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It might seem challenging at first but there are many ways to plan a sustainable wedding. With a little extra thought and attention-to-detail, your wedding can leave a lasting impression on guests without imposing a weighty imprint on the environment. Sustainable weddings generate little waste and feature local elements. Here are some creative ways to plan with sustainability in mind.

Reuse & Recycle

You may already be infusing sustainable features into your wedding without realizing it if you’ve chosen a rustic or vintage theme. Reusing or repurposing accessories and décor is a very sustainable choice that adds warmth and charm to your reception. Consider a vintage dress or jewelry, or invite the wedding party to wear something they already own. Choose table decorations that you’ll reuse in your home such as candles, vintage books or mason jars for vases, or use the centerpieces as favors for guests and invite everyone to take a small memento of their choosing to take home.

Stay Local

Beyond your guests, think about how far each element of your wedding traveled to get there. Locally sourced goods will require less gas to get there while supporting your local growers. Your caterer and florist can help you select produce and florals that are in season and grown nearby. Invite guests to stay at bed and breakfasts or small hotels owned locally. Choose a family-owned restaurant to host your rehearsal dinner. You can also create welcome baskets or design favors around regional fare – this will not only reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint but also promote your local economy.

Reduce Consumption

By hosting your ceremony and reception at one venue you will eliminate driving, and emissions, in between events. To bring down your energy bill, choose an outdoor venue and let natural lighting illuminate the event. At your reception, ensure drinks are served in glassware or recyclable bottles, rather than plastic cups. Select invitations printed on recycled paper and go paperless for save-the-dates and other updates. You can also minimize the extra paper within your invitation by directing guests to your wedding website for directions, hotel, registry and transportation information.

Donate Excess

Finding a way to reuse or donate any excess from your wedding is a great way to be eco-friendlier. You can compost food waste and package leftovers for guests to takeaway or donate to shelters. Hospitals, elderly care centers and cemeteries always welcome arrangements to brighten the day of patients, visitors and residents.