Save the Trend! “Green” Wedding Planning Tips

Posted Apr 3, 2013 by Rachel Shapiro

Ways to “Green” Your Wedding

Have you thought about your eco-footprint today? It’s something important to be aware of, but something that tends to go out the window when planning your wedding! Great news — “Green” wedding planning can actually save the planet and your pocket! Sadie Waddington, of Locally Grown Weddings, shares some pointers from her team that will make your wedding eco-friendly! Her tips are broken up into specific categories to guide you along your “Green” wedding journey below!



  • Selecting a venue that is both centrally located, and a space that can host both your ceremony and reception is a great starting spot for planning a “Green” wedding. This will cut down on your CO2 emissions and budget expenses, with the added benefit of making sure your guests don’t get lost between venues (which can eat into precious cocktail reception time!).
  • Choose a venue with on-site accommodations where you can entertain guests for a full weekend of activities. Whether it’s gourmet BBQ for your rehearsal dinner and lawn games, keeping your guests onsite will allow them to unwind, relax and enjoy a weekend getaway.


  • Communication is key when planning an eco-friendly wedding. Talk to your vendors and let them know that being eco-friendly is a priority. This will ensure that they are not just using “Green” for a marketing tactic, but truly believe in an environmentally-conscious business and lifestyle.
  • Hire a planner or coordinator who specializes in eco-friendly weddings. A good planner will save you time and money by directing you to the best eco-friendly vendors. Take advantage of his/her ‘little green book’ and streamline your efforts.


  • Choose a venue where you can select your own caterer. Some venues provide catering or require you to hire a caterer from a list. This limits your choices and if local and seasonal food is a priority for you, it may not be with your caterer.
  • In the buffet for a more casual event, be sure to use compostable items instead of disposable. Compostable plates, forks, etc. are plant-based and can be composted. This diverts that waste from the landfill to a more useful purpose.
  • For those who favor fish, check out Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch to learn more about your sustainable options, and help maintain a healthy ocean ecosystem.

Bar and Beverage

  • Instead of individual sodas and juices, choose a handcrafted signature beverage that can be made in large quantities, eliminating the individual glass and plastic bottles that may or may not be recycled at the end of the night.
  • Finally, at the end of the night, don’t let that leftover fish (or chicken, beef or pasta) go to waste! Talk to your caterer about leftover food ahead of time and donating it to a local food bank. There are some services that will even pick up the leftovers at the end of the night.


  • You can opt for an organic or vegan cake, or add a touch of green and sentimentality with your cake topper!
  • “Consider looking in your own home for ideas rather than purchasing something new from the store,” says Pei-Yee Woo, who provides a full range of sweet endings for Locally Grown Weddings’ events. “It’s a great way to utilize a memento that holds significance for the two of you to share your story with your guests. And it saves you the extra step of having to go and shop around for a cake topper!”
  • Not having a wedding cake? Opt for decadent desserts that come with minimal packaging: hand-crafted ice creams (served on edible cones, of course!) or a variety of seasonal fruits served with freshly whipped cream.

Floral Design

  • When creating your floral design, it’s important to select locally grown blooms, but take it one step further and find out exactly how the flowers are grown.
  • “There are local farms that use greenhouses and there are those that grow their flowers outside and some that are organic-certified. Flowers that are grown outside not only consume less energy, but they also last longer and are stronger than those grown in a greenhouse,” explains floral guru Madeline Trait.
  • Madeline also suggest checking out your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to see if they grow flowers (seasonal herbs, veggies and fruits also make stunning and unique décor)!
  • Be weary of the season. Out-of-season blooms are most likely to come from South America, Africa or Europe.
  • At the end of the night, don’t let the flowers wilt in the venue’s trash. Donate them to a local hospice or hospital, or let guests take them home as a parting gift. “Either way they will be enjoyed by someone rather than being tossed out immediately,” says Trait.

Décor Details

  • Luckily, there’s no shortage of eco-friendly décor, so go the extra “Green” mile and select décor that can be reused by yourself or donated. “As an event designer when I am sourcing décor, I always think of what happens to the item after the event. Can the vases be reused by my guests, the florist or recycled?” says Trait.
  • Connect with local artisans and use locally made products such as vases, signage, linens, etc. “Not only will you have unique products, you will be supporting local artists, artisans and your community,” Trait says.
  • DIY is always an Earth-friendly option, provided that you have the time. “There are a lot of eco-fabrics out there if you want to invest in making your own linens. Keep them as keepsakes when you are done with the wedding or donate them to a local charity or school.”

Wedding Trends

Thanks to Locally Grown Weddings for some amazing tips! Start searching for your “Green” venue now. Costanoa is one of our eco-friendly favorites!

Also, check out our Rehearsal Dinner Directory for some locally grown, seasonal menu selections at amazing California restaurants!





One Response to Save the Trend! “Green” Wedding Planning Tips

  1. Kathleen says:

    Thank you for posting some GREAT ideas for our clients. We are so fortunate in California to have many options for greening our events.
    However, I disagree with your statement that by having a list of preferred caterers at a venue, that a client may not find a caterer that offers local, seasonal cuisine. We have several Green caterers on our list and we go to extremes to offer our clients a diverse selection of caterers that have proven themselves to offer excellent service & cuisine over several years. Please don’t lump all catering lists into one pot.
    Thanks again for a great column and for allowing me to share my point of view.
    Kathleen, Villa Montalvo, Saratoga, CA

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