Saying ‘I do’ to the love of your life while also declaring your love for Mother Earth is the most meaningful way for eco-conscious couples to start a life together. A green wedding is not only unique and creative; it is also less expensive than traditional weddings. If you’re considering having a green wedding, you’re likely in search of ideas to reduce consumption and waste on your special day while still allowing you to have the amazing wedding of your dreams. Happily, having an eco-friendly wedding reception doesn’t mean everything has to look cheap and drab. With resourcefulness and imagination, you can create a lovely and meaningful wedding reception. Here are some tips.

Have your reception at an eco-friendly venue

Looking for the perfect eco-friendly wedding venue is always a challenge that may involve hours of venue research. An indoor wedding is often less eco-friendly because of the big carbon footprint required for lighting, air conditioning, and other factors. You can search for eco-friendly wedding venues on green travel websites.

Having an outdoor wedding reception is literally a greener option—the outdoors provides natural light and natural foliage as décor. Choose a venue where you can hold both your wedding ceremony and the reception to cut down on transportation costs and fuel consumption.

Some fun outdoor wedding venues to consider include a public garden or arboretum, a farm or vineyard, the beach or even your own (or your friend’s) backyard. However, holding a wedding reception outdoors has its potential snags. Be sure to have a backup plan in case of poor weather.

Serve Earth-friendly but delicious food

Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 6.10.41 PMSource: Offbeat Catering via Brides.com

If you’re planning on having a small and intimate wedding, one way to keep your reception earth-friendly is by serving homemade food. You can ask a family member to whip up that heirloom recipe everyone has been craving for. Sandwiches, fajitas and backyard barbecues are great for casual outdoor weddings. Choose local ingredients and grass-fed meats—they taste better and buying them also helps support your local community.

If homemade food is not possible, you can pick an environment-friendly restaurant or caterer to prepare your wedding menu. With a bit of research, you can find a few great options in your location. A vegetarian menu is more eco-friendly but if you don’t want to go totally vegetarian, pick a menu that features more vegetables and some organic protein.

Choose plated meals instead of a buffet to reduce food wastage. Serve organic and locally grown fruit for dessert. Have an organic wine bar complete with a sommelier that can teach your guests about organic wines.

Reuse or recycle decor and utensils

Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 6.10.23 PMSource: Joshua Zuckerman Photography via wedoncanvcas.com

You can easily reduce consumption and waste by reusing materials instead of buying new ones. Some options include borrowing a friend’s wedding reception materials or renting china and silverware to use at your reception.

Decorate your wedding reception with reusable and eco-friendly items such as live potted plants and topiaries instead of cut flowers. Bamboo is a very sustainable material and is an excellent décor. With a little creativity, you can even make eco-friendly wedding favors using bamboo.

The wedding and reception are very important milestones in your new life as husband and wife. With these eco-friendly wedding reception ideas, you will not only keep your commitment to protecting the earth, you will also start your married life in the best way you can.

Main image source: Ariston Organic Garden via Pinterest