Planning an Eco-Friendly Wedding With the Nature Conservancy

Alter with florals
April 20, 2022

Did you know that a single, average wedding day creates 400 pounds of garbage and the same amount of carbon emissions as three Americans produce in all 365 days of the year? As eco-consciousness is on the rise, many couples may want to incorporate something “green” along with something borrowed and blue in their wedding planning.

The Nature Conservancy executive (and newlywed) Lowell George has a few tips for couples that want their big day to have a smaller impact on the planet. Bonus: These tips could save couples some cash, too! Who wouldn't love a little more money for the honeymoon?

Choose Local Flowers

Lowell asked her florist to focus on local, seasonal flowers. These gorgeous florals are featured below! Local flowers don’t have to be shipped in and often require fewer resources to grow than non-native varietals. 

Local flowers on a barrel
Photos courtesy of Deb Lindsey Photography

Keep Appetizers Easy

Skip anything that requires utensils for your cocktail hour canapes. Options like olive tapenade crostini or tuna tartare toasts can be eaten without a fork. You’ll have less plastic to throw out, and fewer dishes to clean.  

Quiz the Caterer

Can they find ways to reduce disposable containers? Can they create a menu of in-season, local ingredients? Are there ways to reduce food waste? 

Tablescape and cake
Photos courtesy of Deb Lindsey Photography

Cut Down on Paper Use

Can you consider going digital for save-the-dates? Lowell and her husband skipped individual menus and programs for their guests to save paper. You can even create your own QR code guests can scan for menus.  

Low or No-Waste Favor Ideas

Keepsakes are cute, but are they going to end up at the bottom of the junk drawer once your guests get home? Do the earth a favor and consider giving guests reusable straws or utensils for their next picnic, or seed packs to start a pollinator garden or vegetable patch at home.  

Be Choosy About the Venue

Check to see if the city or municipality of your wedding location publishes lists or ratings of green event venues. Look for features like low-flow toilets, LED lighting, and natural light. 

Alter with florals over looking green hills
Photo courtesy of Deb Lindsey Photography

Travel Light

Can you pick a location that requires the least amount of people to travel? can approximate halfway points within the United States. Lowell also provided shuttle buses from the hotel to her venue to keep cars off the road (and bonus – her guests didn’t have to worry about driving home after drinking and dancing!) 

For the Couple Who Has Everything

Consider encouraging people to donate to an environmental or conservation organization in lieu of other gifts.  

Lowell and her husband looking at each other, bright sunlight
Photo courtesy of Deb Lindsey Photography


Are you interested in contributing to conservation work? Head to The Nature Conservancy to donate!

Planning a wedding with an eco-friendly mindset doesn’t mean that the wedding day will be any less amazing. With a few sustainable swaps, we can all greatly reduce our carbon footprint, and still make memories that will last a lifetime!

Hero photo courtesy of Deb Lindsey Photography


About the Author

Lowell headshot
Lowell George
The Nature Conservancy
Lowell George is a Senior Corporate Engagement Associate at The Nature Conservancy. There, she works with Fortune 500 food, agriculture, and retail companies to create and implement impactful sustainability projects. She is also a newlywed!