Bride and groom in natural setting on hillside in west county Saint Louis, MO

Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something green.

I don’t think that’s quite how that saying goes, but if you are looking to minimize your impact on the planet and your waste on your wedding day, here are a handful of ways to be an Eco-friendly bride and have a green wedding.

wedding rings on couple's hands in Saint Louis MO

Rethink some paper products by eliminating or altering their use. For example, ditch the programs or the individual name cards at the reception. I’ve had one couple who did some pretty amazing online invitations, too. For what you do need to print, look into more sustainable paper options or recycled paper for printing.

Use real things, rather than disposable. Sometimes in the name of cost or ease, it’s easy to grab disposable items, but using reusable items like napkins and table settings not only feel nicer, but also eliminate a ton of waste.

Couple at springtime wedding at conservatory in St. Charles MO

Choose things you’ll use again, and then they’ll hold meaning. I love how many things around my home that we use daily came from my wedding. My mother-in-law used buckets for some decorations at my rehearsal dinner and now my kids’ toys are all in colorful buckets around my house. The cups and plates we used for communion are now our special wine glasses and my favorite go-to plates for breakfast and dessert. Maybe your shoes or watch can be new for the wedding and what you use again on special occasions.

wedding party in superhero socks

Get creative with your guest book. I’ve seen plenty of creative ideas that allow couples to enjoy the names and messages from their family and friends that won’t end up stashed in a box and never seen again. People have signed all kinds of things that the couples plan to display in their home- rocks in a jar to a special favorite book. Photo books featuring engagement photos are also a great alternative; since the book has dual purpose they can enjoy looking at it over and over again, giving those pages a full life.

Wedding guest book from Fellowship of the Ring

Use local, native to your area, in-season plants for your flowers and decor.

Eliminate waste by donating extras of anything you can to those who might appreciate it most. Consider food, flowers, decor, supplies, and other items.

Use recycled items for decor. I’ve had several brides that collected specific types of jars for flowers. Also, there was one who painted old doors to create a backdrop for their ceremony.

recycled jars used in colorful wedding decorations

We aim to keep things as eco-friendly as we can as wedding photographers, too. I’ve previously written about that in how we aim to be responsible in our business, but you can read a portion of it here, too.

We choose to be eco-friendly by:

• Using our equipment fully and until they die or show excess wear, rather than creating excess electronic waste

• Reusing our packaging materials

• Using recycled paper products and minimal new paper or plastics for packaging and marketing

• Often choosing paperless options for proofing, correspondence and billing

• Meeting online with our out of town clients, rather than driving

• Using real plates, napkins, and cups rather than disposable

You might find a few more ideas in my post on Saving Money on your Wedding.