There is more demand than ever these days for weddings that take a more ethical approach. Instead of the expensive one-day affairs, today’s brides are looking for budget-friendly, sustainability-minded matrimonies. 

We can’t get enough of this new trend and that’s why we wanted to round up some of the best resources for making your dream day an ethically excellent ceremony to remember, from proposal to honeymoon.

1: The Ring

We’ve arrived at a place where we can acknowledge bigger isn’t always better and the only thing “forever” about mined diamonds is the lasting environmental and human rights impact they have on the globe. 

Make sure you and your significant other are having a conversation before the engagement about your desire for a sustainable set. Then set out to find companies ethically sourcing materials, lab-grown gemstones, upcycling old jewelry, and more. You can also consider no-ring options like tattoos. 

Here is a roundup of companies you might want to start with. 

2: The Dress

Step two is often finding the perfect dress. Aside from the expense and questionable material, and poor labor conditions behind most traditionally produced fashion, the wedding dress is unique and unfriendly to the environment given its one-day usage. 

Like with just about everything else wedding-related, second-hand is the ideal way to go sustainable, but these brands are also making an effort to turn the tide on wedding dress waste

If you are going to buy a dress, finding one that is a little more casual and can be worn again is also a good way to turn a one-time use item into something with a little more longevity.

3: The Venue

Getting married outdoors will help avoid all the hassle and splurge of a traditional space. You also get to ditch the decor for splendor only mother nature can provide.

A trend we are seeing more often are people turning away from the good old-fashioned venue packed with people and looking towards elopement. Not only is elopement way more budget-friendly, but it reduces everything from the use of electricity to the need to hire a staff. Check out this list of the best places to elope!

4: The Invites

Let’s make this one easy. Go digital! Or spare the paper on things like “save the dates ” and RSVP reply cards. Pretty as a piece of mail is, it all ends up in the garbage eventually. 

Check out this article for the why and how of sending digital wedding invites

5: The Food

You can be more sustainable in this arena too! See if there is a local farm that does a farm-to-table menu. Go to a local restaurant that uses local ingredients. Hire a personal chef or food truck in your area. Instead of a corporate wedding catering company, opt for just about anything local. And if you have talented relatives, prepare a family meal with heart!

6: The Registry

Take the opportunity to do good! Whether you’re registering for home goods or trying to give back, choose a registry that aligns with your ethics. It’s tempting and easy to do an Amazon registry or a major department store, but you know as well as anyone that those companies are a far cry from sustainable. 

This list of unique, handmade, and ethically produced goods that you can register for will make you forget the corporate registries right away. 

7: The Wedding Party

Weddings aren’t just costly and wasteful for the couple, they can be tough on your guests too. There are a few options when it comes to your wedding party:

  • Don’t have one! Many are choosing to buck tradition and only have the two getting married front and center.
  • Have a small wedding party
  • Let the wedding party choose their own outfits (with parameters)
  • Go green with your gifts

One of the best ways to be more sustainable is to question the status quo. Your wedding gets to be what you want it to be and nothing else!

8: The Cake

Local bakery. Local bakery. Local bakery.

You also don’t have to do cake and can order from a small, sustainable confection company for a sweet treat. 

9: The Flowers

From eco-friendly florists to fresh flower alternatives, you can find a lot of ways to add flora without feeling like you’re taking from the earth. Have you seen the beautiful dried flower bouquets or considered renting faux greenery? Check out this list of alternative flower options for weddings

10: The Honeymoon

As demand for eco-friendly travel increases your ability to have a fun getaway without leaving a large carbon footprint improves. Honeymooners can opt for a staycation that requires less gas-powered travel or choose activities that make an impact. Instead of a cruise liner, opt for a sailing excursion. Instead of jet skis, go on a hike. Volunteer at a sanctuary that saves elephants from tourism exploitation instead of riding one. There are so many endless ways to have an environmentally conscious honeymoon and this list will give you, even more, to go off of. 

Maybe the best part about a sustainable wedding? It may just be a lot easier because it requires less of everything. We’d love to hear other ways your wedding was more sustainable in the comments!