The wedding industry continues to be wasteful, but a growing number of brides and grooms are pushing for more environmentally friendly changes, from the way they invite guests to the food they serve and the clothes they wear.
The wedding guide According to The Knot, more than two-thirds of the approximately 15,000 site users did or planned to incorporate eco-conscious touches such as secondhand décor, minimizing food waste, and avoiding one-time use products. Almost one-third believe vendors should be more proactive in leading the way.
According to Pinterest’s 2022 wedding trends report, searches for thrifted weddings have tripled, and searches for reuse wedding dress ideas have doubled, after two turbulent years for the wedding industry. Poshmark, the online resale giant, reported that demand for secondhand wedding dresses is at an all-time high, particularly those costing $500 or more.
More venues, caterers, and other vendors are taking notice, according to Lauren Kay, executive editor of The Knot.
Something Borrowed Blooms, for example, sells silk florals rather than fresh cut flowers, which frequently travel long distances and are arranged with non-recyclable foam. Bridal veils are available for rent at Nova by Enaura. VerTerra sells bowls and compostable plates made of fallen palm leaves, and Pollyn, a Brooklyn plant shop, uses biodegradable nursery pots as more couples opt for plants over cut flowers.
Paper Culture makes invitations, save the dates, and reception cards out of 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper. The company offsets its manufacturing and transportation carbon footprints with credits that replenish the planet’s resources, and it plants a tree with every order.
Anna Masiello, 28, sees her May 28 wedding as an extension of a more environmentally conscious lifestyle she adopted several years ago after moving from her native Italy to Portugal to pursue a master’s degree in environmental sustainability.
She documented her journey on social media under the handle hero to 0, which refers to zero waste, and has amassed over 70,000 followers on TikTok and nearly 40,000 followers on Instagram for her regular updates on her life and wedding planning.
Masiello’s lavender wedding gown is made of deadstock linen (material that factories or stores were unable to use or sell). Her fiancé will be dressed in secondhand trousers and a shirt. They will exchange rings that belonged to two of their grandparents.
Her fiancé carved her engagement ring from wood from a tree planted by her parents when she was born. Her video about it has received over 12 million views.
The 50 guests attending the outdoor ceremony in an uncle’s yard will throw confetti made from fallen leaves, and the decor will include wood, used glass jars, and garden plants. They went digital instead of paper. And no favors will be given. The couple intends to plant trees to offset the carbon footprint of some of their guests’ plane travel.
They use utensils, cups, and plates that are compostable or recyclable. They’re batching cocktails to reduce waste and seating is provided by their own furniture. Kazer’s bouquet will be made of real flowers, but she has limited her flower purchases.
Kat Warner, whose T. Warner Artists provides wedding entertainment on the East Coast, offers solar-powered lighting to full solar receptions. She also uses carbon offsets, donating to organizations that support reforestation and bird conservation.
Greater Good Events, which bills itself as “event planners for those who give a damn,” takes a comprehensive approach in Portland, Oregon, and the New York Tri-State area. Wedding waste isn’t always visible, according to Maryam Mudrick, who bought the company with Justine Broughal in September.
Pinch Food Design, one of their catering partners, has a zero waste pledge that includes designing menus to reduce food waste, donating used cooking oil for biodiesel, and supporting sustainable and regenerative farming.
Beyond the use of non-biodegradable foam, florist Ingrid Carozzi of Tin Can Studios in Brooklyn mentioned bleaching and chemically dyeing flowers to achieve unnatural colors.