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Bridal

HOW TO MAKE YOUR WEDDING DAY ECO-FRIENDLY

BY AMY BARTLETT

Google eco-friendly weddings (or green, sustainable, ethical, zero-waste), and the most common advice is one we know and love here in the Lowcountry: Keep it local.

If you want to make the most (or least, footprint-wise) of your big day, go green right out of the gate and carry it through every detail from the recycled paper invitations (or go paperless) to nearby (gas-free) honeymoon options (even these can be kept local). If the thing keeping you from going all in on reduce-reuse-recycle is that you don’t know how, we’ve got you. 

BEFORE

State your Position: Tell your wedding planner and vendors your goal. Loop in your guests with an eco-friendly registry or charity registry, turning consumerism into paying it forward. (It’s also feel-good way to exchange your gifts before you receive them). Go wedding themed with wishuponawedding.org or bless those in your own backyard by searching your area on greatnonprofits.org. Groups like Bluffton Self Help provide lists of current donation needs.

Eco-nomic Planning: While some green choices cost green, most will save big bank, like a pared down guest list and going natural with an outdoor location for your venue. This not only saves you on venue costs, it doubles as décor if you leverage the beauty of a natural setting. 

DURING

Make Your Own: Everything you have or do on your big day can be DIYed – even your flowers. Make it an outing for your wedding party at a local flowershop, where you can gather with friends and loved ones and make your own wedding arrangements, boutonnieres, centerpieces and more. 

Make it Natural: Natural décor has been on-trend for decades, but there’s a growing spread of organic ideas from which to choose – fruits and veggies, pinecones, herbs, moss touches, driftwood, and the signature of the Lowcountry, oyster shells. Stack or package in repurposed containers that guests can take home.

Paperless Parties: Aimee Fennessey of Amanda Rose Weddings offers tips for cutting bulk paperwaste. “Instead of doing printed programs that will likely end up being thrown out,” Fennessey says, “do one sign that is at the entry of your ceremony.”

Save on printed materials such as directions, things to do once you are here, and hotel info by including those on a wedding website.

Farm to Bridal Table: Include a grazing table. It’s the most waste-free, locally source-able, and one of the most customizable culinary options. Extra points if served with bamboo plates, corn syrup utensils, and biodegradable straws. 

AFTER

Sustainable Send-Off: Bird-seed tossers and bubble blowers have fallen out of favor ecologically and rice is a no-no, Beth Baldwin of Beth Baldwin Weddings said. Instead, Baldwin said magnolia leaves, and palm leaves can be incorporated into a reception for various purposes and are naturally sourced from our region. 

Consider dried flowers or petals, lavender or other biodegradable confetti, and a thematic leaf toss (olive leaves say fresh or Mediterranean and fall foliage is perfectly Instagrammable). 

Leave them Loving Local: The final step is local favors. Gold country rice, local honey, jams, chocolate alligators, oyster shuckers, shrimp and grits give your guests a taste of the local surroundings. Check out localharvest.org to search the local area or browse vendor lists on farmersmarketbluffton.org and hhifarmersmarket.com.

As you’re off to “green”er pastures, the only thing you leave behind should be memories. And pics, or it didn’t happen.