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Environmentally Friendly Wedding: Tips for a Sustainable Big Day

Planning an environmentally friendly wedding in Massachusetts can be tough. Any sort of big event is bound to create a lot of waste, and we definitely don’t want to hurt the planet. Thankfully, we’ve been in the business a while and know how to make your sustainable wedding possible. ♻️♻️♻️

You may be asking “What exactly does an environmentally friendly wedding even look like? Is it just recycling your trash? Or will I have to do something that doesn’t fit my dream wedding?” Well, a sustainable wedding here in Massachusetts can be achieved in many ways, from recycling to reducing food waste and so much more!  

Hi, we’re Olio, a modern industrial event space in downtown Peabody, Massachusetts. We’ve hosted hundreds of weddings, and we care a lot about the environment. Our number one claim-to-fame is repurposing our own own historic property. Every other proposal for the abandoned building when it went up for sale in 2017 included a full demolition. We are so glad we were able to save it! I want this earth to be safe and habitable for my kids and their kids and many generations to come so sustainability is a passion.

We strive to make everyone’s dream wedding happen, and we are thrilled when that dream includes a low-waste policy. If that’s what you want for your big day, here are some of our tips on how to make your sustainable wedding a reality.

Two brides holding hands, sustainable wedding decorations, historical wedding venue backdrop
Photo by Seamless Photography

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle♻️ 

Okay, sure, this one is a little obvious – but that doesn’t make it any less important! Start by seeing if there are items that you can use for the wedding that do not involve buying new, for example reusing vintage clothing, sharing wedding decor with friends or neighbors, and cutting anything "extra" you can that may cause extra waste. These are all big parts of keeping your wedding low-waste! It sounds like a no-brainer, but most of the other tips do fall somewhere under this category, so it’s an important one to remember.

Try Sustainable Wedding Outfits👗 

We know the wedding-day outfits are one of the most fun parts of a wedding. While you shouldn’t wear something that you don’t absolutely love, try looking for a garment that is gently used. Upcycle a dress, re-tailor a suit, or maybe see what you can find secondhand! Still White, Nearly Newlywed, Facebook, and local boutiques are a great go-to for consignment or similar. Or, if you want something that isn’t used, try looking into designers that use sustainable methods or recyclable materials in their clothing. There are more and more out there that are incorporating this as a priority.

Local and Sustainable Wedding Cuisine🍽️ 

Food waste is a huge issue with weddings and tends to be a big part of why they get so wasteful. Thankfully, there are plenty of catering options you can choose that will help reduce food waste. Skipping a huge buffet in favor of carefully thought-out plated meals is a start. Buffets tend to create more waste, so smaller portions may help cut that down. If you really want a buffet, you could also consider donating the leftovers to local food bank or fire station that may take them.  Another way to reduce food waste is to shop locally. Working on a farm-to-fork menu means getting your food locally, which can cut down on the carbon footprint that shipping would entail.  

Drinks are another area where this advice applies. Asking your bartending or catering service if they have a selection of local wines or other drinks can help reduce the carbon footprint as well. 

Vietnamese wedding catering, sustainable wedding cuisine, low-waste wedding food

Shop for Local Wedding Flowers 🌺

This one may not be an immediate thought for some people, but learning what flowers will be seasonal and locally available for your big day can cut down on shipping and therefore reduce carbon emissions. If your wedding is in the dead of winter in Boston, Massachusetts, and you want dahlias, you’ll probably have to ship some from somewhere much warmer. Locally grown flowers shouldn’t be hard to come by, and many wedding flowers, such as roses, are available year-round due to farming greenhouses.  

A wedding couple on a staircase, wide holding white rose boquet, sustainable wedding flowers
Photo by Calvin Hernandez

Look for an Eco-Friendly Venue 🏰

We recommend choosing a venue that has the same priorities and values as you do. Events and weddings naturally come with a lot of waste. It's a big one-day event after all. But choosing a venue that cares about the globe and shares your priorities is possible!

A wedding party photo at their outdoor, green, sustainable wedding venue
Photo by Sarah Surette

Use Environmentally Friendly Decor and Invitations 💌

Using sustainable decor is another great way to keep your wedding environmentally friendly. We already mentioned built-in decor and energy-saving lights, but things like beeswax candles, sustainable or recycled centerpieces, compostable materials, or seed paper invitations are great low-waste decor ideas! Another idea is to go completely paperless. Use glass or ceramic eco-friendly plates and electronic invitations.

Simple metal chairs and floral centerpiece on a wooden table, sustainable wedding decrations
Photo by Lindsay Hackney

Opt-in for a Greener Gift Registry 🎁

As you choose the gifts to go on your wedding registry, try to think of items that are sustainable and align with your goals for a environmentally friendly wedding. Bamboo bedsheets, stainless steel water kitchenware, or air purifiers are all good choices for sustainable wedding gifts. Alternatively, you can have a charity registry where guests can donate to an eco-friendly charity of your choice.

Two young people celebrate a sustainability education event, Olio
Photo by Elisa Figueras Photography

Sustainable Transportation 🚌

Consider encouraging people to carpool or use rideshare services to get to your wedding. Putting this information on your wedding website or invitations is a great way to lower carbon emissions on the big day. Bus companies and trollies and rideshare apps are starting to offer EV options, which is the best way to keep your transportation eco-friendly.

Married couple, wedding day, photoshoot by cars near forest, sustainable wedding venue, sustainable transportation
Photo by Polly Sellers

Ecotourism for Your Honeymoon ✈️

If you don’t know already, ecotourism is a type of tourism focused on going to places that strive to be environmentally friendly and preserving the natural world. Making your honeymoon location one of these can help reduce the waste that may typically accompany a large vacation. There are many places to choose from! Costa Rica, Brazil, Norway, the Galapagos – all of these are very focused on keeping things green. So, there’s no shortage of places for you to have your environmentally sensitive honeymoon. 

We hope these tips will help you create your dream low-waste wedding, and we encourage you to contact us to learn more about our venue and our services.  



Sarah Narcus  

Owner, Olio 


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