15 Ways to Have a Greener Wedding

February is National Wedding Month, and as a soon-to-be-bride, wedding planning is definitely on my mind this winter! As one of the most important days of your life, your wedding is the perfect place to show that you’re serious about environmentalism, and hopefully to inspire some of your guests to live a little greener, too. Let’s take a look at 15 great ways to throw an environmentally friendly (and cost-effective) wedding.

The Dress

When it comes to wedding dresses, there are ton of great options that will be easy on your wallet and the environment.

1. Nearly all grooms rent tuxes, but did you know that it’s also possible to rent wedding dresses? Renting your dress will save you some of the stress of shopping and give you the comfort of knowing that all the materials and labor that went into the dress will benefit multiple brides.

2. Hit the thrift stores. Vintage dresses are in, and the best place to find them is your local thrift store, where you can score a classic dress for less than $100.

3. Recycle a dress. Does your mother or sister still have her wedding dress? Do you have a white dress that could be remade to look bridal? Even if the dresses you have around don’t exactly match your vision for your wedding dress, the magic of alterations can turn practically any garment into one you’d be proud to wear down the aisle.

The Ring

4. The mining of gold and other precious metals is destructive to the environment, so consider using recycled gold for your wedding ring. You can even take a piece of outdated gold jewelry that you already own and have it melted down and re-shaped into a ring for an even more personal touch.

5. Consider buying wooden rings. The art of crafting beautiful, durable wooden rings is becoming more popular, and the rings use such small amounts of wood that a craftsman could make hundreds of rings out of one tree. You can choose which type of wood you would like to have, request inlays and engravings, and even have precious stones embedded in the wooden bands.

6. Get a tattoo instead. This option isn’t for everyone, but if you tend to lose things, dislike wearing jewelry, or work in a profession where wearing a ring could be hazardous, a wedding ring replacement tattoo may be perfect for you.

The Invitations

7. Use recycled paper for your invitations — either post consumer recycled paper, or paper that you already have lying around; perhaps double-folded newspaper with a piece of recycled cardstock glued inside, or postcards that you have never used.

8. Go paperless. E-invites are more popular, and personalized, than ever. And you won’t have to worry about them getting lost in the mail!

The Ceremony

9. Consider forgoing traditional programs. Most people toss them in the trash as soon as they get home. If you will be singing hymns or reciting scripture during your ceremony, try to stick to what’s available in the hymnal at the church and use that instead.

10. Think carefully about your flower choices. Greenhouses use a lot of resources to provide us with fresh, colorful flowers all year round. Try to cut down on the amount of flowers you’ll use, and think about what is in season and what can be grown locally instead of shipped in.

The Reception

11. Keep the travel to a minimum. Choose a venue that is local to most of your friends and family to cut down on transportation. Choosing a venue where you can hold the ceremony and the reception is even better, so that people don’t have to travel in between and can enjoy your wedding from start to finish in the same place.

12. Choose a venue dedicated to going green. There are more and more event venues that are eco-friendly — and they advertise those choices to attract brides just like you. Being conscious of where you hold your venue can ensure that your reception won’t be over-catered and that no plastic plates or tableware will be used.

13. Consider a low-meat or meat-free menu. Meat is not essential to a tasty and satisfying meal. Work with the your caterer to brainstorm a delicious, environmentally-friendly menu. Focusing on local and seasonal ingredients is also a plus!

The Honeymoon

14. Keep it close to home. Staying local cuts down on travel costs (budgetary and environmental).

15. Consider eco-tourism. Would you enjoy spending your honeymoon learning about other cultures and providing service to people in other countries? Eco-tourism in South America and Africa is widely available for those ready for a post-wedding adventure.

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Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

some pretty cool suggestions

Amanda M.
Amanda M5 years ago

When my husband and I got married, my mom made my wedding dress (she had a cow about how they are made of polyester and insisted that it HAD to be silk!) and my husband wore his dress uniform (volunteer firefighter). We had an outdoor wedding-we chartered a local tour railroad, and the ceremony itself was at a community park right alongside the tracks. The train stopped there, we had the wedding ceremony, then everybody got back on the train and completed the ride with the wedding party moving up and down the train to greet everybody (a reverse receiving line of sorts). The reception was held at the local AMVETS lodge where my husband and his family were members, my parents made the food, and the flowers at the reception came from our own yard. Our wedding rings are simple 10K rings courtesy of Wal-Mart, and everybody blew bubbles instead of throwing rice. The ceremony was Wiccan with some Native American traditions included, and that combined with the train ride and the wedding date being Beltane (one of our religious holidays) made it unforgettable!

This May we'll be married for 14 years, and we're even more in love than ever.

Arild Warud


Hanine M.
Hanine El Mir5 years ago

Most, if not all, of these ways are impossible in Lebanon.

Ron B.
Ron B5 years ago

I wonder why June isn't National Wedding Month?..

Marianne C.
Marianne C5 years ago

It'll be 20 years this March, and we still really, really like each other. We snuggle under the covers, we blow kisses through the phone, we laugh, we share everything, and we think we are the luckiest people in the world.

And let me tell you: that's worth a heckuva lot more than a big, expensive carbon footprint of a wedding.

Marianne C.
Marianne C5 years ago


I've mentioned this before, but my engagement ring is NOT a diamond. It's a zircon -- very useful stones, almost as hard as diamond, and double refractive. They come in so many colors, you can pretty much pick your favorite. Mine is canary yellow.

We each have a plain gold wedding band. They started out polished, but 20 years of constant wear has given each of them a rather Florentine finish.

Our entire wedding cost about $1,000, including my hubs' new suit.

It isn't how much you spend on a wedding, or how much destruction the party wreaks, that makes a marriage work out. It's compatibility, compassion, tenderness, mutual respect, and genuinely loving & caring about each other and wanting to be together.

I often think that too many people care more about the WEDDING than they do about the marriage that comes after it. Which does not seem to bode well for the marriage, to tell you the truth.

Marianne C.
Marianne C5 years ago

I would also suggest not expecting your parents to mortgage their home to pay for your reception. Or counting on "cash gifts" to finance your wedding night hotel.

The hubs and I got married on the cheap and green. My wedding gown was a white Victorian style ball gown that came from a thrift store. It cost $4, but the huge hoops I wore under it cost $6. I made my own veil and headpiece. I made my own bouquet and the bouquets the bride's maids carried. I also sewed up calico skirts for my bride's maids, and made a matching skirt for my toddler niece from the remnants; she wore it to the wedding.

My husband got a new suit, shirt, and tie -- because, frankly, he really needed it after several years of being a single dad.

My sisters-in-law took photos, and made albums for us as wedding gifts, my former roommate sang while her husband quietly taped the event, and my sister-in-law's mother baked our cakes.

Our reception was in the fellowship hall of the church. We had cake, mints & nuts, coffee, and punch made of fruit juice and ginger ale. I made an ice ring with silk flowers in it, and used my mother's punch bowl. There was no band, but anyone who wanted to was welcome to rock out a tune on the piano.

Our honeymoon was one night in a Holiday Inn. Two days later, we were loading a moving van to move to another state, where we actually had enough money for a decent down payment on a house because we hadn't blown our bankroll on a wedding.

It'll be 20 years

Tish Levee
Tish Levee5 years ago

When my son got married, they opted for silk flowers for decorations and bouquets for bride and her attendants. For the mothers they choose lovely bronze and pewter pins that we could wear as a corsage and then have forever. Very nice. Oh yes, my son rented his "tux," which was actually a kilt.

Tisa L.
Tisa L.5 years ago

did all this excerpt went to Iceland for honeymoon. total cost, 10k