If you haven’t considered how to have a more sustainable wedding, you’re missing out on more than just a chance to give back to the environment. Making your nuptials a more eco-friendly occasion can also have a huge impact on your wallet—and who out there doesn’t like the idea of saving a few thousand bucks? From going organic to skipping the $10,000 rock, there are many smart ways to go green on your big day. We have rounded up six. Take a look.


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1. The Dress

Wedding dresses: They’re expensive, sure. But they’re also bleached and serve a one-day-only purpose. Why not find an eco-couture designer when shopping for a dress, or hit up a vintage seller? There’s nothing cooler than a vintage designer gown that’s easy on the bank account. I know a bride who spent $30 on a dress at a vintage shop that suited her style to a T, so you never know what you’ll discover until you try. Should you find a to-die-for design that’s brand-new, consider donating it when the day is done.

But the wedding gown isn’t the only part of the wardrobe you can go green with; having matching single-use bridesmaid dresses is a thing of the past. Choose an elegant, not-too-flashy design your ladies will want to wear again, or let them choose their own dress in your chosen color palette.

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2. The Jewels

Are diamonds really a girl’s best friend? While there’s nothing quite like a big, beautiful rock, the eco-conscious bride can find plenty of like-minded jewelers to cater to her needs with rings made from recycled stones and metals. Perhaps a local artisan could craft a design that reflects your personal style or an antique shop could provide a long-forgotten treasure waiting to be given new life. Better yet, check with your family to see if an especially sentimental heirloom is in the cards.

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3. The Decor

The decor is definitely a popular project for today’s bride. It’s almost as if Pinterest exists mainly for brides to make their lifelong dream wedding become a reality by doing everything from making their own pennant banners for the reception to growing their own flowers. A few more ideas? Use your rehearsal dinner flowers for the reception. Create centerpieces from bits and bobs from the thrift store—think mismatched flower vases made from multi-colored old glasses and even vintage tea cups, pitchers and tin cans.

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4. The Food

The organic wedding caterer is not hard to find these days, so have fun with the choices before you. Remember going local and keeping it seasonal means less travel time for the food, which means you’re being as green as green can be. Try growing your own herbs to use for seasonal, delicious cocktails.

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5. The Day Of

Even the most avid recyclers tend to forget their good habits at events. Suddenly it’s OK for each person to use a pile of disposable cups, plates, napkins, and cutlery and then toss them in the trash. Make sure to minimize your event’s carbon footprint by eliminating disposable items altogether and providing plentiful receptacles for recycling bottles and cans, ideally beside every trash can at your venue. Before even hiring them, ask vendors—like caterers, florists, and rental companies—what efforts they can make on their end to be more sustainable. If that’s not a priority for them, you may want to find someone whose values more closely align with your own.

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6. The Favors

Don’t waste your money on a bunch of silly little favors that are destined for the dump. Get creative, and your guests are guaranteed to love you for it. Why not make a playlist of your favorite love songs, and instead of downloading to a disc, simply provide a download link? Or create your own edibles, like canned preserves, mini cookies or bread.

What steps will you take the make your wedding more sustainable?

Images via Shutterstock (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

About the Author

Kelly Rae Smith is a DIY and crafts writer for Shutterfly.com. Her ideas for sustainable weddings are inspired by the creative wedding planning options available on the Shutterfly.com website.