I spent 9 years in the wedding industry as a wedding planner… its crazy how much waste goes into one wedding. With an average guest count being about 175 people thats more waste in one event than an average family’s household in an entire month.
I used to cringe at the amount of disposable cups, empty bottles and cans that would get thrown away. Most of the time there was no recycling happening. Just right in the trash.
Not to mention food waste. Ive seen an entire garbage can be fill with plate scrapings. A lot of caterers wont even save the leftover food because they don’t want the liability of food born illnesses if the food wasn’t properly reheated. Where does it go? In the trash.
With an elopement we may have some trash from the picnic i pack for my couples. but no more than an average person has on the daily. And when I pack the picnic i strive to pack things in reusable containers and buy drinks that are in a glass container. And trust me… all the food gets eaten
No guests to travel, thats a huge change. Most weddings are 100-300 guests … Imagine 100-300 guests travel to and from your wedding by car or by air, which causes huge amounts of carbon emissions. With Elopements you have the couple, myself and maybe a handful of guests but thats rare. As we adventure we carpool … but mostly hike.
Most may wonder why purchasing things like invitations and ceremony programs are a big deal, but the reality is that many of the paper and packaging options aren’t made from recycled materials and are generally trashed right after the wedding. It’s wasteful and, at times, harmful to the environment.
These products will also have to travel to get to your guests’ homes! When eloping sending out wedding invitations or printing up dinner menus isn’t necessary; simply creating an online website with all of your details is more than enough if you’re inviting a handful of loved ones or announcing your nuptials. Hey some even choose to announce on social media. If you really want to send something tangible for your loved ones who like sentimental things like that.. you can use recycled paper products to help reduce any form of waste.
Flowers are a large part of weddings. In my years as a wedding planner this was one of the most valued element to most brides. Typically thousands of flowers in an average wedding day… elopements have maybe a few dozen.
I shed many tears when seeing those thousands of flowers just getting tossed after only several hours of use. I did my best to repurpose as many as I could … sending them home with vendors, bringing them to family and friends, and filling every room in my home with as many as I can take. But still so many get tossed. And I can imagine some planners and venues are just fine with tossing them all.
Think about the amount of chemicals and traveling emissions required to produce and deliver flowers for thousands of weddings happening every weekend (before COVID of course).
Cutting this alone from your wedding day makes a huge difference.
When I create flowers for my elopements I try to locally forage as much as I can, then i hit up some local growers to produce just one bouquet and one boutonniere. Now … I don’t shed any tears for trashed flowers.
“Leave it better than you found it.” It means that it’s our responsibility to take care of our environment, that way we can do our part to preserve nature’s beauty. It’s the simple act of doing things because it’s the right thing to do, which is a big part of the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.