Eco Friendly Wedding Tips & Resources to Save Money, The Environment, Beautifully!

Eco Friendly Wedding Tips & Resources to Save Money, The Environment, Beautifully!

by Bonnie Gringer

Eco-Friendly Sustainable Wedding Tips and Resources to Save Money, The Environment, Beautifully!

Looking for eco-friendly wedding ideas? Planning a green wedding doesn’t have to be hard.  Reduce wedding waste, find second-hand wedding dresses, and look for other easy ways to have a sustainable wedding.  The environmental impact of weddings is huge and we should all do our part to help.  Here are a few ethical, eco-friendly, zero waste ways to say ‘I do’. Consider this as a guide to spend less, giving more and getting more in the end.  Don’t get sucked into the idea that ‘bigger is better’.  The cost of your wedding does not do anything to make your marriage last longer. But it CAN destroy your budget and have a huge carbon footprint. 

The Rising cost of weddings

Did you know that the average cost of a wedding has risen to almost $30,000 in the United States?  Considering the pressure many couples are under to throw an elaborate wedding, many people are left wondering how they can afford to tie the knot. However, there are many ways you can save money and still have a beautiful, luxurious wedding. I've been to a few weddings that went "all-out". Those weddings were actually less beautiful and the experience less appealing than weddings that were mindful. I much rather have a tree planted in my name than a bag of chocolate-covered almonds initialed in gold lettering.

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You don’t have to be a hardcore Greenie to appreciate the allure of a wedding in the midst of rolling meadows, botanical gardens or forested hillsides. You can double your venue's green quotient by selecting a site managed by a non-profit organization that protects the land—or sea! In Florida, Tampa Bay Watch is doing invaluable work through their restoration of wildlife habitats, education programs, and cleanup efforts. Your rental fee goes directly towards ensuring they can continue to preserve and protect these waters for future generations.

Eco-Friendly Wedding Tips

Planning an eco-friendly wedding can be fun and leave you with a feeling of satisfaction for your minimal impact living. It won’t be quite as easy as calling your local wedding planner, unfortunately. Here are a few tips to get you started on your road to your low carbon footprint married life!

Purchase Eco-friendly Wedding Rings

The amount of money and human labor that goes into supporting the precious metals and diamond industries is immense. Many diamond-mining organizations have come under fire for the mistreatment of their workers. Natural resources are slowly becoming depleted as more people want to own precious stones.

Promote sustainability and the proper treatment of workers by purchasing wedding jewelry made from recycled materials. This jewelry is often more affordable than other diamonds and wedding bands.  Check out the sustainable wedding bands from AU-Rate. They use only 100% recycled gold and all pearls and gems are purchased only from ethical sources.  From family-run pearl farms to strict working conditions in gem mines, they focus on producing beautiful jewelry with strong ethics.  

Another sustainable jewelry idea is to upcycle an old family heirloom. Have an old piece of jewelry that has been passed down your family for generations? Reuse parts of old heirlooms, including gems, diamonds, and metals, to create a piece of jewelry with a unique family history.


Taylor & Hart



James Allen


Fair Trade Jewelry

Plan a Recycled Wedding

Thanks to many eco-conscious and economical brides, there has been a recent boom in websites that allow brides to “recycle” parts, or all of their wedding. Brides who have just recently said ‘I do’ often sell their gently used decorations, wedding invitations, and even their wedding dresses. Second-hand clothing is the cornerstone of eco-friendly fashion!

Browse through the offerings on places like eBay and Craigslist and find huge savings on everything you need for your wedding. Thanks to the internet, you can incorporate beautiful secondhand pieces into your own wedding. This saves you money and prevents these good-as-new items from simply becoming trash.  Check out for second-hand wedding dresses! 

Eco-Friendly Wedding Dress Ideas to Consider

If an earth-conscious wedding dress brings to mind an ill-fitting hemp garment, you couldn't be more wrong. Whether vintage, or made of organic materials, eco-friendly dresses take on many styles and couldn't be more beautiful. And in an increasingly green environment, there certainly isn't a shortage of options. Where to start? Consider the following:

1. Re-wear a gown, such as your mother's — even better because it has sentimental value. If you're not a fan of her '80s-style sleeves, take it to a seamstress to redesign the look. Or, you can buy or rent a pre-worn gown.

2. Take re-wearing a gown to a new level and go vintage. Check out consignment shops or vintage boutiques. You might get lucky and find something one-of-a-kind.

3. Look for a dress made of organic fabrics, such as organic cotton, organic silk, or peace silk. A dress made out of recyclable materials can also do the trick.

4. Choose a designer that creates sustainable gowns, whether it's by hand-making the dress or supporting women in developing countries. Need some options? Try any of these designers...

5. Rent or Buy Once Worn - why spend your entire paycheck or two when you can spend up to 75% less for the same look and experience that you would typically spend $5,000+/-. It's logical to have your dream gown that would otherwise not be affordable.


Rental Options:

Laine London, Atlanta

Borrowing Magnolia

Dress for Rent

Weddington Way Brides Maid Dresses


Help you find the perfect designer resale or organic wedding dress.

Sustainable Brides

Organic Wedding Dress Designer Resources:

Daughter of Simone

Leila Hafzi

Deborah Lindquist

The Cotton Bride

Indie Bride

Eco-Friendly Wedding Planners:

Greater Good Events

Green Wedding Professionals

Eco Cult Directory

Select an Eco-friendly Wedding Venue

An eco-friendly wedding venue saves you a great deal of money. It also drastically reduces the carbon footprint of your wedding. Many large venues, including hotels, banquet halls, and reception areas, require a large amount of electricity. All the lighting, sound systems, heating, and cooling are not a great choice for the environment. Host your reception outdoors to reduce the need for constant lighting and energy usage.

You can also host your ceremony and reception at the same venue. This way,  guests don’t have to waste gas traveling from one location to another. This is not only on my list of green wedding tips but also on my list of ‘make everyone’s life easier’ tips!

If you must host the ceremony and reception in two different places, consider renting a shuttle or other form of eco-friendly transportation to take people between the venues. This will mean fewer vehicles on the road and a decrease in harmful emissions.

Eco-friendly Wedding Venue Resources:

Greater Good Events

Green Wedding Professionals

Eco Cult Directory

Ceremony and Reception Sites

Consider Registering for Donations

Simplest of all the eco-friendly wedding tips I want to share is to ask for money for a green cause! Committed to making a difference in the environment? Have guests make donations in your name, instead of purchasing gifts for you through a registry. Many charities offer donation cards that you can fill out and send to wedding guests, which indicates that you would like them to make a donation in lieu of giving a gift.

There are plenty of great eco-friendly charities that focus on protecting the environment and the earth’s species. Some of my favorites are the World Wildlife Foundation, Rain Forest Action Network, Conservation Fund, American Forests, and Greenpeace.

Donate Leftover Wedding Food

When it comes to weddings, the mentality is often that it is better to have too much food than too little. With hors d’oeuvres, cocktails,  appetizers, entrees and desserts, there is often a large quantity of food leftover after the reception. Choose local food and donate leftovers instead of simply wasting it.

As food decomposes it releases methane gas, a toxin that is 20 percent more harmful than carbon dioxide. Help cut down on methane release by donating food to organizations such as America’s Second Harvest Food Bank, City Harvest or other local food kitchens. Food waste is a huge problem in this country, however, there are many ways to reduce your garbage output and prevent your wedding from contributing to it.

5 Things You Need for a Green Wedding

Many green wedding supplies will be bought second hand or borrowed from friends and family. There are, however, a few items that you might want to buy new. Choosing eco-friendly wedding items will seriously reduce your carbon footprint. Here are a few of my favorite suggestions:

Biodegradable confetti. Don’t throw things on the ground that won't biodegrade, even if you ARE getting married!
Paper straws are a great alternative to plastic for your beverages. No straw is great too, but, some people really do love those things!
Eco-friendly paper lanterns. You can find ones that are 100% biodegradable which I think is totally cool.
Disposable Wedding Plates made from sustainable materials. Find compostable tableware free of dyes, bleaches, or other harsh additives. A great alternative to single-use plastic.

Sustainable Wedding Shopper-Stylist Resources:
Wedding stylists and curators focused on helping couples find the perfect sustainable dress, décor and venue for couples who wants to save a lot and help the environment without sacrificing style or experience.

Sustainable Brides

Ethical Weddings

Green Wedding Designs

Daughter of Simone

Is a Green Wedding Right for You?

Plan a green wedding to save money and the environment. You can promote sustainability by finding innovative ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your big event. It is easy to incorporate eco-friendly elements into your wedding. That way, you and your soulmate can start off on an eco-friendly life together. I hope these eco-friendly wedding tips will help you in planning your own special day!  Check out Bridal Guide for more wedding planning tips!  Have any other green wedding tips to share?

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