The average wedding produces hundreds of pounds of waste and tons (literally!) of CO2 emissions. That is a lot of waste! Being aware of this is the first step and is part of what has inspired me to focus on small weddings and elopements. I believe it is SO important to be aware of what’s happening on this planet and know that we can make a difference with the small choices we’re making. I’m sharing this for my wedding couples in Hawaii and Oregon, but you can absolutely apply these ideas into your every day life. We are all connected and the planet is apart of us. We truly are one living organism. We must change our daily habits with the earth in mind. Being a wedding photographer on Maui and Oregon, I am inspired to create a positive impact within my local communities and around the world.
ECO-FRIENDLY WEDDING IDEAS
- Elope or have a small, intimate wedding – Elopements and small weddings are very common in Hawaii, so you’re probably already planning a small wedding! This is a great first step to consider having a lighter footprint on the earth.
- Choose recycled or paperless invitations – There are a lot of recycled paper companies offering recycled, bamboo, and even seeded paper that plant to grow flowers! A couple of my favorite companies are Botanical Paperworks and Green Field Paper. They even have recycled, seeded paper confetti options too! Or eliminate all waste and send e-invitations. This is a great way to go green and save time. Win win.
3. Utilize plants instead of paper for your name cards and table numbers. Ti leaves are a great option for this in Hawaii.
4. Local, organic food and donate the leftovers – one of the incredible things about Maui is the love we have for the a’ina or as we say “Aloha Aina” which literally means “love of the land.” This term developed during native Hawaiian time brings the sense that we are connected to all living things, and we must show respect for that which the land gives to us. Treat the land as you would like to be treated. There are plenty of local farms like Oko’a Farms that are partnered with catering companies and private chefs to create a “farm to table” experience for your wedding. Then you can donate the leftovers to the local homeless shelter or anyone else in need.
5. Ask your florist to use local floral and seasonal blooms – you can even use live plants as centerpieces and then give them away as gifts to your guests.
6. Eliminate plastic straws and use biodegradable straws instead – think about plastic in other areas throughout the day too. There are many compostable packing options offered out there. Just do a little research and say no to plastic. Living in Hawaii, we have seen so much plastic washing up on our beaches, so we are trying to eliminate buying plastic so it won’t end up in our oceans. If we don’t buy it, they will stop producing it!
7. Make your favors consumable or usable – offer your guests wedding gifts they can consume or use in a practical way. Some ideas can be local honey, chocolate, nuts, or sage bundles (shown below) for meditation and clearing energy.
8. Support sustainable clothing brands – The Good Trade is a great resource sharing several sustainable wedding dress companies. There are a lot of new clothing lines that are creating dresses and men’s suits with eco-friendly materials.
9. Use green beauty products – The Detox Market is a great resource to find sustainable beauty brands with the earth in mind. You can even make your own! I’ve seen some great ideas on the Coconut Mama website too.
10. Ask for eco-friendly gifts – like gift cards or better yet experiences rather than things! Get creative with your registry and ask for a couple’s spa day, whale watching tour, or maybe an anniversary photo session next time you’re on Maui or Oregon! Or choose a charity to donate to if you really want to spread more love.
As you can see, it can actually be easy to have an eco-friendly wedding! You just have to change your thoughts and then put it into action. We’re living during a massive shift on this planet and I believe it is SO important to be aware of our choices. Everything is connected. We are a part of this earth. The trees, the animals, the mountains, the rivers, the oceans. We are all one. We must treat our planet the way we wish to be treated. With respect, integrity, and love.
One of the ways I give back to the earth is by planting trees. I plant 50 trees for every shoot booked and it feels so good to be a part of such an important mission on this planet! I’m partnered with Eden Reforestation Projects and One Tree Planted. Both of these organizations are creating incredible impacts around the world planting millions of trees.