Hey there, it looks like either you or your partner has popped the big question, right? And if you’re not engaged, maybe you’re helping someone who is. Or maybe you fall into neither of these categories and you just happen to be someone like me who spends way too much free time looking at wedding items and décor just for kicks and giggles. Regardless of which category you fall into I have created the ultimate checklist for an eco-friendly vegan wedding, so polish up that beautiful, conflict-free solitaire engagement ring and settle in because we have some things to talk about.
Avoid single use plastics
This topic really seems like a no brainer but honestly it’s one of the easiest ways to be eco-friendly. Choose washable plates, glasses, and silverware, cloth napkins for your dinnerware, and substitute compostable products for the things you can’t find reusable solutions for.
Choosing a Venue
The venue is arguably the most expensive and important part of your wedding and where the bulk of your budget will go. Choosing a venue that you can host both the ceremony and reception at will mean less coming and going for setup along with less driving for your guests. Also, don’t be afraid to ask them what kind of steps they take to limit their environmental impact. If this option doesn’t work for you consider hosting at a city park. While it does leave all of the decorations, setup, tear down, and planning to you it’s often far cheaper than a traditional venue and it gives you more control over how you green you decide to make your wedding.
There are two main options to consider when planning for your save the dates and invitations. The first would be to go digital and send them via email, that way if anyone would like to print it and keep it for a keepsake they can. Some people find this to be cheap and inauthentic so this is an option that would probably work better with small weddings. The other option is compostable or biodegradable invitations. A quick google search brought up a few options on Etsy and I even found plain compostable cardstock on Amazon if you or someone who is helping you plan the wedding has the desire to design them yourself.
If you’re not already using Pinterest you should probably join, if only for this part of your wedding. When planning an eco-friendly wedding DIY is the name of the game here, and there is probably no better collection of DIY projects than what exists on Pinterest. I used to organize events for a country club and once saw a beautiful chandelier piece made entirely from bay leaves by the bride’s mother. When I asked her how she even came up with the idea she told me she found it, and the idea for the bay leaf and lavender centerpieces, on Pinterest. If doing it yourself just isn’t for you then contact a local florist and ask what they can create for you using plants that are in season and grown in town. Sourcing everything locally helps cut emissions that would be used when shipping from farther away.
Reduce and Reuse
You can always get on Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace and see what wedding related items people are selling. This saves both money and time for you and means that these items are less likely to end up in a landfill. If you’re super crafty try scouring thrift stores and antique malls to see what you can find to turn into useable wedding items. Shabby chic boho vibes are super in right now and I don’t see that going anywhere anytime soon. When your wedding is finished you can always resell it or donate it. Everyone wins in this scenario.
This topic can be kind of touchy as some people spend their whole lives dreaming about their big day and they have a very clear picture of what they want wear at the altar and it doesn’t usually include thrift store hunting. If this is you then my suggestions are to make sure your dress/ outfit is made from low impact natural fabrics and dyes and to make sure it’s not made using child labor. There’s also rentals to consider if you don’t plan on having an attachment to the garments. If you’re open to more suggestions then the advice I gave in the reduce and reuse section applies here as well.
This is honestly probably one of the easiest switches to make. Bird seed and flower petals are both very easy to substitute out for confetti or bubbles, although if you choose bird seed I’d suggest waiting until the end if you’re choosing an outdoor wedding and reception. Make sure that the containers used for holding the birdseed or flower petals can be recycled or composted. Cute little mason jars should do the trick.
Ok, so I know I mentioned your conflict-free solitaire engagement ring already but ensuring that your rings are ethically sourced can go a long way to helping the world in general. Peruse your local antique shops or browse through Etsy for something one of a kind and original.
What kind of guide would this be if I didn’t bother covering the food, right? This can be tricky depending on the venue you choose. Some venues only want you to choose from their approved list of caterers and others don’t mind if you bring your own caterer so long as they are licensed and insured. Some venues will let you act as your own caterer and others won’t. Food is important so these are big questions to ask while on the hunt for a venue. Veganism is having a shining moment right now with so many people choosing it for its low environmental impact but it’s very important to make sure that your caterer understands your vision to avoid any drama on the big day.
The goal is to be eco-friendly and have as low of an impact as possible with your wedding. For that reason I recommend doing non-alcoholic drink stations that consist of punch, tea, lemonade, or water in large carafes or dispensers rather than having cans or bottles of products around. For alcoholic beverages I recommend wine and beer kegs. These can be served up tastefully from behind a bar and prevent guest overconsumption that can happen when hard liquor is offered. It’s also easier on the budget, and since kegs can be reused, produces less waste when combined with washable glassware.