Sustainable weddings— like all weddings— are hard to plan, yet (mostly) wonderful to experience. What can you do to take your dream wedding to a new, sustainable level? Enter the microwedding!
What is a Microwedding?
A microwedding is exactly what it sounds like: a small wedding, usually with less than 50 guests. This makes room for a more intimate, detail-oriented, and lower-cost event. Microweddings consist of a quick ceremony followed by a quick and low-maintenance reception, if the couple should choose to have one at all.
“More is not always necessarily more,” says event planner Stefanie Cove. “A microwedding is for the couple who wants to. . . spend the majority of their budget on the smaller details, whereas it might be difficult to replicate the same experience for, say, 200 guests.”
Now, you may be thinking, how exactly is that better for the environment?
How Microweddings Drastically Reduce Waste
Weddings nowadays have an average price tag of at least $30,000, with most wedding guest lists having upwards of 150 people on them. Thankfully, smaller-scale ceremonies like minimonies, microweddings, elopements, and even virtual weddings are becoming increasingly popular, while guest lists continue to shrink. This is especially valid during the gathering constraints prompted by ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to the fact that a microwedding slashes the guest list by roughly a third of a traditional, big wedding, waste is dramatically decreased as well- plain and simple!
Here, sustainability comes by size. Your microwedding doesn’t need to tout any newfangled sustainable wedding invitations, be planned by a sustainable wedding planner, or be located in a particularly sustainable venue. Because of how small it is, the wedding you host may be more sustainable from its attendee size than a bigger wedding that hits sustainability in other areas.
Buy Your Wedding Food Locally
Weddings are a big deal, we know. But providing for hundreds of your closest friends, family members, and strangers you met one day in the park often means that the resulting affair isn’t very sustainable. Most large wedding caterers do not prioritize minimizing their carbon footprint.
Due to the use of fresh, out-of-season produce coming from long distances— all the best to serve with your filet mignon— traditional catering tends to be worse for the environment. And even after your meal, a 2017 study conducted in the United Kingdom found that about a tenth of all that delicious wedding food gets thrown away.
Instead of compromising on the menu, a smaller wedding can allow you to become more proactive in the specific details of your big day — including for the meal-planning portion of the reception. Look for delicious in-season dishes that can be made with locally-sourced ingredients for your shorter guest list.
Do research on how your caterer sources their ingredients, or speak with the farmers that provide them with the produce. Additionally, don’t overwhelm your guests with huge portions of each course that get wasted, and consider giving ‘doggy bags’ as wedding favors for all that extra wedding cake. When accommodating certain diets, keep in mind that plant-based meals also have lower impact on the planet, so definitely aim for something in that realm of foods if you can!
Reduce Your Guests’ Carbon Footprint
If you’re expecting all your guests to fly out to attend your wedding, then you should also consider ways to minimize your guests’ dramatically increased carbon footprint. After all, a single long flight emits as much carbon dioxide as some people do throughout the course of a whole year. In fact, shorter flights even trump the amount of annual carbon dioxide released by someone living in Uganda or Somalia.
But wait— there’s more. The aviation sector is also one of the fastest-growing sources of emissions globally. While it currently accounts for only 2% of global emissions, researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University predict that emissions could triple by 2050.
The Key Takeaways
While having a microwedding is better for the environment than traditional weddings, sustainability is not perfectionism! Most importantly, a wedding is about celebrating an important milestone with someone you love. And if that milestone just happens to be greener, well, that’s something to celebrate, too.
All in all, a microwedding is a good compromise between sustainability and convenience. Cut down on the combined carbon footprint of your guests AND get them to your ceremony ASAP. Enjoy your day of love and your tiny cake, too!