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Easy Ways to Make Your Wedding More Sustainable

 Hey friends! Welcome to Namaste Nuptials— I’m your host, and photographer, Janelle! If you don’t already know me: I’m an avid traveler, an environmental and animal rights advocate, and I’m of Spanish descent. I believe in daily simple acts of kindness, and I am so thankful for my clients, who are always striving to […]

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J.J. Au'Clair shares all about planning your wedding to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly advice, tips, and even vendor suggestions!
Hey friends! Welcome to Namaste Nuptials— I’m your host, and photographer, Janelle! If you don’t already know me: I’m an avid traveler, an environmental and animal rights advocate, and I’m of Spanish descent. I believe in daily simple acts of kindness, and I am so thankful for my clients, who are always striving to make this world a more beautiful and compassionate place.

Today we’re going to talk about ways to make your wedding more sustainable.

Now, I know that “sustainable” is kind of a buzz word right now. So, first I want us to get on the same page about what that really means… Essentially creating sustainability means focusing on meeting the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet also their needs. This concept is viewed from three basis, or composed of  three pillars: economic, environmental, and social sustainability—also more known informally as profits, planet, and people.
I’m personally a huge fan of integrating 0waste and sustainability into my life as much as possible, and therefore my business. The only way we can make a difference is by stepping up and being the change we want to see for our planet. And seriously friends, businesses and corporations will have to follow in suite if we show them with our dollars that we CARE about sustainability in every aspect of life.
Your wedding doesn’t need to be a huge environmental disaster that has no consideration for health or the planet to still be absolutely incredible and lovely. I know that may sound hard to believe right now, but stick with me. It might feel like its really difficult to be completely sustainable in every pillar. But there is always room for development in this department.
That being said, let’s talk about some of the ways you can create more sustainability within your wedding.

Even if you just do one or two easy things, you’ll be making a huge impact.

  1. The easiest way to start, right off the bat is by choosing a sustainable no harm engagement ring & jewelry for your wedding!
    Aurate— All handmade and designed in the USA (New York) with 100% ethically sourced gold and gems. Very modern and sleek, with a touch of abstract.
    Trumpet and Horn  — Absolutely stunning vintage inspired rings, these are classic knock outs.
    Catbird — These are gorgeous and super simple, AND ethically sourced and priced.  Minimalist and dainty, with lots of unique gems to choose from, not just the classic diamonds!
    Soko — Soko is easily one of my favorite brands for your day-of wedding jewelry! Its a women-led, people-first ethical jewelry brand and tech-powered manufacturing platform built to connect artisans in Kenya with the global market. Seriously, my favorite statement items come from Soko, and it feels so good to know that they’re well made and supporting artisans livelihood.
  2. Focus on sustainable fashion!

    Leila Hafiz — Norse female designer. Back in 1997 few fashion brands talked about globalisation, empowerment of women and ethical and eco conscious production from a developing country. The aim to establish this has been a core mission of the entrepreneur Leila Hafiz since she first started her production in Kathmandu, September 1997.

    Pure Magnolia — They have a very bohemian style wedding gown that is completely ethical and sustainable. They’re trying to be responsible to society with ethical choices across the board, from responsible sourcing to locally made, and they stay away from synthetic fabrics!

    Leanne Marshall —A very ethereal look & sustainable practices.
    Eco Age — Sustainable Suitwear for men! Super classic and clean, custom tailored.
    Kirrin Finch — Bad A** women’s suits made ethically and sustainably!
  3. Work with wedding planners who are willing to find sustainable decor (ie. beeswax candles, french linens, natural dyes, ethical and organic florals).
    Lauren Emerson

  4. Organic florists!
    Floressence in the Southeast (my absolute favorite)
    Amy Osaba Design in the Southeast
    French Market Flowers in Atlanta
    Selva Floral in Washington, etc

  5. Working with wedding vendors who practice 0waste and actively give back to the community, like my team and I at J.J. Au’Clair. To learn more about how we give back (10% of the company’s profits are donated every year to organizations supporting civil rights, conservation, and environmental health) check out about about page!
  1. Venues and their sustainable practices, or have ways in which they give back.

    Please think about your venue and to take a look at whether or not they practice sustainable practices and maybe even to look at ways in which they give back. And this one may not always be the biggest thing to focus on, but it is good to think about. In particular being based in the Southeast. I think it’s important to talk about venues and the ways in which they give back specifically around plantations and venues of that nature.

    Historically, plantations have a lot of negative energy and dark histories around them. It’s important to think about this, especially if you’re in a place of privilege. Think about this from the perspective of what that venue or that location stood for in the past and how it can affect people in particular. You wouldn’t probably have your wedding at a beautiful location if it was previously a Holocaust site.

    And if you are really set on a gorgeous venue that is a plantation, consider whether that venues currently practices giving back to the community! Consider whether or not this is a place that now is trying to make active change in what was previously a very dark history for that venue.

    Additionally, if you’re going to be using that venue, consider how you can give back and make an active difference. That way you are not just feeding into a cycle. Think about giving a donation to the Black Lives Matter fund or the Black Mamas Matter Alliance. Or somewhere that can create awareness and continue growth for us systemically in that department.

  2. Most people do this, but please use actual flatware, plates, glasses, and linen/fabric napkins instead of disposables and paper!

  3. Invest in catering that’s organic. Organic food can feel expensive, especially if its fine catering. But what you choose to serve also has a huge impact. Grazing tables and organic wines are a simple option with healthy and incredible food for more casual or luncheon events, or as an appetizer before a full seated dinner. In Atlanta Moveable Feast does such a good job with their grazing tables, as does Grazing Affair. Endive Fine Catering in Atlanta is also a great organic catering company.

That was 8 easy ways to make your wedding more sustainable! So simple.

Of course, sustainability really can have lasting effects if we can translate it into no waste too! Its easy to forget about these things, but after the wedding many couples have so much leftover food, ton of gorgeous flowers, and other decor items that are all-too-often so easily tossed away. This industry is a multimillion dollar market, and all too often we forget about these little things. BUT, there are so many easy ways to not waste after the wedding.
First, you can request (or even require) that guests RSVP, so that each meal is accounted for. And of course, you can donate the leftover food that you know you won’t eat to your local food banks or homeless shelter, or connect with Second Helpings Atlanta (if you’re based in the ATL area).
Second, the florals from your wedding can be saved and shared with those in need! Its so easy, you can make a difference with your leftover flowers by having them distributed and donated to old people’s homes, women’s shelters, and hospitals’ ICU units— or you can connect with Repeat Roses! This is an awesome nationwide organization that will distribute your florals (rearranging them if needed) for distribution at hospitals, women’s centers, etc, or to underprivileged couples who otherwise wouldn’t really be able to afford flowers! The best part about their company is that they also return to pick up the flowers after they’ve died to compost. Its really a full circle organization for the lifecycle of your flowers. What’s more? Oh, most of these donations you make after your wedding can be tax deductible (which is super helpful).

I hope you loved and can begin to implement some of these ideas to make your wedding day more sustainable!

Work with me, Janelle, and my team as your wedding photographers in Atlanta GA & partner with us to give back to the global community!
While you’re here, check out some of our other resources for planning your wedding!

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