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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!
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!
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
- Skip the favors
- Use rentals, don’t buy
- Donate your food
- Plant a tree
- Throw petals, not plastic
- Have recycling bins
- Buy vintage
- Get an ethically sourced ring
- Use Bamboo straws + place settings
- Choose a venue where you can have both ceremony + reception (no travel)
- Use farm to table catering
- Eco-friendly registry
- Ask florists to use flowers that are local
- Use seed paper invitations
- Have your bridesmaids wear dresses they already own or will wear again
- Skip water bottles, please.
- Use clean soap and recycled paper in the bathroom
- Skip the bathroom goodie box
- Go meatless at your wedding or make produce the star
- Purchase from environmentally-friendly businesses
- Use antiques for your seating and furniture
- Use local potted plants or sustainably-grown local cut flowers
- Donate your wedding dress
- Rent your tux
- Make confetti using a hold punch and dried leaves
- Take an eco-friendly honeymoon!
- Give guests the option of donating to a charity in your name instead of purchasing a gift
- Don’t use aerosol hairspray
- Have a staycation for your honeymoon
- Eco-friendly welcome bags
- Use paper culture to send email invitations
- Save energy by getting ready in well-lit areas sans lights
- Use solar lights at your reception
- Don’t have a destination wedding
- Use LEDs at your reception
- Donate your decor
- Use glass instead of plastic
- Get married outside
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.