Photo by Laura Dawn and Rachel Bench
It is important that your wedding day is a reflection of you as a couple, showcasing your unique love story, values, and beliefs throughout the celebration. Many couples are choosing to incorporate eco-friendly elements into their nuptials to give an ode to an important part of their lifestyle. Not to mention, it is also a wonderful reason to incorporate the beauty of nature into your Charleston wedding ceremony. To help you make your day as unique and special as possible, our wedding planners in Charleston, SC have put together a guide on how to host an eco-friendly wedding that will leave your guests in awe.
Hosting a Sustainable Beach Wedding Near Charleston, SC
Send Eco-Friendly Invitations
Seeking alternative ways to invite your guests to your wedding is the first step to crafting your eco-friendly day. While you may want a large ceremony and reception so that you can celebrate everyone you know, this can lead to excessive waste. Creating a small guest list will ensure that your wedding is as sustainable as possible!
There are countless options for your wedding invitations, and many of them are providing green alternatives to the traditional invite. Many companies will provide the option to print your invitations on recycled paper, and some companies such as Paper Culture even plant a tree for every order they receive.
Botanical Paperworks offers unique seed paper invitations that your beach wedding guests can plant afterward and watch them grow into beautiful plants. Not a fan of paper invites? Opt for wood and upcycled fabric options instead! Electronic invitations are also an option, whether for your save the date cards or ceremony invitations! With these sustainable options, you can start incorporating green changes into your beach wedding before your guests even arrive at the wedding venue!
Choose a Venue That Values Being Green
Deciding on a venue that champions sustainability as a core pillar can be overwhelming. However, doing so will make achieving your dream wedding that much easier. The Wildlife Sanctuary on Seabrook Island, SC provides a memorable way to enjoy and appreciate the surrounding natural splendor of our hidden barrier island. Seabrook Island’s oceanfront community takes great measures to protect the wildlife and environment, offering sanctuary to white-tailed deer, dolphins, turtles, and over 80 species of birds.
Hosting your beach wedding ceremony outdoors will allow you and your guests to fully appreciate the beauty the wildlife sanctuary offers. You and your partner can complete your nuptials under the beautiful Lowcountry sunshine and canopy of palm trees, while fully taking advantage of the natural light. Not only will this reduce the amount of energy you use on your special day, but will also make for beautiful photos.
Incorporate Natural Decorations
Planning your wedding at the wildlife sanctuary will give you plenty of beautiful places to explore. From colorful coral and sea glass to driftwood and seashells, you will have endless inspiration to include these fun beach wedding decorations. Not only are you reducing your waste, but you’re saving money in the process. Plus, you can easily return any borrowed shells once the ceremony is over to keep our pristine ecosystem thriving.
Utilizing nature as your backdrop will reduce the amount of waste you are leaving behind without forfeiting the ceremony’s beauty. Say “I Do” with the expansive Atlantic Ocean just a few feet away. And with the natural greenery and tropical foliage, you won’t have to throw away any decorations from your ceremony at the end of the night. Our serene coastal community will dazzle your guests while still showcasing the bride and groom’s celebration of love.
Donate Your Decor
While there will be plenty of natural beauty to serve as decor for your wedding, chances are you may have to purchase a few decorations to complete your look. You can (and should) still make them fit into the sustainability theme! Reduce the waste of these decorations by making sure they are recycled at the end of the night or stored for later use.
As you are planning your decorations, see if there’s anything that you may want to incorporate into your home such as mirrors, signage, or lettering. These are often beautiful, personalized pieces that’ll go lovely in the home you share with your partner. If not, you can donate them to a charity organization like GoodWill and The Salvation Army or sell them to an upcycling store for someone else to enjoy in the future!
Opt for Sustainable Flower Arrangements
There are countless floral options to ensure the color and beauty of your dreams while allowing sustainability to shine through. While fresh-cut blooms are a gorgeous centerpiece for any occasion, they are not the most sustainable option. Add some color to your tables by choosing a potted plant, such as orchards or spray roses. These plants can have a second life after your wedding planted in your garden or growing in your guests’ homes. You can also incorporate eco-friendly, air-cleaning plants that fight against indoor air pollution.
If you do opt for fresh cut flowers, try to source organic flowers and greens from an eco-friendly local farm. Make a plan for providing them a new home after your reception. There are great organizations available that will donate your flowers to nursing homes and hospitals, where many people can appreciate their beauty even after you’ve celebrated your beach wedding. Your guests can also take home your floral arrangements or potted plants to keep them growing. Ask your local florist about their composting options ahead of time, as many will compost dead plants and turn them into fertilizer so they can grow even more blooms.
Photo by Laura Dawn and Rachel Bench
Choose Your Food Wisely
Food waste is a huge problem faced in the event planning industry, especially when it comes to wedding receptions. Buffet style events often cook excess food to ensure every guest has their fill. But there are many options to reduce food waste and choose more sustainable options. Serving plated meals is a great way to reduce food waste, as each guest chooses in advance the meal they’ll eat and only one is cooked per guest. If you speak to the food vendor before your reception about packing up extra meals, you can donate them to a local food bank, depending on regulations. This will allow even more people to enjoy your food while reducing waste.
Plated meals can also be paired with elegant dishware or china, which reduces the use (and waste) of plastic or paper utensils. Choosing a vendor that has ethically and locally sourced ingredients will reduce the carbon footprint long-distance shipping of ingredients has and help your wedding menu to be more eco-friendly. Plus, you can appreciate the bountiful Lowcountry delicacies that our locals are so proud of! If you desire, choosing to serve a vegetarian or plant-based meal will reduce waste even more, if you feel that’s something you or your guests might enjoy more.
Rent Rather Than Buy
Avoid single-use products at your ceremony or reception by renting products that you may only be using for the day. Many companies provide decor rentals that you can utilize to make the space your own. Utilizing rental companies to rent glassware rather than plasticware, which will not only reduce your waste but also make your party seem more elegant.
Renting linens will give you an opportunity to reduce waste, while also having a wider variety and oftentimes more affordable selection that still suits your theme. These rental companies typically have the products returned to them unwashed after the ceremony, so that will save you time and clean up after your wedding day as an added bonus!
End the Night with Eco-Friendly Favors
It’s a nice gesture at the end of your wedding to send the guests off with a little something to remember your day. While many couples opt for a little frame with a photo or a glass with your names on it, a great option is to choose something edible. Not only will your guests appreciate a little nibble on the way home from the reception, but you’ll reduce the number of products you’ll be using in the process. Better yet, avoid wedding favors completely! Instead, opt to donate the money you would have spent on favors to a charity that is near and dear to you and your partner’s heart.
Hold a Sustainable Send-Off
Most couples end the night walking out of the reception while rice or confetti is tossed in the air in celebration. The pictures that ensue are beautiful but the litter often left behind is not. We recommend opting for a different approach and utilizing a plant-based option for your guests to toss in the air. Rose petals or lavender buds will provide those gorgeous photos, smell delicious, and are biodegradable once left on the ground. Provide your guests with these plant petals to toss as you leave – and they’ll be left with one last glimpse into the beauty that is nature, sustainability, and the celebration of your love.
There are many different ways to plan an eco-friendly beach wedding, but we encourage you to strive to do your best rather than achieving perfection. It’s the little changes that will have a big impact! Having a sustainable wedding should be more about carrying the thought and intention throughout the planning process to reflect you as a couple.
Our wedding planners in Charleston, SC are here to help you plan the perfect eco-friendly beach wedding, from the venue to the very last detail. Contact us to learn more about hosting your dream wedding at the Seabrook Island wildlife sanctuary.