Guest Post by Ari Demboski of Elevati LLC
There’s no question that being eco-friendly is becoming the norm, but how can we continue celebrating these major life milestones while still being a conscious consumer? Now more than ever, more people are turning around and looking at the waste that massive celebrations create. Between florals, food waste, one-time-use gowns, and everything else a wedding needs – the average wedding generates approximately four hundred pounds of trash. You read that right, four HUNDRED pounds! When the pandemic hit, elopements and micro-weddings became popular. As a result, people began to realize the multitude of benefits that come with having a small conscious wedding. Engaged couples were forced to question how much really goes to waste at the end of the night. Additionally, younger generations are vividly aware of the climate crisis and are choosing to live with the next generation in mind. Whether it’s for financial savings or environmental motivation – eco-friendly weddings are in and they are here to stay.
Implementing eco-friendly practices into your special day is rewarding but not always an easy feat. Luckily, there’s an ever-growing niche in the wedding industry – the green wedding industry. During your vendor search, you may find businesses that focus on sustainable practices and advertise themselves as such. Sustainable wedding vendors may not always brand themselves as “sustainable,” so it’s important to ask questions and do your research. For example, a catering company that utilizes the farm-to-table method is by definition more sustainable but they may not use that exact word. Another example would be choosing a business that works with locally grown flowers as opposed to imported flowers. While the flower supplier may be local, they may not show up when you type “sustainable flower company” in the search bar. Patience is quite important when committing to hosting an eco-friendly wedding especially if you’re limited by your location.
Rural areas may have less variety in vendors so be ready to improvise – it may take longer to figure out where to rent a photobooth or find a composting company. If there is a lack of sustainable wedding vendors in your area, ask your local businesses if they could implement some eco-friendly alternatives for you. For example, ask your florist to leave out the floral foam and opt for moss and chicken wire instead! Odds are that they will be more than willing to accommodate. Another way you can implement sustainability with a regular catering company is by opting for a plated meal instead of a buffet style meal so that the chef can measure out the amount of food needed. There are so many changes you can make for your big day but the thing about sustainability is – there is no way to do it all perfectly. Add on any practices you can handle mentally and financially, but don’t stress about being perfectly zero waste unless that’s your ultimate goal!
As an event planner and sustainability professional, the goal is to curate and execute the perfect wedding plan that fits your needs without using an excess of resources. With all of the stress of wedding planning, allow someone to do all of the not-so-fun parts so you can say yes to the dress and enjoy your engagement party! Sustainable event planners know what to look for to find the perfect fit for your special day. Thinking outside of the box, analyzing, and crunching numbers is a normal day in the sustainability field so if anyone can help you accomplish your eco wedding dreams, it’s us! As mentioned previously, the green wedding industry is rapidly growing and sustainable wedding planners are popping up all over the country. By hiring an environmentally driven wedding planner, you’re paying for us to cut your stress—and bill—in half.
Ari Demboski is a professional wedding planner based in Charleston, South Carolina, and is the founder of Elevati LLC, which specializes in sustainably driven event planning and set design. She is also a producer of the Re-Fresh podcast, which aims to motivate and equip listeners to take the leap and enter the sustainability field with stories and advice from peers, professionals, and trailblazers. This podcast emphasizes that careers aren’t always linear, especially in the field of sustainability. The podcast can be found on Spotify and SoundCloud, and is a collaboration between the PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies (PSEG ISS) and WMSC – a non-commercial, alternative rock and talk college radio station owned by Montclair State University.