5 Tips for Hosting a Sustainable Wedding

Congratulations! You are engaged! It's time to get to wedding business! Now that the immediate excitement of your engagement has set in and you begin your wedding planning bidding, you'll realize one major truth: weddings can costs a whole lot of moolah! We’re sure you’re already aware of this, but what if we told that your wedding planning dollars could help others and the environment, regionally and globally with very little effort and thought?

The world of eco-friendly and socially conscious wedding planning is so much more than you may think. There are vendors, products, resources, services and design inspiration at your fingertips that will help you take your WEDDING CHANGE and make WORLD CHANGE! We’d like to share 5 tips to help your wedding planning process be more impactful to your community, as well as the environment.

1. Seek vendors that give back to the community and earth.

The average U.S. wedding costs nearly $30,000. With over 2.6 million weddings performed in the U.S. annually (and growing), that is a lot of wedding dollars! BUT, what if the vendors you choose for your big day ALL donated 10% to charity, or donated 10 hours monthly to the local community garden? Wouldn’t that lift a little bit of the burden in your planning process knowing you’re investing in wedding professionals that value helping others, too?

2. Invest in eco-friendly, socially conscious, and ethically made products.

In today’s culture of World Changing Millennials, it is not hard to find consumer products founded with a mission of sustainability and giving back: TOMS, Sevenly, Feed, Warby Parker, Lush—the list goes on.

The same socially conscious rules apply for wedding consumerism! There is a whole world of earth-friendly, socially conscious, consumer-minded, AND wedding related products out there at your disposal. With a little digging, you can find really amazing/ high-quality wedding day swag, with super big purpose. A few examples include: Celia Grace Wedding Gowns, Purpose Jewelry, Purse and Clutch, Bow Taye, Give Cookies, and Hotels for Hope.

One small decision at a time can eventually make all the impact in the world to our planet and people in need. What decisions will you be making?

3. Advocate from the heart.

If you aren’t truly passionate about something, then there is no reason to blindly support it.

Reflect on what you and your significant other are most passionate about, and incorporate it into your Big Day. Maybe its rescue dogs, disaster recovery, human rights, environmental organizations, veterans, education, human trafficking, or homelessness. Whatever the passion, share your heart with your guests. Here are few ways:

  • Open a fundraising registry (or crowdfunding page) via So Kind Registry,, I Do Foundation, or Go Fund Me.
  • Incorporate your sustainable, socially conscious, or ethical theme into your wedding design. For example, add books, apples, and chalkboards if education is your cause.

4. Think about the wedding clean-up.

We often times don’t think about it, but there is a lot of waste/excess that goes into a wedding celebration. Reduce that waste by donating your leftovers (not just food) to help others. Here are few ways to help:

  • Donate leftover flowers to Random Acts of Flowers, Floranthropy, or Repeat Roses. They will pick up your leftovers and deliver to nursing homes, hospitals, etc. or compost the next day if they aren't salvageable.
  • Find a homeless shelter, Waste Food non-profit, or a food bank willing to take your leftover meals, or at very least, set out compost bins for the remaining leftovers.
  • If you receive duplicate gifts, half-way houses are always in need of home goods, as well Art Therapy non-profits and similar programs.
  • Recycle what you can—paper goods, glass, metal, plastic—it can all be put to re-use. The Broomsmen is an Oregon-based company that actually takes all the leg work out of it for you, so you can enjoy your event and know your waste is being put to good use. Whatever is remaining that you don't have use for, donate to local thrift stores, or consider selling it at 
  • Consider donating your dress to a consignment store, or organization that assists a cause, like Brides Against Breast Cancer.

5. Continue to give back and live an eco-friendly lifestyle!

Make it a part of your new marriage’s foundation, so that as you grow together in love, you are also growing in loving others and your planet.

So, now what…?  You've been thoroughly educated and empowered to make a big difference in the way you decide to plan out your wedding. Baby steps are all that matter at this point. One small decision at a time can eventually make all the impact in the world to our planet and people in need. What decisions will you be making?

This article was written by Danielle Calhoun, wedding photographer turned humanitarian, speaker and socially conscious wedding blogger, who founded Black Sheep Bride in 2014. After traveling to several developing countries to photograph non-profits, orphanages, and social impact projects, she often came home conflicted about the wedding industry she was supported by. Black Sheep Bride was born to highlight the amazing people in the wedding world that use their love to serve others and the environment.