I consider myself an accidental environmentalist. I have always been conscious of sustainability and environmentally friendly options, but they felt very unattainable. The "best" option from an environmental standpoint was always more expensive and kind of ugly. I also thought that if I couldn't do sustainability perfectly, I was a fraud for even trying to do it at all. There wasn't one singular turning point, and I didn't seek out a passion to live a more sustainable life. In fact, it was about the same time I started Heirloom that I started to notice the amount of waste that passed through my daily life. What started as just a tiny afterthought, grew and grew. And I realized that we need lots of people taking small steps towards more sustainability, not for one person to do it perfectly.
There's an inaccurate belief that a sustainable wedding cannot be beautiful. I fight this misconception in my own mind too.
But here's the thing: When we fill our wedding days with disposable items, our wedding starts to feel disposable too.
And so, the goal becomes more than environmental sustainability. It also becomes creating a beautiful day and experience to bring your friends and family together to celebrate your marriage. Here are three ways to make your wedding day more sustainable.
Three Ways to Make your Wedding Day More Sustainable
1) Select Decor That can Live On After Your wedding
Invest in items that are not meant just for one day. Invest in decor items that can live on in your life and home after your wedding. Not only will your money be better spent, you will also have a piece of decor in your home with an interesting story that brings you great memories of your wedding.
Some of my favorite things I've seen:
Potted plants, consumable favors (see our great roundup here), using family china on the head table, one couple had a paid or wingback chairs recovered in beautiful blue velvet for their lounge and their living room.
2) Rentals are your friend
Speciality decor rentals are my favorite way to incorporate unique decor pieces. They are also the most sustainable option because of their reusability and much less work than buying and transporting your own items on your wedding day. The cost investment of rentals is truly an investment in having someone else care for, transport and store the items, and this is almost always the piece that couples overlook when planning.
3) Really enjoy your flowers
Floral is a biggest investment in your wedding day, and in my opinion a worthy one. Flowers are a physical representation of our feelings. We mark occasions with flowers because they represent a beautiful and unique presence in our world. Savoring and enjoying their beauty is sysnonomous with soaking in the fleeting time of your wedding and living in the moment of that celebration.
Bringing more sustainability to Heirloom's floral work is a large focus of mine, and one that we continue to learn and grow into as a company. There are many complicated factors to increasing sustainability in this area and it's easy to ascribe to the all-or-nothing mentality that if I you can't do it perfectly you needn't try at all. All steps forward are good steps.
What can you do as a couple? Talk with your florist/planner about the options for your flowers and what will happen to them after the wedding. Be realistic about what you can take on in the scope of your post-wedding festivities, and explore options for donations that may be able to fit into your budget and schedule.