top of page

How to Have an Eco-Friendly Wedding

Updated: Oct 30, 2018

As gorgeous and amazing as weddings can be, the reality is that a single day can have a huge impact on the environment. More and more, we are seeing couples who want to be mindful of the overall footprint of their wedding day. It is so exciting to know that a wedding can be everything a couple envisions, while also being eco-friendly.

The biggest concern among couples (and the Prudence & Sage team) is the amount of waste a wedding creates, and how it is handled when the wedding ends.


Insight from Emily:

Rural venues often don’t have separated garbage, recycling and compost, simply because those services aren’t available for pick up from the county. That means everything goes in the garbage, even glass and cardboard. A lot of my clients aim to find a way to plan for those to be separated and someone tasked to take the recycling away at the end of the night to be properly processed.


In addition to the obvious, there are also hidden components that add to the waste and impact of hosting a large event. Most of the waste at weddings is from beverage service – especially when disposable cups are used. Luckily, there are also ways to offset this and have a wedding that is beautiful and green.

Eco Friendly Wedding | Bright Ceremony Decor | Snohomish Wedding Planner

So if you’re planning your wedding and wondering what you can do to minimize the environmental impact of your day, here are a few ways to start.

Rent What You Can

Unless you have a future use in mind for table linens and settings for 100+, it is most convenient to rent them. Professional renting companies take amazing care of their products. Rather than being used once and thrown away or forgotten, each item is used countless times for a variety of events.


From wine and beer bottles to plastic cups, be sure to sort and recycle as much as possible. Focusing on items that can be recycled or composted will prevent additional waste from ending up in a landfill.


Insight from Emily:

Create clearly labeled recycling and compost waste bins around your event and cute signage to explain why you’re going eco-friendly. Have your bartenders not breakdown wine boxes and return empty bottles to the boxes. This is the easiest way to get your empty wine bottles to a recycling facility if your venue does not provide it. Or - share them with another couple who wants to do a DIY project with them!


Go Thrifting

Okay, here’s the thing: almost everything you need décor-wise can be thrifted, rented, or borrowed. What is even better about choosing thrifted items over brand-new is that they can have so much more character. Vintage and mismatched décor provides an authentic, unique vibe to your wedding day, with the added bonus of producing less waste.

And, after your wedding, you can either re-donate the decor you thrifted, or give it away to another friend getting married! The bold, colorful paper displays featured in the images throughout this article were given away to be used at another party.


Insight from Emily:

Try to limit buying brand new things. Those new things create waste in the packaging they are shipped and sold in. Decor can be purchased from buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook, on Craigslist, Offer Up, and by creative thrifting.


Use Porcelain Plateware, Glassware, or Compostables

There are so many options for your reception that minimize waste! From real glassware that can be washed and reused, to compostable plates that will still look gorgeous on your table settings, there is an option for every bride and budget.


Insight from Emily:

Most of the waste I see at weddings is empty bottles and so many plastic cups. If you have a 100 person guest list, you’re looking at 400+ disposable cups, which takes up a few large garbage bags on its own. If you prefer disposables, be sure to get a plant-based compostable plastic. Even better, rent real glassware from a rental company or a caterer. No garbage, and commercial dishwashers are very efficient in their water use.

Those white plastic plates with the fancy gold rim? Those don’t save you money and they create a lot of waste. They are about $0.70 each to purchase. You can rent a porcelain plate with a gold rim for $0.75 each at CORT Party Rentals or basic white porcelain plates from Sweet Buffet Lady for $0.50 each.

If you really want to go disposable, basic compostable plates are $0.10-15 each and the palm leaf plates are $0.50 each.


Work with Vendors Committed to Sustainability

Washington is an incredible place to be in terms of sustainability and environmentally friendly practices. Choosing local vendors who work to minimize their footprint will give you peace of mind on your wedding day.


Insight from Emily:

Simply being mindful of the garbage you’ll produce at your wedding makes a massive difference. Choosing professional services who will provide quality reusable place settings and glassware will significantly reduce your event waste.


We are happy to highlight a few local vendors who are committed to sustainability. The Officers Club and Hangar 30 at Magnuson Park provide separated and clearly labeled garbage cans for trash, recycling, and compostables or food waste.

Olympic View Estates designed their venue with sustainability in mind, using wood from their own property and remaining conscientious of environmental practices.