Turning Weddings Green with Keen Events

Eco-Friendly Wedding Shoot
April 27, 2021

Before the world stopped, one single wedding would produce an average of 400-600 pounds of waste. That alone was reason enough for me to make a change in my business. As I started doing research to learn more about what changes I should make, I learned that 78% of couples are interested in including more eco-friendly elements into their wedding—and a few years later, I can only imagine that percentage has increased.

During COVID-19, our couples organically made the shift to more sustainable events by mindfully opting for smaller guest counts, incorporating local foods, and choosing backyard weddings or single venue locations. The wedding industry has been forced to shift, and now intimate elopements and micro weddings are becoming the norm. As a wedding pro, we can encourage our couples to go green. Additionally, we can optimize our own businesses by implementing green practices and continuing the momentum of this shift. As we return to full-blown wedding season and work to balance the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we can optimize our wedding business to be more intentional and sustainable with some really subtle changes.

Eco-Friendly styled Shoot
Photo courtesy of Lauren Miles Photo

One way we can help couples is by encouraging them to make small changes that may not have been socially acceptable before. Couples can continue to opt for paperless invites (as we've seen them do over the last year), but a paperless invite doesn't mean that your bestie calligraphist is no longer needed! Stationery and flat lays are an important element of any wedding day and you can still work with these artists to design the day-of paper goods.

What about offering to live stream your client's event for out-of-town guests? This can cut down on total guest count and travel, but don't forget to add Zoom support into your chargeable services! Or, pair your couple with a videographer who offers this on as an add-on for a small additional fee.

Continue to encourage rentals, small guest counts, local vendors, and single venue locations as we have over the last year. In doing so, we're encouraging our couples to be more thoughtful, deliberate, and mindful in their decision-making and planning process. Prior to COVID-19, couples may have felt pressured to have their wedding at a certain type of venue or to invite their entire team from the office. We're helping our couples make events more true to them, and in turn, end up producing more meaningful and sustainable events.

photo of couple holding watering can and watering plant (left), eco friendly invitation suite (right)
Photo courtesy of Lauren Miles Photo

Another simple change businesses can make is making the choice to continue having virtual meetings. We may have formed a tradition or habit of meeting for a coffee or chai before heading into a venue walkthrough, but as we get back into planning, we can continue to opt for more virtual meetings. I know, I know, I’m sick of Zoom too. But maybe not every meeting needs to be in person. As a wedding professional, consider updating your proposals and services to include limited in-person meetings that are supplemented with virtual meetings. Save on gas, save on parking, and save the earth one virtual meeting at a time.

letter with leaf holding gold wedding rings
Photo courtesy of Lauren Miles Photo

Have you couples look into hiring sustainable vendors! Ask your florist if they compost and ask your catering company if they're using local, fresh ingredients. You can also be more sustainable by using a rental company or borrowing décor second-hand from a friend instead of purchasing it new. In lieu of favors, make a charitable donation to an earth-friendly organization or neutralize your carbon footprint by purchasing carbon offsets. As a wedding vendor, you can do your best to recommend sustainable vendors and become more sustainable yourself. You can help yourself appeal to a large audience, or even a niche audience, by offering free eco-friendly consultations as a perk to your couples. Commit to learning and trying green practices and encourage your "friendors" to do the same.

Pro Tip: Green weddings and green businesses are achievable. Set small milestones and then as you achieve one, set a few more.  

With date changes, guest count changes, and nonrefundable deposits, Covid couples and wedding vendors have been put through the wringer. We’re starting to see the light at the end of this very dark tunnel, but as life starts to open back up, we have to make the decision to grow and change from this time. We were forced to slow down and be more intentional with our time and decisions, and that’s one takeaway I hope we can keep practicing in our wedding businesses.

paper runner with 'At Last' lyrics written on them (left), bride smiling holding bouquet (right)
Photo courtesy of Lauren Miles Photo


Design & Rentals
Power of Love Rentals

Keen Events PDX

Lauren Miles Photo

Gavin Brown Media

Everett West

Artemis Foods

1927 S’mores & Sloshy Pops
@1927smores & @sloshypops

Floral Design
Gifford’s Weddings

Potted Plants
Red Leaf LLC

Paper Goods
Letters and Dust

Bridal Wear
Brides for a Cause

Groom's Attire
The Black Tux

TreeMyriah & Swank Metal Smithing

Hair & Makeup
Jovana Combs

See more of this gorgeous green wedding here


Hero photo courtesy of Lauren Miles Photo


About the Author

Elise Handler
Elise Handler
Owner & Lead Coordinator of Keen Events
Keen Events is a boutique planning, consulting, and coordination company located in Portland, Oregon. As Oregon's first green-certified eco-friendly wedding planner, Keen Events proudly specializes in sustainable events with attention to personalized wedding days and unique, memorable guest experiences. They serve all couples and all forms of love throughout the Portland metro area and the beautiful PNW.