10 tips on planning a sustainable and ethical wedding day

100% recycled vow books and vegan ribbon

Let’s be real, a single wedding can produce 400-600 lbs of waste. Crazy, right? Not shocked yet? How about this one.

There are 2.5 million weddings that happen just in the United States alone each year. And now let’s multiply 400 lbs of trash by 2.5 million weddings… Well, I don’t think I need to show you the math for us to know that is way too much trash for a wedding day.

I think I have said enough. Let's get to those tips!


  1. Use Recycled Paper for your Stationery

This first one is super simple! So no need to downgrade your invitations to an E-vite. Just tell your stationery designer that you would like your stationery printed on 100% recycled paper. As a wedding stationery designer myself, I know for a fact there are so many options out there for 100% recycled paper, so you won’t have to give up on your dream stationery.

Vow Books by   Our Vows

Vow Books by Our Vows



2. Vegan Ribbon over Silk Ribbon

 Did you know 3000 silkworms are killed for just one per pound of silk?

If you didn't, that’s okay, not many people do. So when you are searching for the perfect ribbon for your bridal bouquets use vegan ribbon.

Vegan Ribbon:   Our Vows   Photographer:   Connor McCraken

Vegan Ribbon: Our Vows Photographer: Connor McCraken



3. Shop Local for Florals

When you are choosing your florals, choose a local vendor who carries seasonal local flowers. By choosing local flowers, you are creating fewer emissions. How?

Well, say you are getting flowers from a town over, you are only creating the emissions for the flowers to travel one town over to your local flower shop. But, let’s say you are getting flowers from across the country, you are producing way more emissions for the flowers to travel to that same floral shop.

PHOTOGRAPHER   Olivia Carson     FLORALS:  Edelweiss Floral

PHOTOGRAPHER Olivia Carson FLORALS:Edelweiss Floral



 4. Thrift your Decor or Buy Second Hand

 This one is my personal favourite. I love thrifting my home decor. You can find such unique pieces that you simply can’t find at the local Walmart.

Although, shopping at thrift stores take a lot of patience and time. So if you are not one to strut through your local thrift store, no worries, shop second hand online. Check out Craigslist, eBay and Facebook marketplace.



  5. Buy Ethical Rings

We all know the classic diamond is the optimal engagement ring. Unfortunately, diamonds can leave your bank pretty dry and not to mention the impact that mined diamonds have on our environment.

A little insight without going too crazy with numbers and stats.

Mined diamonds create on average 125 gallons of water per carat and 125 pounds of carbon emissions. While lab-grown gems only use roughly 18 gallons of water and create 6 lbs of carbon emissions.

Crazy, right?

Moissanite gems are great alternatives to mined diamonds. They look identical to the human eye and they cost 90% less than mined diamonds.

Are you convinced yet?



 6. Research for a Sustainable Venue

When searching for your wedding venue look for one that provides recycling and compost. Look for a venue that has an area for an outdoor ceremony. Bonus if the venue can also hold an outdoor reception. Lower your emissions by choosing a venue which allows for the ceremony and reception to be on same premice. And lastly, look for a venue with lots of natural lighting to keep electricity use low.

Photographer:  Svetlana Sauer

Photographer:Svetlana Sauer



7. Eco-Friendly Favours and Gifts

Go for some edible favours, no one likes throwing away gifts they can’t or won’t use.

Don't want to give treats as your parting gift? Plants are also great or better yet, let your guest’s take home your centrepieces.

As for your gifts, ask for donations to your favourite charity.



8. Vintage Wedding Dress

Unfortunately, wedding dresses only get worn for one day, not even a day, try 8 hours. Although, this is often overlooked from all the excitement when finally buying the wedding dress of your dreams.

Get fancy and buy a beautiful vintage dress from Etsy. Trust me, no one will have a dress quite like yours.

PHOTOGRAPHER   Olivia Carson




9. Have a Vegan Wedding

Going vegan on your wedding day is a great way to be eco-friendly. No animals are harmed and you save tons of water from reducing your meat intake, literally.

Feeling a little confused? Look up on google how much water it takes to make one burger patty. Hint hint, it's in the hundreds.

Another tip is to plate your dishes rather than serving the dinner through a buffet style. Buffets tend to produce more food waste than platted meals. Opt-out for plastic when you can and if you can’t completely get rid of plastic, use biodegradable plastic.

Photographer:  Svetlana Sauer

Photographer:Svetlana Sauer



 10. When in Doubt, RENT IT!

 Lastly, rent it over buying it. There is nothing worse than being stuck with wedding decor for years to come.





Have you been to a zero-waste wedding or eco-friendly one? I want to hear about your experience below.