Sustainability is growing popularity in the event world as well as other industries. As fires engulf California, icebergs melt rapidly in the Arctic, and sea levels rise, the importance of environmental change is evident. Events have a huge impact (both good and not so good), on the individuals celebrating and beyond as events often leave an impact on the planet lasting much longer. With this in mind, here are 4 ways you can reduce the harmful impact of your next event – whether its for 10 guests in your backyard or for 300 guests out of state.
1. Choose a venue that supports eco-friendly practices.
For instance, Cakebread Cellars is a sustainable vineyard, and the second winery ever to receive the Napa Green certification. From organic farming to extensive water and energy conservation, the eco-friendly systems in place have allowed them to gain recognition in many areas.
Botanical gardens across the nation also offer wonderful options as sustainable venues. Like many of it’s counterparts, the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona offers natural foliage that is maintained year-round so there is no need for excessive floral design or decor in general.
Some venues even offer waste management solutions that reduce the harmful impact of your event such as Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery, and the Palm Event Center, who both offer composting.
When picking a venue, consider whether or not guests are traveling. Minimizing the travel time will reduce the carbon footprint of the event overall. If a large number of guests are traveling for the event, consider providing shared transportation, as well as accommodations near the event venue.
2. Locally source your food, flowers, and rental items.
When considering the sustainability of an event, local vendors should be at the top of the list.
Caterers like Fraiche Catering rely on sustainable efforts to differentiate themselves from the competition. They offer locally sourced meals, hormone-free meats, fresh caught seafood, and they even donate to food banks regularly, supporting the local community.
Caterers who prioritize the planet will also offer eco-friendly tableware further reducing the harmful impact of your event.
Locally sourced flowers and food not only require less energy to transport, but they will better match the venue location. It is also likely they remain more fresh through the duration of the event.
3. Consider what decor items could be re-purposed during or after your event.
Sometimes when we hear ‘vintage’ associated to events, we automatically think of an antique look – but there are endless options when it comes to re-purposed items for your events. Consider the idea of repurposing attire into your wedding by wearing your mother’s wedding dress or using the fabric from your grandmother’s wedding dress to make your dream gown. Perhaps you’d like to use your grandparents bench at the sweetheart table. There are so many ways to get creative with old items that don’t involve digging through bins at your local thrift store. We helped this client use the fence posts from a recent remodel as the seating chart.
Another example of repurposing during your event is multiple brides who shared the same veil for their different weddings. This simple act further deepened their bond, provided additional symbolism to the ceremony, and reduced the harmful impact of several events by repurposing a single item.
Another way re-purposing can be used in event design is by using decor items that the clients can use after the event. Instead of a traditional card box that would typically get disposed of post-event, try a something that you would use in your home after the wedding. A beautiful patio lantern, jewelry box, or a decorative storage box are all great options.
4. Dispose of all waste responsibly.
We know it’s not exactly glamorous to discuss waste when it comes to event planning, but the truth is, events produce large amounts of waste regularly. Some ways to easily reduce the harmful impact of your event by reducing waste is to:
– use reusable plates, utensils, napkins, and glassware
– opt for plated catering that guests order ahead of time
– provide recycling and composting options instead of trash only
– consider a food and/or floral donation service for after the event
There are many waste solution programs that will manage the waste for your entire event, such as Eco-Cycle.