How to Have an Eco-Friendly Wedding

Celebrating Earth Day Each and Every Day… and at Your Wedding

eco-friendlyBeing environmentally correct is not just for a day but a lifestyle. As a wedding couple, you can make a statement about who you are and what you stand for on your wedding day by showing support for environmental protection.

Earth Day began after a devastating oil spill off the gorgeous coast of Santa Barbara and prompted a group of peace activists to raise environmental awareness.  In 1969 at a UNESCO conference in San Francisco (the City by the Bay where I grew up), peace activist John McConnell proposed a day that should be set aside to honor mother Earth.  It is our responsibility as human beings to do what we can to protect the earth and preserve it for future generations.

Although I married an environmental engineer and adopted being “green” many years ago, you don’t need a degree in science to protect the environment. Green weddings are not a trend.  If you are a couple who cares about the environment in your everyday living (living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle), then you will want to have a sustainable wedding.  As of today, about 30% of couples are talking about some elements in their wedding being “politically correct” when it comes to the environment.

Photo Credit: Events of Distinction


Interest in eco-friendly weddings does not always come from the wedding couples, but the wedding service professionals (vendors) educating their brides and grooms on how to have a “green wedding”.  Few couples ask for “green weddings,” but interest tends to grow when wedding professionals explain the benefits of eco-friendly weddings, and couples start asking more questions.

Here are some helpful suggestions on how to protect the planet on your special day in style:

  • Start with a captivating invitation that will create a must-attend response. Look for wedding invitation papers that have the most recycled content – 100% post-consumer waste and use vegetable-based inks.
  • When selecting a date for your wedding, select a time of year when the building does not need heating or cooling.
  • Venues: Look for a venue such as a non-profit that supports environmental causes, run by the community, religious or other non-profit centers that benefit directly from the rental fees. What is a “Green Building” – look for green buildings that have received LEED-CI Platinum Certification – sustainable space that is completed with recycled and renewable materials, using advanced energy efficient lighting, mechanical, and climate control systems.  Better yet, instead of being indoors, select natural settings such as a state or federal parks and campsites. Lake Tahoe is the perfect eco-friendly wedding destination!

Couple at Sugar Pine Point State Park – Photo Credit: Ciprian Photography

  • When thinking about food at your wedding, serve an organic plant-based menu with locally grown seasonal ingredients – you don’t want your fruits and vegetables grown from heated greenhouses. Organic means no pesticides, nor petroleum based or sewage sludge-based fertilizers damaging the soil or the health of farm workers. Choose local foods that help the environment by cutting back on transportation.
  • If you want to serve meat, try locally sourced organic free-range chicken (organic farms no farther than 50-100 miles away is preferred). And if you would like to serve seafood, avoid over-fished species or farmed fish with a high mercury content such as Atlantic Salmon. Refer to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch for guidance on fish to serve at your wedding.
  • For beverages, use certified organic wines, beers, tequilas, vodkas and mixers. Select teas and coffees that are from Fair Trade Certified companies.
  • Make sure your caterer recycles all garbage including bottles, cans and plastics.
  • Flowers also require toxic chemicals (herbicides, fungicides and insecticides) which can end up in our water. Look for flowers with the following labels: USDA Organic (bans the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers); Veriflora is another eco-label as well as Fair Trade Certified.
    • An alternative to cut flowers is using potted plants that can be replanted. I designed a gorgeous eco-friendly wedding with all potted plants, and the florist returned the day after the wedding to the reception site to pick up the plants and replant them in the garden of the happily married couple. Can’t think of a better way to honor our environment, and keeping the memories of the wedding day growing forever!

Photo Credit: Arrowood Photography

    • Also, think about creating flowers made from scraps of fabrics or edible colorful fruit and vegetable centerpieces that can actually be eaten. Also make sure that all your flowers and food waste can be compostable, so check with your florist and caterer on “best practices” for green weddings.

Please join Tahoe Engaged as we celebrate with those across the world to show support for our planet each and every day. Our Tahoe Engaged logo has a twig, a slender shoot growing from a branch of a tree. May we all continue to “grow” in love and support of one another for a better world, and do your part such as recycling or plant a tree!