The wedding industry is still rich in extravagance, but a growing contingent of brides and grooms is pushing for more sustainable change, ranging from how they invite guests to the food they serve and the clothes they wear.
The Knot wedding resource estimates that more than two-thirds of the site’s approximately 15,000 users have made or planned to incorporate eco-friendly decor, including second-hand decor, minimizing food waste and avoiding disposable products. Almost every 3rd said suppliers need to be more active in leaders.
After two chaotic years for the bridal industry, searches on Pinterest for thrifty weddings have tripled, and they have doubled for reusing wedding dress ideas, according to the 2022 Wedding Trends Report. Online resale giant Poshmark has said that demand for second-hand wedding dresses is at the highest level, especially for those that cost $ 500 or more.
Lauren Kay, executive editor of The Knot, said more and more places, catering and other vendors are paying attention.
“Many suppliers are really exploring ways to be more resilient in an effort to meet demand,” she said. “We see much more interest and recognition in sustainability.”
For example, Something Borrowed Blooms offers silk flowers rather than fresh cut flowers that are often moved long distances and decorated using non-recyclable foam. Nova by Enaura rents a veil. VerTerra sells bowls and compost plates made from fallen palm leaves, while Pollyn, a plant store in Brooklyn, uses biodegradable baby pots as more and more couples turn to plants instead of cut flowers.
When paper goods are mandatory, Paper Culture makes invitations, saves dates and admission cards using 100% recycled paper after the consumer. The company compensates for the carbon footprint in production and transportation through loans that return resources to the planet, and plants a tree with each order.
For 28-year-old Anna Masiela, what’s right for her May 28 wedding is a continuation of the more climate-friendly lifestyle she adopted a few years ago after moving from her native Italy to Portugal to earn a master’s degree in environmental sustainability .
“I really started to learn about climate change and its real consequences. We hear so much about it, but sometimes it is so strong that we decide not to learn more and not to understand, ”she said. “I just said, okay, it’s time to act.”
She went to social media using the hero_to_0 pen, citing zero waste, and gathered over 70,000 subscribers on TikTok and nearly 40,000 on Instagram for her regular updates about her life and wedding planning.
Naturally dyed Masiello lavender wedding dress with a long skirt and matching top is made of linen (a material that factories or shops could not use or sell). The pants and shirt that her groom will wear are used. The rings they exchanged belonged to their two grandparents.
Her fiancé carved her wedding ring out of wood, planted by her parents when she was born. Her videos about it have been viewed more than 12 million times.
50 guests of the couple at the ceremony in the open air in the uncle’s yard will throw confetti, knocked out of fallen leaves, and in the decor will be wood, used glass jars and plants from the garden. Instead of paper goods, they switched to digital format. And no services will be distributed. To get rid of carbon damage in the travels of some guests, the couple plans to plant trees.
Not all of Masiel’s reviews on social media were positive. Some scoffed at her efforts. But she accepted the conversation.
“When I started sharing and saw that it affects so many people as well as a very negative reaction, I thought: well, it really evokes emotions in people. I need to talk more about it, and I’m very happy to be doing it, ”she said.
In Los Angeles, 31-year-old Lena Kazer thought about it at a wedding on May 21 in her backyard with 38 guests.
“We’re both a little disgusted by the extravagance of the wedding industry,” she said. “We have agreed to use the resources we have and avoid buying what we will not continue to use.”
They use compost or recycled utensils, cups and plates. They prepare cocktails to reduce waste, and use their own seating furniture. Kazer’s bouquet will be made of real flowers, but she has kept buying flowers to a minimum.
“We buy almost all the jewelry in chain stores, and I’m wearing a wedding dress of my sister and my mother’s veil,” she said. “We told everyone they could wear whatever they wanted when they heard that people spend thousands of dollars on new wedding dresses.”
Other ideas for green weddings include using seed paper that recipients can plant, and serving organic seasonal food from the farm to a table with donated leftovers.
Kat Warner, whose performers T. Warner Artists provide for a wedding on the East Coast, offers a variety of options: from solar lighting to full solar receptions. She also uses carbon offsets by donating to funds that support things like reforestation and bird conservation.
Warner said couples are asking more questions, including “what different parts of their weddings can be recycled, composted or reused.”
Greater Good Events, which calls itself “event planners for those who don’t care,” takes a holistic approach in Portland, Oregon, and the New York State region of three. Waste at weddings is not always sensitive, said Maryam Mudryk, who bought the company from Justin Broal in September.
“If you work with vendors with poor work practices who don’t reinvest in the community, you’re also creating some additional waste in that regard,” Wise said.
One of their catering partners, Pinch Food Design, has a zero-waste guarantee, which includes developing a menu to limit food waste, donating used oil to biodiesel and supporting sustainable and renewable agriculture.
Florist Ingrid Karatti of Tin Can Studios in Brooklyn cites other issues with flower arrangements other than the use of non-biodegradable foam, such as bleaching and chemical dyeing of flowers to achieve unnatural colors.
“It’s awful for the environment, and working with these materials doesn’t do you any good,” she said. “Some florists are working on sustainable methods, doing their best.
Kate Vinick and her fiancé had a rule at a backyard wedding on May 22 at a house in Northport, New York: if it’s destined to be thrown away or used only once, skip it or buy a used one.
“I don’t think sustainable living means you need a crunchy aesthetic,” she said. “It just means using what already exists in the world. The most sustainable purchase is what already exists.”