How to Plan a Green Wedding: Tips to Save Your Budget and the Planet

Plan a green wedding!
Plan a green wedding!

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and showing your commitment to the environment can be a part of it! Why sacrifice your ideals for a single day?

There are so many choices to be made when planning your wedding. By intentionally planning a green wedding, you will be able to stretch your budget further while keeping an eye on your carbon footprint. You can still have the elegant wedding of your dreams and feel great about the environmentally conscious choices you have made.

Protect the planet for your new life together. Plan a green wedding!


Green Wedding Reception Tips

Eco-Chic Wedding Invitiations

Tips for A Green Wedding Ceremony

Green Wedding Dress: Hemp

Green Wedding Favors

Tips for Planning a Green Wedding

The following is a list of ideas to help you plan your green wedding. Consider scaling back all around, on everything. The average wedding in the U.S. costs $20,000, but that is not a requirement for a beautiful, elegant day.

Try to consider the environmental impact of every single decision and purchase you make for your wedding. Use your buying power to support local markets and organic farmers. Make purchases from socially responsible companies. Be mindful that each item you buy - from apparel to napkins - will end up somewhere else eventually.

  1. Scale back your guest list. By inviting less people you will save money, reduce travel and consumption on everything from the food to the flowers. Overall this is the best way to reduce the footprint of your wedding.
  2. Buy local flowers that are in season, rather than shipping in flowers from far off countries. The greenest option is to avoid using cut flowers at all or limit their use in your wedding decorations.
  3. Avoid using paper plates, cups and plastic cutlery.
    If you don't have enough reusable dishes and cutlery, use compostable dishes, cups and utensils made from renewable resources such as corn or potato starch.
  4. Serve organic champagne, beer and wine.
  5. Serve locally produced ice cream for dessert.
  6. Plan a menu based on sustainable food choices.
  7. Use linens instead of paper napkins.
  8. Smart catering: choose a locally grown menu consisting of safe organic food. Look for high quality instead of high quantity.
  9. Pass on the raw bar. If you were considering adding a raw bar to the cocktail hour menu, you may want to reconsider. Investigate eco-friendly sushi and fish choices. Certain types of fish contain dangerously high levels of contaminants and the practices involved in harvesting them sometimes have negative environmental impacts.
  10. Go digital with your photography. Review your proofs online so you only print your absolute favorite photos. You can always store the remaining photos on a CD for future use.
  11. Send e-invites instead of paper. Allow your guests to reply by email.
  12. Set up a website for your guests to obtain all wedding information online including hotel information and directions to event locations.
  13. If you do choose to send paper invites, use recycled or hemp paper.
  14. Register for donations to your favorite cause as weddings gifts.
  15. Choose an eco-friendly fabric for your dress, such as hemp or bamboo.
  16. Rent your wedding dress. Most cities now have wedding dress rentals and you can often find a designer gown that would be far out of your price range to rent!
  17. Consider having a Vintage wedding - dress your wedding party in vintage clothing.
  18. Choose dresses for your bridal party that they really could wear again. I know many brides intend to do this, but then get carried away with matching fuschia dresses and dyed shoes. This costs your bridesmaids a small fortune and they never use the dress or shoes again. Consider the waste and let your bridesmaids pick something they love!
  19. Wear an heirloom dress. Did your mom or grandmother stash her dress away in the attic? Check it out and see if you can use it. You can always alter it to fit.
  20. Look into purchasing eco-friendly wedding rings and conflict free diamonds. There are several websites that allow your friends and family to donate old gold pieces to you to be fashioned into new rings for you and your fiancé. The designs are beautiful and unique.
  21. Think about the leftover food prior to your wedding day. What will be done with it? Plan ahead to donate unused food to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
  22. Decide carefully when registering for gifts. Are the items you are asking for going to last a long time? Are they practical? Are they high quality? What happens to them when their “life is over?” Are they recyclable? Be sure to register only for the things you truly need.
  23. Minimize the amount of driving your guests will need to do by choosing a convenient location. Hold the ceremony and reception in the same place (this will also cut back on the cost of transporting the wedding party).
  24. Explore options for eco-friendly wedding favors like a gifttree or sapling. The National Arbor Day Foundation makes it easy for eco-friendly brides to give trees for their favors.
  25. Hire a wedding planner that specializes in green / eco-friendly weddings. If your budget allows, let them handle all the hard work for you!
  26. Take an eco-friendly honeymoon. There are many wonderful options for eco-friendly travel!
  27. Think about energy efficiency when planning the entertainment for your wedding reception. Instead of a band (which uses the most energy), choose a DJ.


Best of luck planning your green wedding!

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Comments 26 comments

WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 7 years ago from DC Metro Area

Amy, what a great hub! Well laid out information with lots of options to have a green wedding. The trouble lies in the desire to have a green wedding that doesn't require much "green" aka money. That's where your tip #1 is most effective. Cutting attendants is the best way to cut cost.


krupesh profile image

krupesh 7 years ago from Bangalore

Nice hub , but will people try to go with your points? People want to show off & where does tis cost cutting come?Nice tips though.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

Excellent tips. In France (at least in the countryside) the guests come back the day after the wedding and even the day after to finish all the leftover food and continue the party!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks Wedding Consultant! You're right - a green wedding really does save some green if you cut the attendants. I like smaller weddings, so I always suggest cutting the guest list too!

Hi Krupesh, thanks for reading. Having a green wedding cuts costs in many different ways if you follow the tips above. For example (here in the New York area) hiring a DJ instwead of a band will save you thousands of dollars - and it is more energy efficient. Having a raw bar is another large expense that many couples add to their cocktail hour, but generally it is not very green. My point was that you can have a beautiful, elegant wedding and still keep your green commitments in the process!

Thanks Princessa! I love that tradition. It sounds like so much fun! Here in the US, most of the food gets tossed out - as well as many of the flowers.


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

Loved your green wedding hub, Amy!  My 2 children are now at that age where they could at anytime say "I'm getting married".  With the huge money expense that weddings cost these days I am happy to read about all of your tips and ideas to stay abreast, so when that day does come I will be prepared and will be able to enjoy their special day with them instead of being in a frenzy over how much money I spent and how broke I am, LOL! Knowing your options and planning ahead is key.  Thank you for writing!


packerpack profile image

packerpack 7 years ago from India, Calcutta

Very good tips. I liked it. I liked the concept of sending e-invitation. Though it may at times give an impression that the invitation is not serious enough. Actually we have become used to paper cards and until we get something to touch and feel, we don't think it is serious. But it is a good step.

The best thing that I liked was the use of leftover foods. That is so very good!

You have stressed a lot on the use of local stuffs like ice-cream or flower or even the local grown menu. Is it that if we try to get things from far off then the transportation will add to the carbon footprint?


souvikm16 profile image

souvikm16 7 years ago from Bangalore, India

Awesome hub! and its the genuine concern and action by responsible citizens which is gonna make a difference:)


equusport profile image

equusport 7 years ago from Horse Captial of the World

Great hub and great idea. I think striving for a greener environment, greener lifestyle and raising awareness in the benefits of living healthier "greener" lives, will give not only us, but generations a better world. A green wedding is a fantastic way to not only make an important commitment to the love of your life, but also a commitment to the world in which you live. It's a beautiful way to start your lives together, do something for society and inspire other's to make a difference and appreciate nature, while at the same time protecting it. I loved this hub. Hawaii would love it! They are way ahead of the rest of the states in being "green." And many beautiful weddings are performed there, where you can truly appreciate the dedication and experience and see the difference --and it is truly beautiful to see how many care and live "green." Thanks for a hub that makes a difference!


The Real Tomato profile image

The Real Tomato 7 years ago

amy- your a smart hubber- this will be a frequently searched subject for years!

Green+Wedding is a good marriage!

This is even great for those who are renewing their vows.

My favorite tip is wearing an heirloom dress, I did this as well as wore one of my great- grandmothers jewelery pieces. I felt extra special ! craigslist might be a place to look for one or even request one- I am sure there are many heirloom dresses that would love to see the sunshine again!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Amy, what wonderful tips and resources!

About 8 years ago, before "green" was as big as it is today, my good friend had her wedding catered by a local restaurant that specialized in organic, locally produced, vegetarian menus. Every single guest, vegetarian or not, raved about the food, which was delicious and gorgeously presented. I know my friend saved quite a bit in terms of both money and footprint by going meatless and waiving that raw bar.

Thumbs up!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thank you all for the comments! I am so glad that you found these tips helpful!


Shane Belceto profile image

Shane Belceto 7 years ago from WA USA

Now although I am happily married now the "green" caught my eye and I came to this seeking to see what a green wedding dress would look like ... smiles. 

Seriously though working with a team arround earth day I have ran into great articals lately .. but this one is well done very organized and super full of ideas.  Many options such as the digital pics and a website to let guest get details and RSVP are now available and pointed out in this great post.    Wondering does anyone use potted flowers for their wedding and then place in their yard?    Going to share this with my single and engaged friends now. 

~Expect Miracles

Shane

SLB.EDBD


Clara Ghomes profile image

Clara Ghomes 7 years ago

Interesting Hub. Nice tips to cut cost.


Meridith profile image

Meridith 7 years ago

This is a great outline for organizing a green event!


Abhishek87 profile image

Abhishek87 7 years ago from India

Great tips though you know the one thing that may come in way for anyone thinking of this way is the thought 'Hey this is my wedding, its gonna happen only once (hopefully)' , Ic an't cut costs in this. That's one of the reasons people spend much more than they need in the first place.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thank you all for the comments! I'm glad that the ideas for a green wedding are helpful. I think regardless of cost, having a greener wedding is the responsible thing to do, and even if you want to go all out and are not working with a tight budget, some of these ideas still work.

Thanks again for reading and commenting!


Lena M. profile image

Lena M. 7 years ago from Toronto

Here's an idea - serve good portions! So much food at weddings and other events gets wasted because there's just too much. It's obviously better safe than sorry when it comes to amount of food, but it's not necessary to go overboard on that!


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

Hi Amy, I will pass this article on to my neice, who is getting married in July - and already having problems getting flowers for that date!! Can you believe that? I told her to change florists...that seems so unreal.

wonderful tips for the married-to-beees!!


A2JinMI profile image

A2JinMI 7 years ago from Ann Arbor, Michigan

I love your thoughts on green weddings. I'd never thought about the raw sushi bar- good thinking!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thank you all for your comments and additional suggestions!


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here

Thanks so much for all of this great info! Planning a wedding can be overwhelming - especially when budget is a concern. I also don't like the idea of a wedding being such a testament to consumerism and excess, but - of course- still want everything to be stunning! :) I like the way you showcased your ideas for someone who really has a genuine concern, rather than tryin to be "green" for sheer trendiness.

Your hub gives a lot of realistic ideas - I'm excited to read more from you!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi RooBee, So I glad I could help! These tips really are for someone with a genuine concern for the planet and reducing their footprint. I hope you can use these tips and have a stunning wedding!


Guardian1 profile image

Guardian1 7 years ago

Wow, a green wedding. I will definitely utilize some of these tips when I get married. Thanks for this great hub. So many wonderful ideas.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

You're welcome Guardian1! I hope these green wedding tips will be helpful in your planning!


TheWeddingSecret profile image

TheWeddingSecret 6 years ago from Bath, UK

Thanks for this post - I am definitely going to watch that wedding invitation video now and try to learn how to make my own!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 5 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thank you! I think people are becoming more aware and willing to sacrifice a few so called luxuries for a more environmentally friendly wedding day.

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