How to Create an Eco-Friendly Wedding

It’s a well-known fact that our planet is warming. From more frequent and extreme storms to unprecedented heatwaves, we’re feeling the impacts of human-caused global warming. While it can all seem like too much to handle, there are many small actions that you can take to make sure you’re doing your part to be eco-friendly. Even when planning your wedding! 

Before I dive into planning an eco-friendly wedding, let’s clear some things up. Sustainable versus eco-friendly; what do they mean? Many people use these terms lightly and synonymously, which has created a bit of confusion. Here are some basic guidelines for the terms: Eco-friendly means that something doesn’t harm the planet. Sustainability sets the focus on the future. It means the item or action generates environmental, social, and economic benefits while not using too many resources or causing pollution!

An eco-friendly wedding at Dobbin St in Brooklyn, New York City.
Eco-friendly floral centerpieces at the wedding venue Dobbin St in Brooklyn

Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking as it is, but I’m here to help. I’ve put together some approachable ways to make your wedding more eco-friendly.

Prioritize an Eco-Friendly Focused Venue

This is probably one of the biggest and easiest choices you can make to ensure your wedding is eco-friendly. By choosing a venue that prioritizes sustainability, many of the small decisions you would usually have to ensure your party is green will already be accounted for. Dobbin St in Brooklyn is committed to its sustainable bar program. This means 100% cotton linens, straws eliminated (unless needed and requested), organic and in-season garnishes, and fruits (local when possible). Plus, they’ve partnered with Common Ground Compost to ensure waste will be recycled and composted.

Forgo Paper Wedding Invitations

Sending out paper wedding invitations is not only not eco-friendly, but it’s also expensive. Rather than sending printed wedding invitations, send digital invites or save the dates instead. There are tons of saying you have to go the entirely digital route, but even reducing the number of printed items you mail or giving out at your wedding will help impact. For example, skip the mailed RSVP card and envelope and have your guests RSVP online. Wedding Wire is a great free tool for this!

Eco-friendly bamboo plates at a rooftop wedding
A wooden block used for serving appetizers at a rooftop wedding in Brooklyn

If you do opt for printed wedding invitations, print them on plantable paper. This paper is made with seeds to grow a new plant when it ultimately gets disposed of. Plus, it’s a cute way to remember your wedding date and could almost be used as a favor.

Pro-Tip: Speaking of reducing paper, if you’re interested in a photo booth go digital!

Buy a Gently Worn Wedding Dress

Did you know that fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams? What’s more, 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year! Now, I know that there’s an emotional significance when it comes to finding your dream gown. A wedding dress is one of your most important purchases as a bride-to-be, and you’ll have a chance to make incredible memories with family and friends while shopping for and wearing the one. 

You can still enjoy the shopping experience at a consignment shop, though! Look for a local consignment boutique in your city or area. Find a designer resale site that specializes in wedding gowns. Many cities even host wedding swaps (pre-COVID) where you can get the dress of your dreams for a fraction of the cost. 

If that’s not your vibe, I totally understand. Since your gown is already perfectly tailored for you, consider collaborating with a dressmaker to have it reworked into a simpler midi or cocktail-length dress. You can wear your altered gown for an anniversary dinner and relive your memories of the big day!