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Eco Friendly Ways to Reduce and Re-Use Waste After Your Wedding

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 9 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
Green Wedding Eco-friendly Wedding

Weddings are undeniably a very special day. However, weddings these days are more extravagant and costly then ever and couples can end up with an awful lot of waste for just one day. The key to reducing and re-using before and after your wedding is careful planning and thinking ahead.

If you want to go all out on a green wedding, and feel that you don’t have time to organise things yourself, many wedding planners these days specialise in eco-friendly weddings. However, a wedding planner is by no means necessary and in fact the simpler you keep your wedding the less waste there’s likely to be.

Wedding Outfits

For many brides a big part of their wedding day is the dress. However, it is a shame to spend a lot of money on a dress to only wear it for what is essentially a few hours.

Rather than getting a brand new dress you could consider getting a vintage or second-hand one. This is an increasingly popular option as couples try to keep their costs down, and brides want a unique look for the day. Vintage dresses can be extremely stylish and offer an unusual alternative to an off-the-peg modern dress.

If you absolutely must get a new dress, try to get one made from a recycled fabric and come up with ways that you can get more use from the dress. Many women like to save their dresses to pass on to their daughter or future generations. You should ask for expert advice on looking after your dress so that it does not spoil in storage.

You can also make the wedding dress into something new, such as a Christening gown for a child, or a cushion or pillow as a wedding keepsake.

It’s fairly common for men to rent their wedding outfits, but it’s worth considering for brides as well if you’re not bothered about keeping the dress for years to come. Make sure you take plenty of good quality photos on the day.


Instead of sending out card invites, why not send an e-card by email and/or set up a website for your wedding? This cuts down on a lot of waste paper and you can always send an invite only to those without computer access. You can still get beautiful electronic invites designed, and can even add details such as music.


Flowers can be an expensive part of any wedding. One way to cut down on flower waste is to see if another couple marrying on the same day at the same church as you would like to share flowers. You can then decide on flower colours and styles which match both your weddings.

If this isn’t possible try to arrange to use the same flowers for the wedding and reception so that you don’t have to pay out twice.

After the wedding, you could dry and press the flower petals and use them to make handmade thank you cards for your guests and/or incorporate the petals into your wedding scrapbook or photo album.

Alternatively you could organise in advance for someone to take the flowers to a local hospital as soon after the wedding as possible, so that they can be given out to patients.


There will almost always be leftover food at a wedding. In the first place it’s a good idea to order the food with restraint, as people never eat everything there.

You can encourage guests to take home leftovers if they will eat them, or donate the food to a local soup kitchen or shelter straight after the wedding.


Firstly think about whether you really need favours. They can be a nice touch but they’re often something that the guests never really use again.

If you do go for favours, avoid disposable cameras. It’s better to get some digital photos taken on the day and make an online album which guests can log into.

Go for favours which are not personalised with your names as then any leftover ones can be reused for a future party, passed on to another bride-to-be or sold on a site such as eBay.

With some thought it’s fairly easy to reduce and re-use at your wedding and still have a day to remember.

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