As we have all learned more about how our everyday lives impact the Earth, a lot of us have started to change our ways to have less of an impact. But large gatherings like weddings can have a huge impact on our environment. Even a simple change can help so much. Here are my top 5 tips on how you can make your wedding more eco-friendly.
Avoid Single-Use Paper and Plastic Items, Rent or Use Biodegradable
Paper plates and napkins are very common for more DIY weddings because of their cost and ease of use. But renting dishes can still be affordable and removes a lot of extra waste. If your caterer is providing paper or plastic, ask them for biodegradable ones. Skip the cocktail and dessert napkins, they’re extra and not really needed. Or again, cloth or biodegradable ones.
Donate your Wedding Flowers
Flowers left at the end of the evening make up a considerable amount of trash and they could easily be recycled. In Cleveland, there is a fantastic company called Big Hearted Blooms that does just that. They will take your flowers and then repurpose them into arrangements for those in care facilities in need of a lift. Let your wedding flowers live longer and bring happiness to others.
Pick Alternative Wedding Invitations
Engagement Announcements, Save-the-Dates, Pre-Wedding Party Invitations, Wedding Invitations, RSVP Cards, Thank You Cards…..all adds up to a lot of waste. But you don’t have to go digital if you don’t want to. Just make sure to shop with eco-conscious brands or ones that use recyclable materials. Another option is plantable paper. Not only is it gorgeous as an invitation, but your guests can plant it and have beautiful flowers after. Lastly, if you’re not worried about a paper invitation you can create beautiful PDF invitations to be emailed to your guests.
Choose Caterers that Support Local Farmers & Businesses
It’s important to eat locally all of the time as that helps reduce the carbon footprint of shipping food across the states. It also helps support your local economy and small businesses. Spice Catering Co is a local catering company that not only supports other local businesses but has their own farm where they get food and inspiration from for their dishes. Also if you can find a caterer that composts their waste (or is willing to bag it for you to add to your compost) that has an even bigger impact on your wedding waste.
Skip the Favors, Offer Food Items or Make A Donation
At the end of your wedding day, when everything is being cleaned up, all of the favors that were left behind end up in the trash or boxed up for you to take back home. And it happens A LOT. I always recommend for couples to just skip the favor. If you still would like to give your guest something I highly recommend something food-based. People will eat it while they’re at their seats before dinner and it won’t go to waste. If that’s not your thing then make a donation in your guest’s honor to an organization you wish to support and make sure that your guests know. A simple sign for them to read or if you are doing a thank you speech, make sure to mention it.
Just think if you changed nothing, how much garbage and waste would end up in the landfill? Weddings create a lot and the bigger your guest list the more waste created. There are other options and ideas I haven’t even listed here. Take a few moments and think about where you feel the biggest impact can be made on your wedding day, and come up with some ideas on how to change that. Need more ideas? Reach out to me and set up a complimentary consultation and we can come up with ideas together.
Choosing a bridesmaid dress for the females in your wedding party is no easy task, but it can be one of the most fun parts of the wedding planning process. Inviting the special women in your life to be your bridesmaids; your sisters, your lifelong friends, your cousins, and special family friends; is a way to seal important friendships during this very special time in your life.
Tips on Choosing the Right Bridesmaid Dresses
Naturally, it’s the couple who will be the focus of attention on the wedding day, but it’s important for the bridesmaids to look gorgeous too. Choose something simple and not overdecorated or detailed, but which will make your bridesmaids look elegant and sophisticated.
It’s important to choose a dress style which will flatter everyone’s figure. This is never an easy task, but empire waists and A-line or princess skirts will tend to suit most shapes and sizes. A very nice alternative, and one I recommend, is to choose the fabrics and colors and allow each individual bridesmaid to choose her own dress style. Separates are definitely an option too. Mixing and matching separate tops and skirts makes it easier to find a style that suits each individual bridesmaid.
Always keep a budget in mind for your bridesmaid’s gowns. Some times you can find sales or dresses even cheaper if you go to the right store. If you have your heart set on a more expensive gown, or one of your bridesmaids is financially unable to purchase the gown, you might consider helping out or give another dress option. Having someone be a part of your big day is more important.
Classic Looks for Bridesmaids
Any kind of formal gown, semi-formal, or evening dress can be chosen as a bridesmaids gown, so you have literally thousands of options. Satin, organza, chiffon, georgette, tulle, lace, brocades, and crepe are all classic fabrics for bridesmaid dresses.
You should think about the time of year you plan to hold the wedding, and how this will affect your gown choices. Choose lighter fabrics for summer, and a sleeveless or even a strapless dress style. If your wedding is planned for a cooler time in the year, long skirts and sleeves are best, or include a shawl or wrap as a gift.
Though a lot of people tend to choose their colors according to the time or season of the year, it’s not really necessary. If you want a color that isn’t typically seen in the winter, do it anyways. My only recommendation is to make sure they match your floral choices so your gowns will tone in nicely with the bouquets. Discussing your color ideas with your florist will make the job of choosing colors much easier. In the end, black never goes out of style.
Accessories for Bridesmaids
The simplest look will tend to work best, so accessories should best be kept to a minimum. Often a simple pair of earrings or necklaces are all the jewelry you’ll need. If you want to give a gift and keep things uniform, you can also gift jewelry to your bridesmaids to be worn on your wedding day.
Keep comfort as well as style in mind when you choose shoes for your bridesmaids. Very high heels may be uncomfortable to stand in for any period of time. I once wore 3.5″ heels and personally was in pain because I don’t wear heels regularly. So keep that in mind as well as the fact that the bridesmaids will most likely be wearing the shoes for the wedding ceremony and the reception. Choose shoes which will be comfortable to wear all day, then dance away the night.
I know you’ve been looking forward to your wedding day for some time now. Planning has taken you months, if not years. From your venue to your first pick photographer to the DJ that will keep the dance floor hopping. The perfect stationery and the flowers to match. The hairstyles, the outfits, and even the favors. Everything has been meticulously picked and put together to reflect your vision.
As the day gets closer you start to get back your RSVPs and you get a little more excited with each one. You slowly start to see everything coming together and everyone there that you love celebrating you two. Then one day it’s all gone.
My Heart Goes Out To You
This pandemic has come at the worst possible time for weddings in Ohio. It impacts so many and you are one of the hundreds if not thousands of couples who will be affected by this. Whether you have already made the choice to postpone or are patiently waiting to hear if your wedding day will move forward. My heart goes out to you.
I know you are probably working through so many emotions right now. Anger, frustration, disappointment, and sadness. You are crushed and at the same time feel guilty. Your wedding day is the most important day for you right now, but people are losing their jobs and even their lives. Don’t get me wrong, yes it can seem trivial in the grand scheme of things, but you are valid in your feelings too.
I can also tell you that it’s going to be OK. Your perfect person will still be there with you at the end of this. Your big day will still happen. It may not be on the date you picked, but it will still be on a perfect day. Your family will have even more reason to celebrate with you. You will come out of this stronger and even more ready to get married.
I know it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel and that things seem really hard and heavy right now. I know that you’re heart may be breaking, but take a step back and breathe. Look over at your perfect person as you read this and remember the real reason you are doing this. To marry them. Although it may not be exactly as you have envisioned, it will still happen and it will be just as perfect.
Diana is a Cleveland Wedding Planner serving all of Northeast Ohio.