This past weekend rare hosted an open house at their wedding and event venue, Slit Barn. Preferred vendors such as Thunderstorm Productions, Fresh Look Design and of course, Indulge Natural and Organic were in attendance to promote this beautiful, 170 year-old heritage site and its environmental charity. By booking your event with Slit Barn, you are not only supporting local environmental initiatives and education but also the small businesses that they contract. Eco-friendly weddings are all the rage and with the rise of Minimalism, Veganism and general eco-consciousness (seriously, have you been on YouTube lately?), this mentality is extending to The Big Day. We’ve compiled a list of five easy ways to make your wedding more eco-friendly (aside from booking Slit Barn as your venue!):
- Ditch the favours and individually packaged/paper goods
I can’t tell you how many times, at the end of the night, we end up throwing out wedding favours. From mini bubble blowers to homemade goods in plastic baggies, by the time guests are leaving, they’ve totally forgotten about them in the midst of dancing and drinking. Instead, why not do a candy station in crystal vases where guests can fill their own compostable paper bags with their favourite treats? Or make homemade jam and put it in small mason jars! These produce less waste and if they are left behind, you could take them home and use them.
This extends to all individual paper or packaged goods. Wedding websites are a becoming more popular and allow your guests to RSVP online. This not only saves paper (and money!) but can help you in organise by giving you a database of their entree choice (if you’ve opted for a plated menu) and number of guests. An e-mail with a digital image also works as an alternative for Save the Dates. If you do use paper (heck, Grandparents need to be invited and RSVP somehow!), choose a printer that uses recycled paper products and biodegradable, vegetable-based ink. There’s even plantable paper now which contains seeds! You could print your menus on this, stick them in little terracotta pots and they double as a functional wedding item and a favour for your guests. Or go for a chalkboard menu and itinerary and eliminate paper completely!
- Gift Registry
If you and your partner are just starting out, a gift registry might be necessary for you to furnish your home. If so, try to choose locally-owned establishments, like art galleries or gift shops that stock items from local creatives. There are also a lot of great online stores that sell eco-friendly household items and their packaging tends to be recyclable or compostable as well. If you’ve been living together for awhile, you may have already amassed all of the household items you could need. Instead of having guests purchase items, create a GoFundMe page for your honeymoon or a house down payment that they can donate to. You can also have them donate to a charity of your choice, like the Humane Society if you have a pet or rare!
- Buy used, borrow or rent
Dresses and tuxedos can be a big expense; not just for you and your bridal party, but on the environment as well (check out The True Cost documentary on Netflix!). Luckily, there are a tonne of options to reduce both the impact on your wallet and the environment.
Renting is a great choice and isn’t just for the groomsmen anymore! It can also allow you and your bridesmaids to wear more expensive duds than you would be able to otherwise. Rent The Runway is a great site to rent designer clothing at a fraction of the cost. Borrowing from friends also works (and is free!).
You can also opt to purchase used items. This can give a unique, one-of-a-kind vibe to your wedding while also being less expensive and eco-friendly. There are great sites to find discounted, used wedding and bridesmaids dresses.
Another option is “come as you are.” This is for a more casual wedding, where your bridal party can wear dresses or outfits that they already own. You can give colour or style parameters to keep it somewhat cohesive, but this is also a great way for your bridal party to show some of their own personality too!
- Eco-Friendly Flower Arrangements & Decor
You can apply the borrow, rent and used mentality to the decor as well! Antiques make really cool showpieces to use as gift or cake tables. Using them as table decor, they can double as take-home centrepieces for your guests (that way you aren’t stuck storing them). You can also opt to rent your decor. Companies like Fresh Look Design, who are also the sole decorators for Slit Barn, have a variety of decorations for any theme to choose from. They also use LED tea lights, mainly because there is a no fire rule for Slit Barn, but it’s a great eco-friendly ambience option for any venue.
Floral arrangements can bring a lot of vibrancy and life to an event, but there is also a lot of hidden waste that comes along with them. If you choose to use fresh flowers, we recommend sourcing an organic florist to reduce the environmental impact of pesticides (We love Jerrica Li from Henceforth Farm. They grow their own flowers!). Also, ask for any ties in bows and on bouquets to be made from natural materials so you can compost any flowers you aren’t taking home to dry.
Speaking of drying flowers, when a friend of mine got married last year, she borrowed dried flowers from a bunch of friends and used them as the centrepieces and for bouquets. This is a great way to save money, have a unique look and have less waste!
Another option is to use live plants and flowers. Succulents and cacti are all the rage right now, and they are so cute! Paint terracotta pots to match your wedding colours and plant flowers, succulents or even edible plants! Your guests can take these home so you aren’t stuck with them afterwards.
- Choose a sustainable caterer
Food is one of the most important choices for a wedding; it’s usually what ends up being talked about afterwards. It can also be one of the biggest sources of waste. There are a few ways you can help to reduce this though! First, opt for a plated dinner over buffet or stations. With plated, portions are exact and your caterer will be able to better judge the food necessary for your event. Secondly, choose a sustainable caterer! Do they have a recycle or compost system? All organic waste can be composted, so even if you choose a buffet or station menu, if your caterer composts it greatly reduces the amount going to landfill. Third, choose a caterer that supports local businesses and uses seasonal ingredients. Eating seasonally reduces food costs, and by purchasing from local farms and producers, it also reduces the carbon footprint since it doesn’t need to travel as far to get to your plate.
At Indulge Natural & Organic, we use local meat suppliers, produce vendors and even utilise CSA boxes from local farms. At the heart of it, weddings are about bringing people together to celebrate love and community, so what better way to do that than by supporting businesses within it. We hope you keep these tips in mind when planning your big day, even just using one can make a huge difference! Every little bit counts!
We would also like to invite you to join us for “Play With Yr Food,” a pop-up dinner event in support of Kidsability on June 22nd. You can head to our ticket page for more details and ticket purchases.
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