Ok, who else is freaking STOKED to read these 20 tips for a sustainable wedding?! One of the amazing brides I worked with in 2020 happens to be a clean beauty chemist AND sustainable living guru. Today, she’s spilling all her secrets. Please welcome Aubri Thompson Jones, the founder and creator of Rebrand Skincare to the blog!
First off, I want to say, THIS IS YOUR DAY! You should make it exactly the way you want it to be. Buuuut you clicked on this blog post so I’m guessing you’re like me and want the lowdown on how to throw a sustainable wedding. The planet’s heating up, there’s plastic in the ocean, and the 2020 climate anxiety is real! Anywho, use the tips that help you, and toss the ones that stress you out.
2. Choose an accessible location. Pick a city that most of your guests can access by car or public transit (rather than flying), and encourage carpooling!
3. Send one invitation. Make it a save-the-date/invitation all in one – you have all the information already anyway! Bonus points for using Paper Culture or another recycled stationery provider.
4. RSVP online. On that note, have guests RSVP online rather than mailing back a paper RSVP. Way easier to keep track too.
5. Register responsibly. Opt for cash funds, charitable donations, and ethical brands. And make sure it’s stuff you actually need! We used Zola for cash funds, and chose sustainably-sourced and Fair Trade items from West Elm.
6. Hire a planner with green event experience. They’ll have contacts who understand your goals. Or, if you’re doing it yourself (like me), make sure to state up front that you are trying to reduce the waste and emissions associated with your event when interviewing vendors.
7. Opt for dried flowers or potted plants. The cut flower industry is associated with high emissions and chemical use, as flowers are often shipped internationally. Choose dried flowers (do yourself or order on Etsy), which can be used by guests or for another event. Potted plants are another option! If you do buy flowers, opt for local flower operations.
8. Choose a vegan/vegetarian menu. Or just some menu items. Caterers will often let you pick 2-3 main courses to offer your guests. Why not make one of the options vegan? You’ll cut down on emissions and have a more inclusive menu rather than making guests assert their dietary preferences.
9. Go for a buffet. I didn’t know about this one but my caterer informed me that there is much more food waste associated with family style and plated meals, as guests end up with food they don’t actually eat.
10. Go local! This goes for all vendors. Choose people who know the area and source their talent/ingredients/materials from the area. This is great for supporting small businesses and reducing travel. If they already have sustainable practices in place, that’s even better.
11. Thrift your centerpieces. I found some vases for $1 each at my local thrift shop, and used empty tomato sauce jars for the rest! Yes I’m ridiculous but the table settings were beautiful.
12. Avoid single-use items. Rent glassware and avoid all the plastic cups, plates and utensils during happy hour.
13. Rent what you don’t have. There’s no use buying a bunch of decor you’re only going to use once. If you do buy something, think about how you can reuse it in the future. Otherwise, rent from vendors or borrow from friends.
14. No chotski favors. No one needs a mug with your initials on it, I promise. You’re giving them a night of fun and booze – they’ll be fine without a gift. If you really want to do something, consider something edible like cookies or cake pops to-go.
15. Find your dress secondhand or from a sustainable vendor. I may be one of like three people whose prom dress could double as a wedding dress, but I’m so happy I got to wear it again! Same goes for the ‘maids.
16. Borrow accessories. Chances are you already have a friend with the perfect pair of earrings to go with your dress. You’ve also already worn in your favorite pair of heels. You need ‘something borrowed’ anyway!
17. Try clean hair and makeup. Some vendors will specialize in this, and use clean beauty brands in their process. Just make sure the mascara’s still waterproof!
18. Go for an ethical ring. This could be a vintage ring, one made with recycled metal, or using a synthetic gemstone. My engagement ring is moissanite (synthetic diamond alternative) with recycled white gold from Brilliant Earth, and my band was passed down by parents.
19. Check in on waste disposal. Make sure your venue will provide clearly labelled trash and recycling bins (and even compost if that’s available in your city). Also ask what happens to food leftovers – often they can be donated.
20. No confetti/rice throwing. It’s a huge mess and can even result in a choking hazard for wildlife. Try sparklers or champagne popping (Don’t worry, Erin will have plenty of ideas).
You may have also noticed, almost everything on this list will save you money too! Isn’t it great when that works out. Hopefully these 20 tips for a sustainable wedding give you some ideas about where to start, but at the end of the day, your wedding is a celebration of you and your partner’s commitment to one another. Make that your main focus, and everything else will fall into place!
Aubri Thompson Jones is a clean beauty chemist and sustainable living geek. She lives in Oakland, CA where she’s started her own clean beauty brand, The Rebrand. Visit rebrandskincare.com or follow @rebrandskincare on Instagram for more.
Dang, Aubri totally nailed it with these 20 tips for a sustainable wedding! Aren’t you totally obsessed with Aubri + Matt’s gorgeous microwedding?! Check out more from their special wedding day in Paso Robles!