You’ve dreamed about it for years. From the list of names you’ve kept in your phone for your wedding party, the flowers in your bouquet, to how many layers your cake will have. You’ve kept track of every detail for your wedding day to make it spectacular.
For a celebration of love this important, you don’t want good enough. You want above and beyond.
You want it to be a day where you can feel the love the moment you step into the venue. Not just the love between you and your partner, but the love from your family and friends. And the love for the world around you.
But there’s one problem. The environment is a priority for you, and you’ve realized that some of the details you’ve dreamed about aren’t entirely eco-friendly.
These traditions we celebrate are special, but can also be wasteful. You’ve attended many beautiful weddings before and never failed to notice how much gets thrown out at the end. Invitations, cups, plates, centerpieces…the list goes on and on. You’re determined to not let that happen at your own. So, how do you make your wedding as sustainable as possible and not sacrifice your dream?
From the jewelry you’ll wear (our specialty!) to offsetting your carbon footprint, our guide helps you plan the eco-friendly wedding of your dreams without compromising on anything.
Ethical engagement rings and wedding bands are a big step toward having a sustainable wedding. Your rings, and any other jewelry you wear, are great opportunities to pick ethical diamond options and protect the planet.
Mined diamonds destroy habitats and fuel conflicts. Many brands that provide lab-grown diamonds still rely on fossil fuels for their production process. Aether diamonds, however, are the world’s first and only carbon-negative diamonds that are also certified vegan.
We develop our diamonds by taking CO2 out of the air, processing it into raw materials, and using powerful reactors that create the perfect environment for growing a diamond. We only use renewable energy in this process. The result? Beautiful, ethical diamonds that have a positive environmental impact.
And it doesn’t end with ethical diamonds. The metals used in your jewelry are just as important a choice as your diamonds. While labels like “recycled gold” or “recycled silver” sound good, they may be misleading. There aren’t any industry-wide standards as to what recycled metals are or where they originally come from. While some jewelry might use recycled metal, it doesn’t have a positive impact if it was initially mined through unfair and unsafe work practices.
We’re committed to using Fairmined gold in all of our pieces. Stringent requirements must be met for gold to meet the Fairmined Standard. The gold is sourced from small-scale mines and artisanal miners that follow safe practices, are conflict-free, and have a low environmental impact.
Ensure your jewelry has ethical diamonds and responsibly-sourced metals as a first step to building your eco-friendly wedding. Explore aether diamonds to jumpstart the process.
Sustainable Wedding Dresses
Fast fashion is a significant contributor to waste – especially for dresses you wear once. Your wedding dress and your bridal party’s dresses are a perfect opportunity to choose sustainable, slow fashion that won’t affect the environment.
Look into eco-friendly fashion brands, like Grace Loves Lace. They sustainably source their fabrics and have ethical manufacturing processes. Their gowns are made to order so that nothing sits on a shelf and goes to waste.
You can also look into second-hand wedding dresses. This option helps give life to another dress that otherwise wouldn’t have one and prevents wasted resources when creating something from scratch. Browse shops that carry pre-worn gowns or go vintage and recycle a family member’s dress as your own.
You can do the same for your bridesmaids’ dresses – focus on dress styles that your bridesmaids can wear to other events so they’ll get more than a single use out of the dress before it gets tossed.
Green Wedding Venues
One of the most complex decisions may be selecting the venue for your wedding, especially if you want to keep things eco-friendly. If you and your guests have to travel far to the venue, the carbon footprint everyone leaves behind is more significant than if it’s closer.
You can reduce your carbon footprint by having a shuttle between the hotel and the venue, so people don’t have to take individual cars. You can also pick a venue that has lodging connected to it so your guests can walk to the ceremony.
Opt for outdoor venues or skip the traditional venues for something closer to nature, like an organic farm or conservation center. The backdrops of these areas are exquisite for an eco-friendly wedding, so you can save on decorating. Embracing the outdoors for your wedding venue will serve as a reminder of what you’re saving by making these sustainable choices.
Sustainable Wedding Invitations
It may seem like a small detail, but making your wedding invitations sustainable is essential. The special paper used to print out the invitations isn’t usually pre-recycled. Plus the ink used in them can harm the environment, especially when they ultimately end up in a landfill. Send out your invitations digitally for a sustainable wedding, so there’s no paper waste, or use seed paper, like Botanical Paper Works.
The seed paper is made entirely of post-consumer recycled paper and is embedded with seeds. It’s biodegradable and eco-friendly. Your guests can plant the wedding invitation themselves. It’ll grow into flowers, herbs, or vegetables – a beautiful reminder of your wedding and one that doesn’t contribute to the hundreds of pounds of waste that weddings usually create.
Eco-Friendly Wedding Registry
Putting together your wedding registry is a chance for you to get the things you really need and include your guests on your eco-friendly journey. Be sure you’re selecting sustainable items from stores that give back to the planet, like donating a portion of the profits to environmental organizations.
You can also ask your guests to donate to organizations and create a charity registry instead of a traditional one. There are a plethora of nonprofits out there that support conservation, animal rights, the fight against climate change, and more. Pick the one that you’re most passionate about and make a difference on your wedding day.
Reusable Wedding Decor
Decorations can be a waste. Literally. Just like wedding and bridesmaids’ dresses, they’re often bought, used once, and thrown away. To reduce waste, reuse items you already have, choose biodegradable decor, or buy things that you’ll want to keep forever.
For sustainable wedding decor, try to:
- Use the strings of fairy lights you already have in your home.
- Emphasize locally-sourced, sustainable flower arrangements.
- Invest in decorations that you’ll put up at home permanently.
- Buy or borrow secondhand decorations, like vases, which you can then pass onto the next couple getting married.
- Use seed paper for place cards.
- Opt for biodegradable, dried petal confetti.
Be purposeful in your choices of decor. Make everything uniquely you with an eco-friendly spin on it. The result will be a waste-free, sustainable wedding to remember.
Reduce Your Meal Waste
When putting together a sustainable menu, think beyond the food options. Some things to consider…
- What utensils and plates you’ll use
- Where you’re going to source the food from
- What you’re going to do with the leftover food
- What recycling options will be available to your guests
Avoid plastic plates and utensils if you can. There are options for biodegradable silverware and plates if you need an option that can’t be washed and reused. Otherwise, look into renting sets of silverware and glassware to avoid single-use plastic utensils, plates, and cups. Look into providing stainless steel or paper straws for guests for an eco-friendly alternative to plastic straws.
Source your food locally or from sustainable farms to lessen the environmental impact. You can build a menu with more vegetarian or vegan options for a more sustainable meal. When the meal is finished, send extra food home with your guests or donate the leftovers to a shelter or food bank.
Sustainable Wedding Favors
It’s important to thank your guests, but too often guests are left with things they’ll never use. Choose items that your guests will appreciate and use. Green gifts, like succulents, are easy for your guests to take home and won’t be tossed out. Edible gifts are another option, as guests will be less likely to waste those, too, after a long evening of dancing.
Avoid rice, traditional confetti, balloons, and floating lanterns when it comes to your exit down the aisle. These will throw a wrench into your effort to make your wedding eco-friendly. They’re wasteful and can easily get into the local ecosystem and cause harm. Have your guests throw flowers or herbs instead of rice or confetti. They’re biodegradable and won’t hurt the environment.
Aether’s Wedding Offset Program
The average wedding in the U.S. comes with a carbon footprint of 63 metric tonnes of CO2. That’s the equivalent of the average person’s footprint in four years. We’ll offset your wedding’s carbon footprint through our Wedding Offset Program.
To do this, we partner with Pachama. They focus on forest restoration, ecosystem preservation, and offer a carbon marketplace to offset carbon emissions. Pachama vets forest projects to ensure they reduce carbon, restore wildlife, and support local communities. They also make sure that each project either protects old-growth trees or grows new ones. We support their rainforest preservation projects to offset your wedding.
Along with your Aether diamonds jewelry purchase (which reduces 1.25 years of one’s carbon footprint for each carat of diamond we sell), offsetting your wedding with us goes beyond your ceremony. It offsets your carbon footprint for your first years together as a couple. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know when our program launches again.
Your Dream Sustainable Wedding is Possible
Having a sustainable wedding and everything you’ve dreamed of aren’t mutually exclusive. Making eco-friendly choices, from ethical diamonds to floral arrangements for decor, allows you to uphold your values while creating the wedding of your dreams. Get started on creating your beautiful sustainable wedding with us today.