For my final post about wedding sustainability (see my thoughts wedding menus and wedding invitations) I wanted to tackle a particularly prominent wedding component: décor. As an industry veteran, I understand this all-encompassing part of your wedding day. It’s the element that will you keep you up at night, pinning ideas, endlessly scrolling Instagram for more, and frantically consulting your wedding team and friends about how to make your vision a reality. Wedding design is truly an art, and thus something completely worth being revered. And the best way to look at your design decisions through a sustainability lens is to understand what happens to your wedding décor after your day is over, and to remember the three R’s: recycle, reduce and reuse.
Let’s start with those stunning floral arrangements. There are a growing number of floral recycling organizations (such as ReBLOOM and New Dawn) that will pick up your flowers after your wedding day, carefully rework them into new bouquets and deliver them to a charity or local community organization. Florals that cannot be repurposed are transported to a compost facility to create soil.
If you choose to reduce the use of florals by opting out altogether, consider mixing it up and featuring an edible centerpiece, nested on a three-tiered tray and artfully arranged with your pick of savoury or sweet treats for your guests to snack on throughout the night. (cheese flowers, anyone?!) You can also replace florals with household plants, so your guests can take them home and enjoy them well beyond your day.
As for reusing, there are a number of ways to purchase used wedding décor items or sell yours. From Facebook Marketplace to Kijiji, there are abundant opportunities to search out someone who is selling 100 pillar candles, or a donut wall base for much less than you would spend for brand-new pieces. And all the while, you can rest assured knowing you’re reducing substantial waste. If you want to pay it forward after your wedding, you can even resell the same items to another couple or give them away to a charity that hosts events.
Finally, keep in mind the life cycle of your wedding favours and the likelihood all 200 guests going to want or use the same item. Instead, an extra edible treat or a donation to a charity that is meaningful to you as a couple will be just as welcomed by your guests, while having greater potential to make a big impact on the environment.
Natalie Ho has worked in the hospitality industry for 15 years and is currently is the director of event sales for Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality. She has personally planned 350+ weddings and momentous events. Both creative and business-minded, Natalie is dedicated to growing her events business in out-of-the-box ways.