Our best tips on throwing an eco-friendly celebration that protects the planet

When planning your big day, there’s a heck of a lot to consider. From deciding on trendy color schemes to crafting a wedding menu that will wow your guests, you probably have a to-do list longer than Kate Middleton’s bridal train

Yet in the middle of all that planning, it’s also a good idea to think about the impact your celebration will have on the environment. Sustainable weddings are not only fashionable but also crucial for reducing waste and keeping our planet happy. That’s why we’re sharing seven of Il Tulipano’s best tips to help you plan a beautiful and eco-friendly wedding that reflects your values—and minimizes your carbon footprint.

1. Choose a venue that supports sustainable weddings

Rustic wedding envelopes

Selecting a sustainable wedding venue sets the foundation for an eco-friendly celebration. When scouting for the perfect location, prioritize venues that demonstrate a commitment to the environment.

Alternatively, consider hosting your wedding in a garden that showcases the beauty of nature. This creates an enchanting atmosphere for swapping your vows while also minimizing the need for excessive decor and lighting. Plus, hosting your wedding outdoors allows you to take advantage of natural light and ventilation, reducing energy consumption even more. By making the most of a natural setting, you can significantly decrease your wedding’s environmental impact while enjoying the beauty of the great outdoors.

When choosing your wedding venue, also inquire about their sustainability practices and initiatives. Ask about their waste management strategies, recycling programs, and efforts to conserve water and energy. By choosing a venue that aligns with your values and commitment to sustainability, you can feel good about hosting a wedding that leaves a positive impact on the planet. (Needless to say, Il Tulipano in Cedar Grove prides itself on hosting stunning, eco-friendly garden weddings).

2. Send sustainable invitations

You’ve got two choices when it comes to eco-friendly wedding invitations: recycled and digital.

So you could search for specialist print companies who will create beautiful invitations on recycled paper. Or alternatively, you could get crafty and make your own personalized, rustic invites (cottage core, here you come). Either way, recycled wedding invitations set the stage for your sustainable celebration. 

Or you could opt for digital wedding invitations. Embracing non-paper invites saves trees and also offers convenience, flexibility, and endless creative possibilities. Going digital doesn’t have to feel impersonal—for instance, you could send out video invitations that feel genuine and intimate. Alternatively, you could source email invite designs that reflect your unique personality and style. 

Digital invitations eliminate the need for paper production, printing, and transportation, significantly reducing their environmental impact. They also do away with the carbon emissions generated by postal delivery services.

When selecting digital invitation services, explore the many online platforms that offer customizable designs, themes, and features to suit your wedding style and preferences. From elegant and minimalist designs to intricate and whimsical motifs, you’ll find a wide range of options to match your vision and aesthetic.

Many online invitation services provide tools for personalization, allowing you to customize text, fonts, colors, and graphics to reflect your unique personality and wedding theme. Whether you’re planning a formal black-tie affair or a casual outdoor celebration, digital invitations offer flexibility and versatility to tailor your invitations to suit the occasion.

Best of all, digital invitations often include really useful interactive features such as RSVP tracking, guest messaging, and event updates, streamlining the planning process and enhancing communication with your guests. With just a few clicks, you can effortlessly manage your guest list, track responses, and send event reminders, saving time and resources in the process.

Another advantage of digital invitations is their ability to incorporate multimedia elements such as videos, animations, and music, adding a personalized touch and enhancing the overall presentation. Whether you include a heartfelt video message or a playful animated GIF, digital invitations offer endless creative opportunities to make your invitations memorable and engaging.

3. Rent or borrow your wedding attire

Got your heart set on buying a dress that you can treasure forever? We totally get that, and you should follow your heart on this—but you also have other options. When it comes to wedding attire, consider sustainable options like renting or borrowing. This saves money and also significantly reduces the environmental impact associated with new clothing production.

Renting wedding gowns and tuxedos has become increasingly popular in recent years, offering couples access to a wide selection of designer dresses, suits, and accessories at a fraction of the cost of purchasing new. Many bridal shops now offer rental services, allowing you to find the perfect ensemble for your wedding day without breaking the bank. So, if you’re dreaming of floating down the aisle in a celebrity-style designer wedding dress but think you can’t afford it, think again. After all, why shell out on a gown that you’ll only wear once?

Also, when renting or borrowing wedding attire, prioritize garments made from sustainable materials and produced under fair labor conditions. Look for rental companies and boutiques that prioritize ethical sourcing, eco-friendly practices, and transparency in their supply chain.

4. Choose local and seasonal flowers

Selecting local and seasonal flowers for your wedding bouquet and decorations is a thoughtful and eco-conscious choice that supports sustainability efforts (while also boosting the natural beauty of your celebration). 

Choosing local flowers means selecting varieties that are grown within a close radius of your wedding venue, typically within a 100-mile radius or less. By opting for blooms that are grown in New Jersey and are also in season, you can reduce the environmental impact associated with long-distance transport while also supporting local flower growers in your community.

As well as reducing carbon emissions, choosing local flowers also supports small-scale flower farms and local businesses in your area. By buying flowers from local growers, you contribute to the local economy and help protect the livelihoods of farmers and producers. Supporting small-scale flower farms also promotes biodiversity and preserves farmland, contributing to the overall health and resilience of local ecosystems.

Plus, selecting seasonal flowers ensures that your floral arrangements are in harmony with nature and reflect the natural beauty of the time of year. Seasonal flowers are typically more abundant and vibrant during their peak growing season, offering a wider variety of colors, textures, and fragrances to choose from (win!). By embracing seasonal blooms, you can create stunning floral arrangements that capture the essence of the season.

5. Embrace sustainable wedding decor

When it comes to decorating your wedding venue, there are countless eco-friendly options that can add style and charm to your celebration while minimizing environmental impact. By embracing eco-friendly decor, you can create a beautiful and sustainable atmosphere that reflects your values and commitment to the planet.

One eco-friendly decor option is to incorporate recycled paper decorations into your wedding design. From paper lanterns and bunting to paper flowers and garlands, there are endless possibilities for creating stunning decor using recycled paper materials. This kind of decoration can also add a whimsical and artistic touch to your wedding.

Another eco-conscious decor choice is to incorporate potted plants into your wedding decor. Potted plants not only serve as beautiful decorations but also provide natural air purification and oxygenation, enhancing the overall indoor air quality of your wedding venue. Consider using potted plants as table centerpieces, aisle markers, or even as wedding favors for guests to take home.

Reusable signage is another eco-friendly option that can add a personal touch. Instead of using disposable paper signage, consider investing in reusable chalkboards, wooden signs, or acrylic boards. Best of all, these can be kept as keepsakes after your wedding day. 

If you’d like to create a rustic and boho theme, you could also find cute decor items from thrift stores or borrow them from friends and family. Thrift stores are treasure troves of unique and affordable decor that can add character and personality to your wedding. From vintage vases and candle holders to antique picture frames and table linens, you’re sure to find one-of-a-kind treasures that complement your wedding theme and style. And if your wedding decor includes items that hold special meaning to your loved ones, it adds extra meaning to your celebration.

6. Serve a satisfyingly sustainable menu

One of the best ways to promote sustainability at your wedding is through your choice of food and drink. For instance, look for vendors that prioritize locally sourced ingredients. Local produce is fresher, tastier, and has a lower carbon footprint since it doesn’t require long-distance transportation. By supporting local farmers and producers, you’re contributing to the local economy and also reducing the environmental impact of your wedding.

Also, consider including vegetarian or vegan options in your wedding menu to further reduce your carbon footprint and promote sustainability. Plant-based dishes require fewer resources to produce compared to meat-based options and have a lower environmental impact overall. Plus, offering vegetarian or vegan options allows you to accommodate guests with dietary restrictions and preferences while promoting eco-friendly eating habits.

When planning your wedding bar, opt for organic wines and craft beers made from sustainably sourced ingredients. Organic wines are produced without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, resulting in healthier vineyards and a lower environmental impact. Craft beers, especially those brewed locally, often use locally sourced ingredients and support small-scale breweries that prioritize sustainability and quality.

As well as serving sustainable food and drinks, consider reducing food waste by carefully planning your menu and portion sizes. Work with your venue catering team to estimate the number of guests accurately and avoid over-ordering food that may go to waste. If you have leftover food at the end of the night, consider donating it to a local food bank or shelter to help those in need.

7. Treat your guests to eco-friendly wedding favors

When it comes to expressing gratitude to your guests, opt for sustainable wedding favors that show your respect for Mother Earth. 

Instead of traditional favors that may end up unused or discarded, consider giving gifts that can be enjoyed and appreciated long after the celebration ends. One terrific eco-friendly favor option is seed packets, which means guests can grow their own flowers, herbs, or vegetables at home (and have a lasting memento of your big day as a result). 

Also, consider supporting local artisans and small businesses by choosing locally-made products. From handcrafted soaps and candles to locally sourced honey and jams, there are countless unique and sustainable gifts out there. Your wedding is a chance to showcase the craftsmanship of New Jersey artisans while supporting the local economy (and reducing the carbon emissions of long-distance shipping).

When selecting eco-friendly favors, also aim to prioritize products that are ethically sourced, sustainably produced, and free from harmful chemicals or additives. Ideally, choose suppliers that align with your values and prioritize sustainability, transparency, and fair labor practices.

Protect the planet while celebrating your love

Planning a sustainable wedding is both achievable and rewarding. From environmentally-conscious menus, to eco-friendly invites, to seasonal flowers, you can create a celebration that honors both your relationship and the beauty of Mother Earth.

Ready for your sustainable wedding in New Jersey?
Il Tulipano in Cedar Grove is perfect for an eco-friendly celebration surrounded by our Italian gardens and piazza. Our venue has just had a makeover and has been praised by New Jersey Bride, The Knot, and Wedding Wire. The Il Tulipano team will treat you like family, so get in touch with us today, and let’s plan your dream wedding.

Want more wedding tips? Head over to our blog.