Earth Day on April 22nd reminds us to be a little more eco-conscious of the world we live in. However, being sustainable and considering our planet’s resources should be something that is thought of year round! One small step is looking at how you can be more sustainable for your wedding. And no, you don’t have to wear a burlap sack and expect all your guests to go barefoot.

Photo by Cattura Weddings

There are a lot of ways we can plan weddings with an eco-friendly approach. A great way to start is to work with vendors who are like minded in their green initiatives so they can guide you in the right direction. As members of the Green Wedding Alliance, Naturally Yours Events has a network of amazing vendors who all have a green perspective on weddings.

Let’s look at some ways you can have a more sustainable wedding!


Paper Goods: It’s okay to have paper for your wedding, just be responsible about it!

Photo by Allison Williams Photography, Invitations by Botanical Paperworks

Online save the dates or an online RSVP for your invitation will cut down on the amount of paper you use and it will save you some money too! Other ways your paper can do double duty is with your ceremony programs. Choose to have a sign with the ceremony details instead of printing anything or just have enough programs for every other person since most guests come as a couple or a family.

Go one step further with your invitations and choose a vendor that prints on seed paper so your guests can plant your invitation after the wedding is over! Additionally, pick soy-based inks and invitations without metallic, plastic finishes that are harder to recycle. Then, keep your invitations to a minimum and share information for other details on your website instead of having individual paper inserts (like info on hotels, transportation, and welcome parties).


The Bar: Go Local and Reduce Plastic!

Photo by Ed & Aileen Photography

Chicago has so many great local options for craft beer plus sustainable wines & liquors. Plus you’ll pay more homage to your city that will be fun for guests!

Skip the individual plastic water bottles during ceremony and instead offer guests a water station with fun flavored waters with glassware or compostable cups!

Recycle, recycle, recycle. Don’t let those aluminum cans and glass bottles end up in the trash by checking to see if your venue and/or bar staff recycles.


Beauty: Natural is beautiful!

Going natural doesn’t mean you have a bare face. You can still doll yourself up and choose a vendor that uses cruelty-free, vegan, or natural products and tools.

Photo by Anna Zajac, Makeup by Nika Vaughan Bridal Artists


Catering: ‘Tis the season to eat eco-friendly!

Photo by This is Feeling, Catering by Big Delicious Planet

When it comes to food always try and eat based on what is in season and what is local. For your wedding menu, choose lots of veggie options or a full vegetarian meal as the amount of water and energy used is significantly higher for meat options.

Work with a caterer that composts and recycles, like those that are a part of the Green Wedding Alliance. Additionally you can hire a composting service like Collective Resource to work on responsibly disposing of your food waste.

Rentals like plates and glassware are going to be more sustainable than using disposable plastics or paper goods. But if you need to use disposables for your dessert or appetizers, consider using biodegradable or compostable products like bamboo plates and utensils.


Favors: Less is more!

Let your favors serve double duty as an escort card, offer a favor that is a consumable tasty treat, use as little packaging as you can, or skip the favors all together and consider donating the funds you would have used to an eco-friendly charity!

Photo by This is Feeling


Florals: Eco-friendly never looked so good!

Let’s get this out of the way first – flower foam is a no go. It’s toxic, made of mostly plastic, and there’s way better alternatives that florists can use.

As with food, choosing local and in season flowers will always be more sustainable and cost effective. Then make arrangements to donate your wedding flowers or choose centerpieces like potted plants that can be easily given away as favors to a lucky couple at each table. It’s also a great idea to make sure you’re working with a florist that composts all organic waste at the end of the night.

Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography, Florals by Flowers by Stem

Hopefully, these few ideas will help you take a step in the direction of having a more sustainable wedding. Looking for more tips? We’d love to work with you on your green wedding vision! Let’s connect but first let’s all go appreciate being outside on this beautiful Earth day!