Beautiful Zero-Waste Wedding Reception Ideas

Congratulations, you’re getting married! If you are planning your big day, but dreading the amount of waste your reception might create, don’t panic. You can have your dream wedding even if you are environmentally conscious. From borrowing your bridal earrings and wedding dress to creating your decorations and asking friends for favors instead of wedding gifts, there are many different eco-friendly choices you can make to reduce waste from your event.


Rent Your Wedding Attire

Fact: one wedding dress alone is estimated to use 9000 liters of water. Moreover, the materials used in creating these garments are very resource-consuming. Fabrics like chiffon and tulle require a considerable amount of energy and water to produce. Plus, the chemicals used to treat and dye these fabrics are also harmful for the environment. Instead of spending a lot of money on an unsustainable item that you will only wear once, opt for the more eco-friendly option and rent your wedding dress, tux and even your bridal pearl jewelry. Bonus: you can wear a designer item for a fraction of the price simply by renting your pieces.


Opt for Eco-Friendly Decor

It is estimated that during the six hours of a wedding, an average of 500 kg of waste is produced from décor, food, flowers, plastic bags and more. Instead of contributing to landfills, rent your wedding décor or create your own from recycled materials. Make the most of daylight while you can, by hosting your ceremony and receptions outdoors and use candles to light out the venue later in the evening, in order to save on energy consumption. Whimsical, magical and eco-friendly – all in one!


Go Digital

The amount of wood and paper thrown away each year in the U.S. alone is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for two decades and, in the past 20 years, over 380 million hectares of forest were lost globally. As these numbers are expected to double in the next 30 years, it is our responsibility to make a change. So, instead of spending nature’s resources (and your own) on paper goods like invitations, menus, wedding programs and other printed materials, go digital. Create a website for your wedding and write all the information your guests will need in one place, including invites and RSVPs. Besides being zero waste, this tip will help you save money from printing any materials for the big day.


Downsize Your Menu

On average, around 65% of a home’s food wastage across an entire year is wasted at every single wedding. Even more, at least 15% of guests admit they would only eat one or two of their three courses. In order to reduce the food waste generated by your event, be sure to ask your caterer about their food waste policy. An eco-friendly caterer will donate the food that hasn’t been cooked to food banks or charities, while products that don’t get consumed can be turned into compost.


Be Smart With Your Venue Selection

If you are committed to reducing the waste generated by your wedding, choosing a sustainable venue is a big part of it. Choose a certified green venue, a place which is committed to low-impact living, with a strong recycling policy in place and energy-efficient appliances and host both the ceremony and the reception in the same place. This small adjustment will make a massive difference to your wedding’s overall carbon footprint as there will be no need for guests to travel from one place to the next. If you have the option, go for a beautiful outdoor setting for your event. This means you’ll be able to make the most of natural sunlight and nature’s scenic beauty, which ultimately translates into less (or zero) energy consumption and less waste on unnecessary décor.

You could also choose to have your wedding at a venue that repurposes old buildings to help support recycled infrastructure while making a beautiful historic or rustic backdrop for your big day.   

Switch-out Your Flower Arrangements

We all know that freshly cut plants have a big negative impact on the environment. With tons and tons of flowers being thrown away each year from weddings alone, flowers are probably one of the biggest wastes that comes from a wedding reception. Instead of filling your space with blooms which you will only see for one day, use potted flowers and dry (reusable) plants instead.


Final Thoughts

In all the excitement of planning your big day, it can be easy to overlook the impact your wedding might have on the environment. Learning more about what you can do to make a difference is the first step into making a change. Although big changes like picking a green venue make a big difference, there are plenty of smaller fixes, like sending out digital invitations, that can help reduce your impact on the environment a little bit more.