It’s time we faced the fact that we all work in an extremely wasteful industry. The wedding and event world is full of single-use plastics, wedding favors that will end up in landfills, and food that will never be eaten. As rewarding and encouraging as it can be to experience such a joyful day with people, once you look around at all that’s being trashed, it can dampen the mood real quick. Between plastic bottles, paper streamers, and solo cups, parties generally result in a ton of waste, and while you might think it’s not your responsibility to coach your couples on this, you can actually have a big impact on their decision to skip the plastic and have a green wedding! Being environmentally-friendly is a huge part of my personal life, so I wanted to carry it over into business. Yeah, it’s tough to go completely green on a wedding day, but if we as photographers are encouraging our couples and providing them with solutions that they don’t have to come up with on their own, they’re more likely to keep mother nature in mind while planning their wedding.

I wanted to provide you with words of eco-encouragement pass on to your couples, fellow vendors, (everyone, even!) including alternatives to plastic, ways to give back, and lots of resources with the planet in mind. At the bottom of this post, you’ll find a pdf with all of this info included so you can easily forward it to your couples. I hope this inspires you to think more consciously about the effects weddings have on our environment, and join the effort to save the planet!

 

Seed Paper Vow Books By WholeWeddings

 

First, I wanted to touch on the incentive. While I wish green weddings were the standard, sometimes it takes a little persuasion to really get the ball rolling on planning an eco-friendly wedding. Here’s what I offer couples:

“If you pledge to make your wedding day plastic-free, you will receive a free engagement session or a $300 print credit towards an album or prints after your wedding. I can help you with talking with your venue or caterers about going plastic-free and offer ideas on how to approach this day with mother earth in mind. It is so important for more and more people to incorporate sustainable aspects into their weddings, even if it is something small. As an environmental advocate but also a realist, I know completely eco-friendly weddings aren’t always feasible. Do your best, and mother nature and I will thank you! For more ideas on how to go plastic-free and to learn more about incorporating it into your wedding day, reach out to me!”

I have had a ton of luck with this offer, and for me, the tradeoff is so worth it to photograph a wedding that makes me feel like I’ve helped the couple make a difference towards a greener planet. Do you have an offer like this on your website? You could include prints with the gallery, add an additional parent album, a day-after session, and an extra hour of coverage!

 

An arbor decorated with branches and leaves found on the venue’s property

 

Second, give them all of the ideas! Couples planning a wedding already have so much on their plate that they literally might not have the energy to start considering eco-friendly alternatives. People will gravitate towards easy solutions, so offer this list below to your couples to take the guesswork out of the equation and also look and feel like an awesome problem solver to them!

40 Eco-Friendly Wedding Ideas

  1. Skip the favors
  2. Use rentals, don’t buy
  3. Donate your food
  4. Plant a tree
  5. Throw petals, not plastic
  6. Compost
  7. Have recycling bins
  8. Buy vintage
  9. Get an ethically sourced ring
  10. Use Bamboo straws + place settings
  11. Choose a venue where you can have both ceremony + reception (no travel)
  12. Use farm to table catering
  13. Eco-friendly registry
  14. Ask florists to use flowers that are local
  15. Use seed paper invitations
  16. Have your bridesmaids wear dresses they already own or will wear again
  17. Skip water bottles, please.
  18. Use clean soap and recycled paper in the bathroom
  19. Skip the bathroom goodie box
  20. A bouquet made of local grasses and wildflowers

     

  21. Go meatless at your wedding or make produce the star
  22. Purchase from environmentally-friendly businesses
  23. Use antiques for your seating and furniture
  24. Use local potted plants or sustainably-grown local cut flowers
  25. Donate your wedding dress
  26. Rent your tux
  27. Make confetti using a hold punch and dried leaves
  28. Take an eco-friendly honeymoon!
  29. Give guests the option of donating to a charity in your name instead of purchasing a gift
  30. Don’t use aerosol hairspray
  31. Have a staycation for your honeymoon
  32. Eco-friendly welcome bags
  33. Use paper culture to send email invitations
  34. Save energy by getting ready in well-lit areas sans lights
  35. Use solar lights at your reception
  36. Don’t have a destination wedding
  37. Use LEDs at your reception
  38. Donate your decor
  39. Use glass instead of plastic
  40. Get married outside
A couple eloping in the forest instead of inside


Third, I wanted to list some of my favorite eco-friendly vendors.
This list is ever-growing with the changes in the industry, so check back to see more! To view a more

Whole Weddings – Wedding Stationery – https://www.wholewed.com/

Ethical Weddings – Blog Resource – https://www.ethical-weddings.com/

Bad Rabbit Flowers – Florist – http://www.badrabbitflowers.com/

Autumn Lane – Sustainable Wedding Venue in Maine – https://www.theautumnlane.com/

The Kind Bride – Blog + Community – https://www.thekindbride.com/

Of The Fields Floral Design – Florist – https://ofthefieldsfloraldesign.com/

The Other Straw – Plastic Free Goods – https://theotherstraw.com/

Harvest Gold Jewelry – Upcycled Wedding Rings – https://harvestgoldgallery.com/

Wanderwood – Sustainable Wedding Venue in Maine – https://www.wanderwoodmaine.com/

Geraniums Red, Delphiniums Blue – Florist – http://geraniumsred.com/

Enter your email below to receive my PDF that you can use to send to your couples to encourage them to go eco-friendly!

A wedding day is likely the biggest event your couples will partake in, but it can also be the most wasteful. Reducing the carbon footprint of a wedding can seem like a daunting task, but luckily going environmentally-friendly is getting easier each day. Remind your couples that their wedding vision doesn’t need to be sacrificed to also support mother earth, and send me an email if you need other ideas or help with encouragement. 

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