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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Ohayon

REAL SIMPLE: Skip These 7 Wedding Traditions for a More Eco-Friendly Affair

Updated: Mar 23, 2022

Make your wedding memorable and sustainable.

The question's been popped, the answer is "yes," and now it's time to plan the wedding day. And no matter what happens, your wedding day will be special and memorable—but as we've come to learn, it could end up being way more wasteful than it needs to be. And while wedding trends come and go, climate positivity and sustainability are here to stay. Consider a climate-friendly wedding with eco-centric tactics to curb those CO2 emissions and wedding waste.

"I feel there's a huge step away from the 'traditional' wedding practices," says wedding planner Xin Huang at Le Petit Prive. "Creating a meaningful and timeless event is something that will be here to stay for a long time." This meaningfulness also includes the planet—by keeping it as free of waste as possible (much of which will take hundreds of years to decompose!). "The wedding industry can be unsustainable if you're not careful about the vendors and details you align your brand and client base with," Huang adds. Attention to detail, a savvy event coordinator, and sourcing locally is at the core of hosting a sustainable wedding. With a proper event coordinator, the planet is worth the effort.

Here, a lineup of the most wasteful trends and traditions—and tips to make them more sustainable.

1The Stationary "Many little items get printed and quickly discarded—and some of them can be easily communicated without all the paper waste and extra expense," says international wedding organizer Vanessa Ohayon at Vanessa Events. Using an e-vite, email, QR code wedding website, and other digital options to communicate details can help curb excess paper waste. It's common for couples to want to stick to physical invitations for the actual wedding, but for any surrounding events, consider going digital. You could also look into rice paper. Huang recommends using water-soluble rice paper for all stationary needs without missing the physical charm. 2The Party Favors Guests often don't even take wedding favors home from the party, and they end up in the bin. You can either skip wedding favors altogether or choose very specific, meaningful items they'll truly want as a keepsake from the wedding (a candle, a mini potted plant, local coffee grounds). "Your guests will much prefer a personalized thank-you video from your honeymoon than a keychain or bag printed with your names and date. As a rule of thumb avoid putting your picture or full wedding date on a tote bag or other give-aways," Ohayon suggests, as they typically don't get used. 3The Dance Floor Paraphernalia Confetti, balloons, and glow sticks are great for a fun, fleeting moment, but they're not ideal for the planet. Generally made of plastic, they'll never truly decompose and mount on planetary waste. Opt for edible paraphernalia, flowers, and other sustainable options.

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