How to Plan a Planet-Friendly Wedding Function

When it comes to having a dream—and green—wedding, it turns out you actually can have your cake and eat it, too. Read on for advice from Kristen Gosselin, owner of KG Events & Design on Martha’s Vineyard and a certified sustainable wedding professional, on how to be kind to the planet as you navigate your nuptials.

Illustration by Bett Norris

Find Like-Minded Vendors

Not all wedding planners, florists, or caterers outline everything they’re doing to be sustainable on their website, Gosselin says, so it might take more than a Google search to find out whether a pro prioritizes being green. When you’re reaching out to potential vendors, directly ask them how their processes take sustainability into account. “Include that question in your initial email asking about their availability and pricing. They should have an answer or even a separate run sheet of some of those things,” Gosselin says.

Book the Right Venue

There are a number of ways a venue might prioritize sustainability, but if you’re looking for a property that’s also energy efficient, Gosselin recommends seeking those that are LEED certified. Venues with these certifications “often already have LED lights or a lot of glass that allows them to take advantage of natural light” and reduce energy consumption, Gosselin says. But word to the wise: Simply because the building itself is “green” doesn’t always mean the internal practices are, too. “Ask where menu items are sourced from and if the catering team composts,” Gosselin explains.

Think Fresh and Local

When it comes to food and florals, try to incorporate items that are in season and available locally. Not only is working with caterers and florists who source from your region better for the environment, but it also often results in a higher-quality product. “Flowers do much better when they’re cut closer to your event date versus traveling for a few weeks before they even arrive at your floral designer,” Gosselin explains. Similarly, when it comes to your meal, “What can be sourced from local farms is usually a lot more flavorful than what is coming from across the country,” she says.

Prioritize Simple Swaps

“I think it can be overwhelming to [try to do] everything right. Any little step is a step in the right direction,” Gosselin says. For example, in the planner’s contract she always includes a clause stating that single-use plastics must not be used. So instead of serving drinks with plastic straws, Gosselin swaps in biodegradable straws made from agave plants. Likewise, rather than putting plastic water bottles in guests’ welcome bags, she includes boxed water. “The more we all start thinking of these small steps, they’ll start snowballing.”

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