Every year, hundreds of families gather to celebrate a lucky couple. Often, these beautiful celebrations take place in remote areas, otherwise untouched by man. They haphazardly leave their carbon foot print all over the scene and throw concerns and funds to the wind. After all, it is the most important day of said lucky couple’s life. But, is that what is most important here? In my years as a wedding coordinator, I have been witness to night after night of hundreds and thousands of single-use plastic items tossed into a garbage can. There’s a fork for appetizers, a fork for salad, a fork for dinner, a fork for dessert, a cup for water, a cup for wine, a cup for beer, a cup for coffee, and so on.
It is so vital that some of our traditions change a little to save our planet. The more things we can keep out a landfill, the better we all are; and your wedding is the perfect platform to make a huge impact.
Here are my top 10 suggestions to host an eco-friendly wedding:
1) RENT INSTEAD OF BUYING
Whenever possible, opt to use rentable, reusable flatware, glassware, servingware, tables, chairs, etc. Instead of buying your own or using disposables, rent! Rental companies assume the cost, the cleanup, the setup, the breakdown and the storage of these items. You can be assured they will be reused by the next happy couple, instead of ending up in a landfill.
2) COMPOSTABLE OVER PLASTIC
If it is necessary to use disposables, we totally understand! Instead of using plastic tablecloths, plasticware and cups; choose bamboo, paper, or wood. It is prettier and compostable. It takes approximately 450 years for plastic to breakdown, but only 2-6 weeks for paper. It is the much more environmentally friendly choice.
3) ENCOURAGE YOUR GUESTS TO BE FRAGRANCE FREE
Wearing synthetic fragrances pollutes the air and contaminates our water, animals, and plants. On average, 1 in every 20 of your guests will have a sensitivity of some kind to synthetic fragrance. Use your platform to bring awareness to the fact that perfume and cologne are no longer welcomed staples for a formal wardrobe. To ensure a healthy, eco-friendly and enjoyable time for all of your guests, yes, you can ask that your guests refrain from wearing fragrances.
4) PHILANTHROPY AT THE BAR
Most guests bring cash to a wedding in case of a cash bar or bartender tips; however, many couples opt to tip their bartenders cash at the end of the night instead of having a tip jar. This is a fantastic time to raise money and awareness for your favorite charity! Your guests will appreciate the opportunity to donate. They will leave feeling good about themselves and impressed by your thoughtfulness.
5) UP-CYCLING DIY
Use your imagination to its fullest for your big day! Use resources like Pinterest and French Events social media posts to inspire what's possible. Many projects can be achieved using thrift store finds. Try wrapping tires for fun lounge seating or reclaimed wood for signage. There are so many fun possibilities!
6) INVESTIGATE YOUR INVITES
Whenever possible, we encourage you to use recycled paper for your invitations. Many companies now offer offer this option. 100% recycled and compostable wedding invitations reduce the impact your wedding has on the ecosystem by keeping trees intact and your correspondence out of landfills.
7) YOUR REGISTRY
Register for gifts that can be reused like silicon plastic bags, reusable wax paper and bamboo kitchenware. Keep in mind the longevity of the items you are registering for and what will happen to them when you are ready to move on. Reusable home goods are readily available and registering for them not only ensures that your household is off to a strong start, but it brings awareness to your guests that these products are the new normal as well.
Choose a caterer that buys from local, organic suppliers. Make sure your loved ones are eating the healthiest and most sustainable foods at your wedding. This does not have to cost an arm and a leg! Vote for good with your dollars and see to it that small businesses like local farmers are benefiting from your money spent.
9) SKIP THE UNNECESSARY
Skip things like balloons, glow sticks, sparklers, and disposable items in the restroom. Skip unnecessary tchotchkes, "keepsakes," and party favors. These often end up trashed or on the ground before the night is over. Add nice touches to make your guests feel welcomed like rentable/reusable blankets and other eco-friendly finds.
10) FORAGED FINDS
Did you know you can cut many of your own flowers, foliage and grasses? Without doing harm to the environment, carefully select beautifully overgrown palm leaves or pampas grass for an elegant touch without buying pricey flowers that require refrigeration, styrofoam, pins, ribbons and more. Use potted plants, like succulents that can go on living long after your event ends.
These are just some examples of many ways to create a mindful environment at your event. Is it possible to create a more sustainable future, one wedding at a time? We think so. Follow @FrenchEventsRents for updates and suggestions during your planning process.