How to Host a Plastic-Free Wedding

A wood table at a wedding reception with greenery, white plates, and wine glasses.

If you’re looking for ways to decrease the carbon footprint of your big day, one of the best things you can do is make it plastic-free. It’s a simple but impactful action that can make a big difference. In fact, plastic-free weddings might be the new trend. Princess Eugenie of York’s royal nuptials made headlines in 2018 for going plastic-free, and if that is any indication, going green might be the new ‘white’ when it comes to weddings. If you’re looking to host a wedding with as little plastic usage as possible, here’s some tips to help get you started.

Choose Reusable Cups and Straws

Blue glassware at a wedding reception.

Cups and straws are easily disposed the most at weddings. And the larger the wedding, the more trash it will accumulate. A more eco-friendly alternative is providing your guests with reusable cups and straws, like metal or glass. You can make it fun by choosing colors that vibe with your wedding’s palette. You might even personalize the cups and straws to not only make it easier for people to identify their drink, but to take home as wedding favors. Another tip is encouraging guests to reuse their same cup throughout the evening as they make trips to the bartender or have guests fill their own cups at a pre-mixed cocktail station.

Connect with the Right Vendors

Ideally, you want to work with people who share your values and who can create the vision you have for your wedding. It’s important to ask vendors, such as catering, if they have plastic-free alternatives. (You’ll also want to ask your venue if they have recycling and composting bins, too.) If you need some help, “eco-friendly” wedding planners are becoming more common and can be found easily with a Google search.

Make Sure all Accessories Are Plastic-free

A small wedding cake decorated with gold leaf and florals.

If you stop to think about it, almost every accessory at a wedding, from the confetti to the cake topper to the balloons, is made from plastic. So, what to do? First thing’s first: ditch the balloons. They might look pretty and make for a fun photo op, but they wreck havoc on the environment and can kill wildlife if mistaken for food. Instead, decorate your space with greenery, florals, and DIY banners. When it comes to confetti, choose biodegradable alternatives like rose petals or a favorite spice. As for your cake topper, choosing an edible or floral one is easy!

Rent as Much as You Can

One of the easiest ways to reduce your plastic usage is to rent wherever possible. Dinnerware is one way to go since you’re being more sustainable by relying on reusable rentals—or even consider using plates and utensils made from environmentally friendly materials, like bamboo or palm leaves. Refrain from plastic tablecloths and instead choose cloth. Decor is another option that’s best for renting. This way you’re recycling items that can be used over and over again, and aren’t headed for the landfill after a single usage. DIY decor is another sustainable option, especially if you’re using materials that you already have. Basically, you want to skip your acrylic and plastic decorations for timber, bamboo, paper, metal, or glass and rent as much as you can.

Shop for Eco-friendly Wedding Fashion

A bride wearing a vintage long-sleeved wedding dress.

Plastic can be found everywhere, including our clothing! Synthetic fabrics like polyester involve plastic. If you’re keen on being as plastic-free as possible, you might be interested in wearing a sustainable wedding dress made from compostable or organic fabrics. Another option is shopping vintage or renting your wedding and bridesmaids dresses—which is both better for the environment and your wallet.

Hosting a plastic-free wedding can be a little tedious, but it needn’t be difficult. If you’re committed to doing your part to help our Earth, making some small tweaks and replacing plastic with reusable and more sustainable options is pretty easy when you see things on a bigger scale. You’re celebrating your big day, while also celebrating the planet!

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