As you know already, I am an advocate for Leave no Trace no matter where our shoot is! Winnipeg, Brandon, Banff, Santa Fe, you name it! BUT what is Leave no Trace and what does it mean to be sustainable? I talk about it on my website and have a handy link to their website but what does it mean for you? It’s often talked about in respect to hiking + Canada’s National Parks (ie. elopements), but it applies to so many more situations including your wedding day!
You could also think about Leave No Trace principles as just incorporating eco-friendly or sustainable choices when planning your wedding. You might even find yourself making some of these choices already! No matter where you decide to celebrate your big day, you can make a few small choices to be more respectful to our amazing planet.
So, let’s get started shall we!?
01. flower choice
I don’t know about you but flowers are one of my absolute favourite pieces of a wedding day. Using locally grown or in season flowers will reduce the environmental impact of your wedding, and is a quick conversation with your florist. Most will have great local or in-season swaps for any of the flowers you originally had in mind. Avoid invasive species like Pampas grass or using artificial flowers. Dried flowers are a great alternative as well! If you ever need Winnipeg based florist recommendations for your wedding that practice these principles – hit me up! Stonehouse Weddings is a personal favourite.
02. your send-off
One of the most exciting parts of your wedding day, aside from the ceremony of course, is your send-off at the end! Choosing sustainable favours + exit toss items makes a HUGE difference in your environmental impact! Instead of throwing confetti try things like lavender or other small flowers. I’ve also seen a few companies like The Confetti Farm who create eco-friendly confetti.
03. wedding decor
Consider renting your decor or using thrifted items that you can use later or donate. There are a lot of companies starting to pop up, including a few in Winnipeg, who rent out Pinterest-worthy wedding decor! I’m loving Something Borrowed and Collective Event Rentals
04. your vendor choice
Hire as many vendors as you can who also care about the environment and making eco-friendly decisions! Even if it’s not directly stated anywhere you can always ask if they have more sustainable choices.
05. reduce waste + dispose properly
Dispose of any and all waste responsibly. A few simple things you can do before your wedding day: ask your caterer if you’re able to save or donate the leftovers, ask your florist how they dispose of the flowers or if they donate them, and choose reusable dishware. As for the rest, recycle and compost what you can.
06. use eco-friendly materials
Try to use eco-friendly materials as much as possible! Things like your invitations, place cards, seating chart, etc. can all be easily swapped for more eco-friendly materials like recycled paper, compostable materials, or recyclable materials.
07. wedding favours
Similar to number 6, your wedding favour choice is an easy swap to more eco-friendly choices on your wedding day! Choosing gifts like plants, seed paper cards, and locally sourced treats or items are great choices. If you’re open to not having favours to hand out, a donation to a charity of your choice or sharing the playlist of the night on Spotify are thoughtful options.
08. your guest list
Try to keep your guest list small if you can – the less people there are the less waste you’ll have at the end of the night! This isn’t always doable and that’s okay too.
09. your wedding dress
This one might be a little tricker, depending on what’s available in your area and what dress you have your heart set on. If you can though, supporting an ethical or sustainable dress designer will definitely be a positive choice for your wedding! If you love thrifting, shopping second-hand dresses is more eco-friendly AND saves you $$$.
Another good option is to have your dress custom made by a local designer, one of my favourites here in Winnipeg is Cathy Wiebe. When choosing your bridesmaids dresses, avoid fast fashion and pick dresses they’ll wear again!
10. your honeymoon
Okay okay, I know you’ll probably go somewhere epic and beautiful – and i’m not going to tell you to restrict your travel miles! But you can definitely vacation a bit more responsibly, choose sustainable tours/activities, support local shops while you’re there, and do your research on how you can reduce your environmental impact!
No wedding will be perfectly sustainable but hopefully this gives you a good starting point and you’re able to incorporate a few of these tips into your wedding. If you ever want suggestions for vendors who are more sustainable, i’m your girl!!