Award Winning, Asheville Wedding Photographer Shares a Few Hot Pro-Tips to Help you Plan a more Eco-Conscious Wedding!
I know, I know… like you need anything else to think about or figure out!! I totally feel you. But, in the world that we are living in today, if you believe in the Science of Climate Change, this IS something that we should all be thinking about because….(bad news first)
The average wedding produces 400 pounds of garbage and 63 tons of carbon dioxide according to “The Green Bride Guide” by Kate Harrison. And, according to the last World Census Data in 2006, there are 115,000 Weddings EVERY SINGLE DAY across the World. Holy Shit! That’s a lot of Garbage and a lot of Carbon Dioxide.
Meanwhile, according to one of those sub-search engines designed “help Brides plan their perfect wedding day” while simultaneously robbing wedding vendors blind by charging upward of $400+ per month just to show up in search results for their various categories (along with several hundred of their competition)… according to that company, the national average cost of a wedding soared to $35,329 in 2016, according to their “Real Weddings Study.” I’m sure many of you can attest that the figure is even higher in 2020! The survey of 13,000 couples found that spending increased across all reception categories, including catering, cake, flowers, photographer, entertainment and the venue itself. Increased spending often means increased waste.
When planning your Wedding, you spend months thinking about every last detail from seating charts to centerpieces… But what about the environmental impact of your big day? It may not be high on your wedding to-do list to think green, but some of your plans may already be trending that way (by opting for a smaller guest list or booking an outdoor venue), and a few more thoughtful decisions can really make a difference!
A FEW EASY WAYS TO THINK GREEN WHEN PLANNING YOUR WEDDING:
The biggest impact on the environment comes from your venue and your food. Try to think of venues that are already beautiful on their own! Maybe they have a lot of natural light or windows… that will cuts down on cost and waste!
Smaller guest lists, which are actually trending also lend themselves to backyard ceremonies and mixed-use event spaces. For bigger weddings, eco-conscious couples should look for outdoor venues or buildings that are LEED-certified, which means they have been evaluated for sustainability and environmental performance.
If thinking about the environmental impact of your wedding is a priority for you guys, finding a LEED certified venue is great because they already have the AC systems, lighting and plumbing in place that are more efficient!
Hot Pro Tip: Also, another great option to consider (which I would totally LOVE to Shoot) is looking into Nonprofit spaces such as the Zoos, Parks or Museums! When you give them your dollars, you’re also giving back to the community! Plus, there is the added benefit of a tax write-off! You Welcome! 😉
The other biggest cost of a wedding and where you can really be more mindful and green is in the food. That doesn’t mean everything has to be organic but try to think local and think seasonal! The average American meal travels about 1,500 miles to get from farm to table, according to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. Transporting food requires fossil fuels and processing to ripen or preserve the food for it’s journey from farm to table. If you’re getting tomatoes out of season, you’re flying them from California. Choosing in-season, locally grown foods may even lower your catering costs! When looking for a green caterer, ask about local ingredients, seasonal menus, recycling and composting. Same goes for vendors like bakeries and florists!
When it comes to eco-conscious bouquets and centerpieces, flexibility on flower types is key. Finding a local grower (we have several great ones in the Asheville area, you see a list of those at the end) is a fantastic idea! Also, staying away from single-use items like floral foam, which is toxic & repurposing event flowers by donating them to a local nursing home or hospital is just plain sweet! 😉
Most paper products from weddings end up in the trash, so think about limiting invitations to one main piece and maybe an RSVP card. Lots of couples are directing guests to a wedding website for more information about the event such as directions, weekend event schedule, lodging options, etc! One other unique idea for invitations if you’re really serious about your carbon footprint is choosing Botanical PaperWorks, which makes biodegradable, plantable seed paper wedding invitations that can grow wildflowers or herbs!
And perhaps the simplest way to think green when planning your wedding is by choosing to eliminate wedding favors (which can also save you money!) Think about the weddings that you’ve been to… Do you ever actually remember to take the favors home at the end of a fun, boozy night? Usually not. Do you ever use them? Probably not. Do you keep them forever? Typically not. The reality is that they usually either get left behind at the venue & ultimately end up in the garbage, which ends up in a landfill. If you absolutely feel compelled to gift favors to your guests, lots of couples are choosing to include something edible, plantable or a charity donation on behalf of their guests!
Planning an Eco – Friendly Wedding doesn’t have to be overwhelming or difficult in any way. It’s really just thinking about ways you can eliminate waste at every step, which will actually save you guys money!
I wanna take a quick sec to recognize one outstanding Asheville Wedding Venue who really goes the extra mile to host eco-conscious weddings (and they’re one of the only local venues that I’m aware of that really operate in this way.)
Hidden River Events in Swannanoa (is only about 10-15 minutes outside of downtown Asheville) is a beautiful 20 acre farm nestled in the blue ridge, along the Swannanoa River bank, near Warren Wilson College. Hidden River has stunning mountain range views, gorgeous fields of wild flowers, giant, sweet horses, miles of lovely wooden fencing, dirt roads, tree lined trails, manicured gardrens, ponds with lily pads, weeping willows, a giant old oak tree for marry’n and they grow all their own flowers there because it is one of Asheville’s only truly All-Inclusive options! Their motto is: “We grow food, We grow flowers, We grow love” 🙂 Hidden River is definitely a place that’s very special to me & a lot of my couples love it because it’s proximity to downtown Asheville, it’s stunning, they have indoor and outdoor options and lodging on site for 60-80 people for several days so it really is about two families coming together… you can check out more of their philosophy on their website here: Hidden River Events
But what I really wanna tell you about Hidden River is all the ways that they promote eco-conscious weddings! I mentioned that they grow all their own flowers there (which also means they have huge, amazing flower gardens for portraits!!!) and they donate those flowers arrangements to Hospice after every event. They donate the extra food from every event to local shelters who need it. They recycle everything. They use natural cleaning products and have LED lighting. They Compost. They have composting toilets. They are adding Goats this year to cut down on mowing all those acres! Also, they’re adding chickens this year (I hope they’re sweet cause I’m definitely taking a photo of a bride and groom holding chickens this year!! Not kidding.) and they grow food. They use vendors who are local and have the same values around eco-consciousness and service and they find that most of their couples appreciate the steps they take to promote eco-conscious weddings and also share their philosophies around service.
Okay, this was just a love letter to this incredibly special place! (LOL – totally didn’t mean to, but its all true!) The truth is, I just love those people and I love that place and I know you will too! 🙂 Check it out: Hidden River Events
Good Luck, Love Birds!
Every Little Bit Helps…Our Children’s Future Depends the Choices we make Today! XO
Just a few of my favorite images from a couple of my Hidden River Weddings in 2018-2019!