Selecting a wedding venue is often one of the first decisions you’ll make when planning a wedding. Not only will your venue help determine the location, size, style, and theme of your special day, but it will truly help set the tone for your celebration. If you are looking to plan an eco-friendly wedding or event, finding a venue that keeps our planet in mind is the perfect way to make your wedding day as sustainable as possible right off the bat!
To help you get your wedding planning off to the right start, we’ve put together this list of our top 10 tips for finding the perfect eco-friendly wedding venue!
1. Location, location, location
Choosing a location for a wedding is often one of the most difficult parts of wedding planning, especially if the couple planning the wedding are from different sides of the country. If you’re having trouble deciding where to tie the knot, a simple way to choose a location is by selecting a place that is closer to the majority of guests. Have a bride with a large family on the East Coast? Take a peek at venues there. Have you both been living in the same area for a long time, and have a bunch of guests who will be attending from this area? Consider staying close to home.
Considering a destination wedding? Try lowering the guest list or choosing a place that is easy to get to. The less air and car travel that is involved in getting family and friends to your wedding, the fewer emissions that will be released into our atmosphere!
If you, like many modern couples, know that a lot of travel will be involved in your wedding day, don’t feel overwhelmed or guilty! Consider asking your guests to offset their carbon, or make a donation yourself after your event.
Another great idea is to limit additional events that require travel. If your guests have quite a long way to travel, consider combining events like the shower and bachelor/bachelorette parties, or perhaps incorporate these festivities into a larger wedding weekend. Your guests will probably be grateful for fewer trips and expensive airline fares, and you’ll also be helping to lower your wedding’s carbon footprint.
Not all wedding venues are created equal. When researching or touring venues, be sure to ask about what measures they take to be sustainable. Is your venue LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or Energy Star Certified? These are some of the best ways to know if a building runs sustainably or efficiently. If you can’t find a venue like this near you, ask if the venue recycles or takes other steps to be kind to our planet.
3. Hold the ceremony and reception in the same location
A great way to reduce driving-related emissions is to hold the ceremony and reception at the same venue. While this is not always possible, it is a great way to prevent guests from having to do additional driving. If you can’t hold the reception at the same location as your ceremony, then try to find a spot for the reception that is close by, or consider organizing shuttles for guests.
4. Consider an outdoor venue
Outdoor venues are an amazing way to make your reception more eco-friendly. With an outdoor venue, you can often be more energy efficient as you’ll need less lighting. Additionally, you can use fewer decorations and rely more on the beautify of mother nature’s scenery. Just be sure to consider how much you’ll need to bring to the space, sometimes a hybrid indoor-outdoor space is best to accommodate weather, electrical needs, toilets, catering, and other infrastructure your event may require.
5. Ask about your venue’s vendors
Some venues require you to use their venues, others don’t. We’ve written several posts all about finding eco-friendly florists, caterers, and other wedding vendors, so if working with local, sustainably-minded vendors is important to you, you’ll want to keep this in mind when selecting a venue. If your venue requires you to use their caterers and approved vendors, see if you can contact them ahead of time to coordinate things like recycling, composting, or other sustainability measures that you’d like to implement.
6. Ban single-use plastics
We all know how bad single-use plastics are for our environment, so be sure to ask your venue to keep these items out of your special day! See what rentals and decor your venue provides, and if any of these are plastic, try to replace them with a more sustainable alternative. Remember, when it comes to our environment, every bit counts!
7. Arrange shuttles between your ceremony, reception, and hotels
Cut down on transportation emissions by arranging shuttles for your guests. Whether your guests are traveling between a ceremony, reception, hotel, or all three locations, a shuttle is an excellent way to bring everyone easily and efficiently from place to place and cut down on fuel. An added bonus? If there is alcohol served at your venue, you’re guests won’t have to worry about rideshare or taxi costs!
8. Help your guests carpool
Is your wedding within driving distance for the majority of your guests? Consider helping your friends and family arrange a carpool to cut down on fuel! This is a budget-friendly option for guests looking to save on gas, and is a great way for friends and family to connect before your wedding. If you have guests flying in, it can be an excellent opportunity to coordinate airport pickups and save on expensive car rentals. For many brides and grooms, organizing a carpool is an added responsibility, so we recommend seeing if your most organized, environmentally conscious friend is willing to take care of the details for you!
9. Don’t forget about your hotel
Many brides and grooms opt to reserve a hotel block near their venue for guests to stay at overnight. If this is the case for your wedding, be sure to see what hotels in the area are the most eco-conscious, and try to select from one of those, if possible! You’ll sleep easy knowing you’re doing what you can for the environment.
10. Consider these other eco-friendly wedding options!
Your eco-friendly wedding planning doesn’t have to stop with your venue. Consider some of the other ways you can plan a sustainable wedding. While it is impossible to do it all, every eco-conscious choice you can make is helpful to our planet. Whether you choose to opt for more sustainable flowers, jewelry, wedding attire, catering, you’ll be making a difference!
Follow us on Instagram @petalsforhope for more eco-friendly wedding tips!
Here at Petals for Hope, we are passionate about reducing waste from weddings and events and helping our communities. To learn more about how our nonprofit can help you recycle your wedding flowers and distribute them to those in need, click here!
For more great tips on planning an eco-friendly wedding, check out these posts: