Zero Waste Weddings vs Elopements

Alright, we're past the craze of the holiday season. It's now time for me to focus on planning this wedding. A zero waste wedding certainly feels like a daunting task. 

And, with most things in life and especially zero waste, there are no right answers. There are rather an array of choices ranging from good, bad to worse. All of these decisions have to factor into your time, budget, and location. 

If we had a large budget, we'd easily be able to hire a caterer to take care of everything. We are not this fortunate, and it will be more of a DIY wedding. In that case, time becomes our biggest hindrance. Not the amount of time we have to plan, rather the amount of time we'll have to spend transporting and cleaning up on the day of the event. 

Of course, I've wrestled with the idea of eloping on more than one occasion. Eloping would definitely be the easiest way to have a zero waste wedding. It would be small, private, and you could just go out to a really nice restaurant afterward. Even as I type this, I dream of the simplicity. 

On the other hand, our families are scattered all across the US. This might be the only time they ever actually get to meet each other, and that feels really important. But, instead of throwing a large bash, we're going to focus on immediate family and close friends. 

I feel that this is the easiest way to keep it under budget and as low waste as possible. The average wedding has 150 people and produces 400-600lbs of trash! That's crazy, and that's only the trash leftover at the end of the night. I can only imagine what the upwaste stream on an event like that is. 

goals for a zero waste wedding: 

have under 2lbs of trash:

I honestly pulled this number our of thin air. I don't think I've made two pounds of trash in the last two years, but I'd rather be proud of myself rather than disappointed.

I'm not going to be in control of a lot of aspects of the event... as much as I'd like to be. I'm relinquishing the power and letting other people handle it. I'd much rather relax and have a good time than worry about small details out of my control. 

figure out a way to compost all food scraps:

I don't have municipal compost in my city. Instead, I'll need to figure out a way to get it taken care of in a city that does have municipal compost. I can just imagine me and my bridesmaids running around town throwing compost into random people's green bins. 

This is definitely a logistic I'm working on....

forgo useless party favors:

I mean, does anyone really need a favor? When I go to an event, wining and dining me is the best favor you could give. I don't feel that there's any reason I should be given anything more than that. However, I would love to hear your opinion. 

Is there a favor you've gotten and loved? Do you love party favors? 

buy second hand or borrow when possible:

The obvious things that come to mind are the wedding dress and decorations. We're trying to streamline design as much as possible to reduce unnecessary resources being used for decorations. 

I think the best way to do that is to book a unique venue that doesn't need to be dressed up too much, especially since we'll probably be hauling everything. The first "r" of zero waste is to refuse. I'm going to let my inner minimalist shine. 

focus on people and loved ones rather than things:

I'm most excited about our families getting together. I think with so much love and happiness in the air, the decorations will be the least of my worries. I'm sure having plenty of wine will help too. I really just want to throw a fun party. 

stay under budget:

Oh, California. That's all I really can say. I have been fortunate to find some pretty awesome vendors though and to have lots of amazing and creative friends. 

have fun:

The most important thing! HAVE FUN. I am going to have so much fun during this process. I'm going to make the most conscious choices that I can, but I'm not going to sweat it. 

Remember, it's not about perfection it's about making better choices. In fact, I'm considering getting compostable plates for the event, so I can spend time enjoying my wedding night instead of washing dishes. 

I haven't made my mind up yet, but I'm considering it. I'm also still considering eloping. 

Have you been to or thrown a zero waste event? What tips would you give me?