April 21, 2017
Planning a wedding? Check out these wedding trends and tips to make environmentally conscious choices for your wedding day from Kristen Maxwell Cooper, executive editor of XO Group Inc./The Knot. Kristen’s wedding trends and tips are sure to make your wedding a sustainable and beautiful event.
With Pantone naming “Greenery” the official Color of the Year in 2017, it’s easier than ever to incorporate green choices into your wedding day, creating a colorful celebration with the environment in mind. According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, “This fresh hue is symbolic of ‘the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.'” And our team at The Knot expects to see this shade of green, as well as an attitude of reconnection with nature and the environment, incorporated in exciting and creative ways in 2017.
Millions of trees are toppled every year to make paper products, and the process of producing these items pollutes the environment. Now, more options are available for couples to make eco-conscious invite choices.
We do recommend old school snail mail for the wedding invitations, but within wedding trends for save-the-dates, paperless is becoming more and more common.
For invitations, keep an eye out for stationers who offer recycled paper products and vegetable-based inks, like The Windmill Paper Boutique, who even sources printing from windmill-powered printers! Some paper products are even plantable—yes, plantable! Paper from companies like Botanical Paper Works are embedded with seeds, so guests can plant them in their backyards and the paper turns into flowers, plants or herbs instead of ending up in a landfill. Or you can opt for sustainable resources, like cotton items from Crane & Co. or bamboo options by Smock.
Couples can also reduce the inserts in invitations by directing people to their personal wedding websites for any extra details.
Choosing a venue helps set the stage and theme for any event and is usually a couple’s first major wedding planning decision. One of the biggest wedding trends to cut down on energy is to get married outdoors, like on a farm or vineyard, where the sun can provide all the lighting.
Outdoor ceremonies and receptions don’t work for everyone. If a couple wants to be indoors, there are several wedding trends to can make it green. First, hold the ceremony and reception in one place—no one will have to travel to get from one event to the next, which cuts back on fuel emissions. Or choose a venue that gets plenty of sunlight and host a daytime wedding so the lights can stay off. Another way to be green indoors: Look for hotels that recycle and use energy-efficient appliances and biodegradable products. Check out Environmentally Friendly Hotels for reviews and rankings of eco-friendly hotels.
Many couples may not think about it, but not all flowers are organic. Some farms use chemicals to keep insects at bay, which can end up affecting organic matter in soil, and in some cases, causing illness in the workers who handle them. One of the wedding trends we see it to make sure blooms as sustainable as possible, couples should look to companies that are farm-to-table, so to speak—companies that cut the stems and have the flowers to you within a few days, like The Bouqs Co. And less refrigeration time means less electricity use.
Our team recommends couples talk with their florists about in-season and local flowers to insure the freshest, best quality stems at the best price. If a bride has her heart set on a flower that isn’t in season and a seasonal replica won’t do, we recommend looking for flowers that are VeriFlora-certified. This means that the blooms aren’t grown with chemicals or grown under harsh working conditions.
Many beautiful floral arrangements end up in the trash after the reception. To save money and the environment, we recommend couple’s use floral decor from the ceremony at the reception, too. And to bring some added joy to others, consider working with a company that will pick up the arrangements and then reuse them, like Rebloom or Repeat Roses, or contacting local hospitals, shelters and retirement homes to see if they’ll accept the flowers for use in their facilities.
Another eco-friendly choice is to choose potted blooms, plants or topiaries as centerpieces. This way, the couple or their guests can take them home and replant them after the wedding.
Candlelight isn’t only romantic, it’s energy efficient. Look for soy candles — they’re made from a renewable resource, are cleaner and longer burning than regular candles, plus spills are easy to clean (just use soap and hot water). They’re available in nearly every size, shape, color, and scent you can imagine.
Food is the center of any celebration, and going green doesn’t mean sacrificing taste! The farm-to-table movement is in full swing, meaning it’s more accessible than ever to source healthy, earth-friendly food. When budgeting, couples should keep in mind organic foods may cost more. Ask caterers to source from in-season, locally-grown products to help keep costs down and guarantee the freshest finds.
Couples can also work with a neighborhood baker to see if they’re on board to use locally-sourced ingredients—like eggs and dairy products—for the cake.
When bought directly from growers, food needs less time in the fridge and less packaging to stay fresh, so couples are being especially kind to Mother Earth, too. And since the food is coming from a shorter distance, less fuel is needed to transport it.
For an eco-friendly wedding, look for plantable favors like potted saplings, herbs or succulents. If a lot of wedding guests are traveling, keep in mind that they probably won’t want to pack a pot of soil into their suitcase, so consider biodegradable seed packets if you’re committed to the plant route.
For the foodie couple, go edible. Look to local businesses like coffee houses for a bag of their signature beans, candy shops for chocolate bars or jams in reusable glass jars from an orchard.
For a totally different option, go for a charity donation. Display a sign letting guests know you’ve donated to a meaningful cause in lieu of favors, or pick a few favorites and let guests choose their favorite option.
There’s now an eco-friendly option for just about everything a couple might normally think to register for. Pay close attention to where items are made and what materials are sourced. Consider items like organic bedding, cloth shopping bags, reusable bamboo plates and natural kitchen and bath products. If couples would rather forego a traditional registry altogether, consider asking for a charitable donation to go towards a green organization.
There are lots more emerging wedding trends. Check them out at TheKnot.com.
-Kristen Maxwell Cooper
About Kristen Maxwell Cooper Kristen is the Executive Editor, Digital, at The Knot where she’s responsible for setting and overseeing the digital and social strategies for TheKnot.com and TheKnotNews.com. She also represents the brand at industry events sharing her expertise on digital content and social media best practices, as well as on TV programs including TODAY, ABC Nightly News, CNBC and Entertainment Tonight discussing everything from wedding guest etiquette and fashion to industry and financial wedding trends.
The Knot is the nation’s leading wedding resource and marketplace, The Knot engages, matches, and connects couples with the products, services, and local wedding professionals they need to plan and pull off their wedding. The Knot has inspired approximately 25 million couples to plan a wedding that’s uniquely them. The Knot is the flagship brand of XO Group Inc. (NYSE: XOXO), which helps people navigate and enjoy life’s biggest moments—from getting married to moving in together and having a baby. Visit The Knot online at TheKnot.com or on social media: Facebook.com/TheKnot and @TheKnot on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
Photo credits: Photos provided by XO Group.
Invitation photo credit/Birdhaus Co
Outdoor wedding space photo credit/Steve Steinhardt Photography