Sustainable concepts and eco-friendly wedding choices
“As a project for Earth Day this year, my very good friend Cara started a 22 Day Earth Warriors Series. It took about 5 minutes a day to show you ways that mindless actions are making huge impacts on the plant and nature all around us,” Elizabeth and Rob shared with me when we first hopped on a call to discuss the concept for the sustainable eco-friendly wedding she was planning in the middle of Michigan. “It really opened my eyes to all the ways I could make a difference, to heal or harm,” she added. When the wedding planning started, sustainability was on top of Elizabeth’s mind with every choice. One of her bridesmaids nicknamed her Eco-Bridezilla early in the planning process. For each vendor, she made sure to express the importance of sustainable ideas.
Elizabeth works as a corporate event planner, so she was well aware of the immense waste traditional weddings produce each year. For their wedding, the couple envisioned a guilt free eco-friendly event and came up with a comprehensive strategy to reduce their negative environmental impact. Elizabeth made sure the wedding party wore clothes they already owned and she purchased a wedding dress by Leanne Marshall, who is one of the best known sustainable wedding attire trailblazers. Wedding invites and stationery were completely digital and the seating assignments were written on leaves foraged from the couples’ garden. Instead of wedding favors, the guests could choose from 2 local charities for the bride and groom to donate on their behalf. The bride hired a local organic flower farmer to provide the wedding florals from her sustainable garden and all the blooms on the tables were placed in recycled glass jars, collected from friends and family to reduce wasteful purchases. The food was plated on eco-friendly palm leaf plates and served with compostable plastic ware. The couple mostly eats a plant based diet, so they wanted their caterer to avoid beef and pork (these meats have one of the highest carbon footprint) and focus on organic and sustainably sourced ingredients across the whole menu.
Sustainable wedding attire
When the couple asked their bridal party to stand up with them on the wedding day, they made the request that they wear something they already own. The bride says, she couldn’t give them too much of a hard time knowing that she was going to be purchasing a new dress, though she wanted it to be as sustainable as possible. “I stumbled upon Leanne Marshall and after a bit of research, I was impressed with her sustainable practices and recycled dresses! I was lucky enough to catch a rare sample sale and snagged her perfect dress in a unique champagne color.” Elizabeth says. The dress already existed so she did not have the guilt of the waste from a custom wedding dress. Rob wore a dark grey suit that he already had in his closet. He purchased a new button up shirt, to fit the floral theme, and a navy tie to bring it all together.
Local wedding florals
The bride loves flowers that support native species of pollinators. Her mom got into a local butterfly conservation group a few years ago and now the whole family is involved! When selecting a florist, Elizabeth knew she wanted someone that would use the flowers she loves in her own garden. Lindsay Hufford, the owner of Peck and Petal Farm , is a local flower farmer whose vision for her purpose, met her own “spreading joy and connection in our local community through the beauty of locally grown, sustainable flowers”. As for the vases, she wanted the tables to look like a garden, so a collection of small vases made the most sense. Elizabeth was able to collect spice, baby food, mustard, and salad dressing jars, on their way to the recycling bin, from friends and family to use as tiny vases on her wedding tablescape. The secret recipe for removing the label glue: baking soda and olive oil!
When it came to the invitations, Elizabeth’s experience as a corporate event planner has shown that electronic invitations make the most sense. She found a website, Appy Couple, that could manage the RSVPs, wedding website, and invitations. Planning a Covid-wedding meant multiple guest communications were necessary to keep everyone up to speed on the latest guidelines and expectations for the day. Starting with an email invite kept them expecting to see her in their email inbox instead of the mailbox.
Seating charts and other collateral
For the day of, Elizabeth wanted to keep the collateral to a minimum. The seating chart was one poster, affixed to a recycled cardboard box. The table numbers were made from extra thank you cards, why waste good cardstock!? For the guest favors, we knew early on that we wanted to make donations in the names of our guests in lieu of a physical favor. Elizabeth mentioned that it would have been much easier to print a card for everyone, which she thought many times during the creation process, instead they went completely eco! The bride’s fellow flower lover and good friend helped her collect leaves from her garden a few days before the wedding. They wrote each guest name on their own leaf in gold or silver sharpie, being sure to select the milkweed leaves for her fellow Monarch conservation friends! Elizabeth stored them in a tupperware container with damp towels to keep them fresh and green until the wedding. Elizabeth’s parents used the existing decor items to make the leaf boards for the guests to find their names on and chose the charity they wanted to support: Humane Society of Huron Valley or Monarch Watch.
The next guest interaction was with the food, and they loved it. The chef is a close friend of the father of the groom and the in-house chef at the local headquarter for the food distributor US Foods. The couple knew he would keep the guest safe, he was on the cutting edge of all the latest food and beverage service regulations from the CDC. While Rob and Elizabeth eat mostly a plant based diet, many of their guests were looking for some traditional proteins. They asked Chef Randy to avoid beef and pork while focusing on only organic and sustainably sourced ingredients, across the whole menu. He created a unique and adaptable menu that was delicious while taking all of our guests dietary restrictions into consideration.
Beautiful vibrant florals
Colorful bridesmaids dresses
First look in a vineyard
Tasty wedding food
Personalized sustainable approach all around