place to donate them afterward. For example, the pros at Wild Hill Flowers and Events have teamed up with Unexpected Blooms, a local nonprofit that delivers repurposed and recycled wedding flowers to individuals in healthcare facilities throughout Kansas City. “We highly encourage brides in any city to look for a similar organization to donate their wedding flowers to after the big day!” says owner Jenni Koch.
Adam of Donovan-Groves Events tries to steer couples towards using reusable items in place of going the disposable route. Choosing to rent, borrow, or use a family heirloom is better than purchasing something that'll be used only once and then tossed away. If clients insist on a disposable option, then Donovan-Groves suggests planners make sure it's something biodegradable. That means no styrofoam or anything waxed since neither breaks down easily.
Send food home.
Send food home with your clients' guests or with the couple's consent take some home for your team. There's usually a lot of leftover food at a wedding. COVID and allergy concerns have made it more difficult to donate, but Donovan-Groves Events makes sure that his staff, and other wedding vendors in attendance, get a chance to take some treats home.
Hero photo courtesy of Sarah Jane Photography