Easy swaps can make your wedding less wasteful, less expensive, and way more beautiful. These tips will help you celebrate your love with an eco-friendly wedding

Dobrina Zhekova  – June 22, 2017

We don’t mean to ruin your day, but when it comes to weddings and the carbon footprint they leave on the environment, the numbers speak for themselves—and they don’t look good. According to the Carbonfund.org Foundation, if you have invited more than 100 guests and most of them are flying, your carbon footprint is likely to be around 15 tons. It skyrockets to 50 tons if you invite more than 200 guests. This is the equivalent of driving 121,000 miles per year in a typical passenger car, except that you generate it in one weekend.

Everything from your guests’ transportation, their accommodation, the food, the decor, and even your and your bridesmaids’ dresses contribute to the higher CO2 footprint of your big day. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying you should elope without telling anyone, but there are things you can do to make your wedding more eco-friendly without sacrificing its beautiful aesthetic.

We reached out to Valentina Schade, projects coordinator at ‎Ten Thousand Villages, a nonprofit fair trade organization that works with independent artisans from around the world, who shared with us five easy ways to plan a sustainable wedding. And guess what? It turns out that it’s not that difficult and, not only that, but you may also save money by opting for more eco-friendly options.

1. Something Old

“Vintage wedding dresses are gorgeous and will bring a timeless beauty to your ceremony,” says Schade. If the idea of wearing someone else’s dress is turning you off, then consider a sustainable wedding dress. These are usually handmade from fair trade fabrics or recycled materials.

The same goes for your bridesmaids’ dresses—don’t make them spend a ton of money on a gown they’re only going to wear once.

2. Rent Decorations

Nowadays, there are so many companies renting out party decor that buying it would be a total waste of money. Plus, think about it—when would be the next time you’ll need 100 purple chair covers?

3. Reuse and Recycle

You probably don’t even realize it, but the amount of trash that’s left after your wedding is over is enormous. Schade suggests renting glassware, cloth napkins, and anything else that can be washed and reused, or choosing recycled paper napkins or vegetable-based cups that are compostable if your venue has compost bins.

4. Skip the Paper Invitations

We live in a digital age so why not just embrace it and send out email invites to your guests. Take it from someone who did exactly that—it will save you (a lot of) money and (a lot of) time, and it does the job just fine.

If you really insist on mailing invitations, then just opt for ones made from recycled paper.

5. DIY

There are definitely certain elements of your wedding that you can do yourself or ask family members and friends to help you with. Just select sustainable, fair-trade, or recycled materials to reduce your CO2 footprint.