Home Uncategorized Brilliant Eco-friendly Wedding Decorations

Brilliant Eco-friendly Wedding Decorations

by Lola

Crafting eco-friendly wedding decorations is not just about minimizing waste; it’s about infusing your special day with the beauty of nature and sustainable practices. Whether you’re exchanging vows in a rustic barn, in a chic urban rooftop, or like we do, in the middle of the Andalusian desert, here’s how to weave eco-conscious choices into every aspect of your celebration.

Eco-up Your Mind First for Your Wedding Decorations 🌿

Wedding decorations can be a big thing, depending on how big your wedding will be and the theme you are planning. But switching to a greener mindset can help to simplify and save some costs too. I know what many of you are thinking: “This is going to be hard work”. And I will not lie. Yes, there is some additional thinking and planning effort if you want a planet-loving wedding, but trust me, it is not as bad as it sounds.

planners and papers
Photo by Natasha Fernandez on Pexels.com

You don’t need to craft everything out of mason jars and burlap, although I am sure you will appreciate the endless creative opportunities a green wedding offers. Trust me, it is well worth the effort so let’s explore some ideas, shall we?

The Right Venue Makes Things Easier

This may sound obvious, but if you have the chance to select a venue with natural beauty, it will automatically minimise the need for additional wedding decorations. Whether it’s a botanical garden, a beautiful beach or a rooftop terrace overlooking the city, let the surroundings speak for themselves and be the minimalistic backlight of your romantic scenery. Who will notice some candles when you have a stunning landscape around you?

covered tables on beach
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels.com

We have done just that! We found a small and unique finca in Southern Spain, located in the desert and surrounded by olive trees. It is An uncommon location, but it is also near where I grew up, between the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. It holds a special meaning for me and has a spectacular view at sunset, right when our ceremony starts. But more about the location in another article 🙂

Furniture & Tableware

Instead of scouring stores for brand-new items, consider renting furniture and accessories from local vendors. We are renting the tables from a regional event company. Prices are very affordable and for a small additional fee, they deliver and collect them for you.

We have been very lucky with the chairs, as we could borrow them for free, from the local council. We need to pick them up and return them once we are done. Thanks, Ayuntamiento!!

If you cannot find any such business around you, websites like  Gumtree, and eBay are great for finding pre-loved pieces with character. In Europe, companies like  Rustic Hire and Bath Vintage Hire offer a curated selection of vintage gems to add rustic elegance to your venue.

And talking about rustic, we are going for an easy country look very fitting to the surroundings so we decided not to use any tablecloths and opted instead for natural fibre placemats. Another win for simplicity! But if you want or need tablecloths, consider natural fibres for your tables, such as hemp, or linen which are the perfect companions for rustic and vintage looks.

Often newlyweds give away or re-sell their wedding decorations: candleholders, signs, vases, guest favours etc. so check out the second-hand sites or local shops. I can tell you that there are very few things that we are buying new. Most decorations and tableware are either borrowed or presents from our married friends or relatives, upcycled by ourselves or purchased second-hand. See some examples in the pictures below.

We purchased this old phone replica on an online second-hand website. It needed a good clean up but it will be amazing for the “Leave us a message” table. I already have a few places in mind where this will go afterwards 🙂

We collected some of the abundant local straw canes and used them to upcycle old lamps and even to build the roof of a gazebo.

The possibilities are endless!

Blooming Beauties

To round out the natural chic look of our dining tables, we’re going all out with local green foliage from lemon, olive, and eucalyptus trees—thank you, Mother Nature, for your regional abundance! We’re mixing in a few seasonal flowers and fruits from local farms to add texture and colour. Bonus: the fruits double as snacks for later!

Another great alternative is potted plants. Not only are they kinder on the wallet than cut flowers, but they also have serious staying power. Keep a few as a living memory of your wedding, or give them away to guests as CO2-eating wedding favours. It’s a win-win: eco-friendly and beautiful, with the added perk of giving your guests something that won’t wilt before they get home.

Furthermore, the owners of the Finca are a very sustainable-minded couple. They bought the place only a few years back and have been renovating it since, turning an abandoned and run-down place into a small oasis. It is full of gorgeous pre-loved and renovated pieces of furniture, tons of indigenous plants and trees, and adornments, that add charm to every corner.

Personal Touches

One of the things I love the most about planning an eco-chic wedding is that I can inject my personality into every aspect of the celebration and of course, sustainable decorations are not an exception. My little helpers and I are bringing unique touches like handmade stationery, renovated furniture, self-sewn linen serviettes, name tags for the glasses and much more. You can already follow many of the ideas on my Instagram account.

If you need to order from suppliers, look for those who prioritise sustainability, for example, for your stationery, look for companies that print on bamboo and recycled paper.

Place Cards

For place cards, get creative with unconventional materials like hand-written leaves or sea glass for a whimsical touch. There are so many incredible ideas out there! But if you are into upcycling, let me show you what I did with ours. You can see the video here. What do you think about those old business cards getting a second chance as romantic name tags??

Create some Magic

Our wedding celebration is outdoors in July, allowing us to use natural light until late in the evening. I am really looking forward to enjoying the unique sunset of the Spanish Andalusian desert. But once darkness falls, we will create a magical ambience with eco-friendly lighting options. Low-energy LED lights and solar-powered fixtures are on the menu!

We will add a few natural wax candles on each table and hang some hand-made mason jar lanterns to the olive trees. This will add to the charming rustic vibe. Of course, if open flames are an issue, rechargeable LED candle lights offer a safe and sustainable alternative to candles.

If your event is happening indoors, do not fret, because pretty much all those options I mentioned can also be used.

Upcycled Wedding Decorations? Try on Banners & Signs

When I started planning the wedding, I was blown away by how many signs we needed. Seriously, it felt like I was opening a small theme park. We needed signs for everything—from directions to the wedding location to the welcome banner and all the bits in between. I quickly lost count but let’s just say we’re looking at enough signs to start a small village 😜.

My initial plan was to go for reusable chalkboards and frames. They add a lovely rustic charm to the venue and, bonus, they cut down on paper waste. But then reality slapped me in the face: our multilingual audience. With guests speaking three different languages, I’d need chalkboards the size of billboards to fit all the text. Imagine lugging those around! Talk about impractical. So a different and more individual approach was needed.

First things first! what can we eliminate?? I went through the list, thinking hard about what we could do without. With our food plan, menus were easy to get rid of, so one less thing 💪. But we still had some more to consider…

The Welcome Banner

For the welcome banner, I needed something big, and after considering different options such as printing on canvas, painting it by hand and a couple of other impractical ideas, I found, a simple solution. Someone wanted to get rid of a new 50 x 70 cm picture frame so I picked it up. Their trash, my treasure!! In the meantime, I have painted it and it will be the proud frame for the welcome sign. The banner itself will be printed on simple recycled paper and the whole thing will stand on my old painting easel. Eventually, we can reuse it later on, to hang some guest wishes and pictures.

Other Signs and Banners

For the most informative signs around the venue, I am opting for printing on recycled paper and DIYing frames from cereal boxes. They have more text and are impossible to fit on a reasonable-sized chalkboard. In this picture, you can see an example. What do you think about the result? Once we are done, they can be recycled again or repurposed. You can follow the tutorial on my Instagram account

Here I want to give a big shout-out to my Green Cloud Nine talented graphic designer, Veronika Kabai. She very kindly helped me create beautiful designs for our wedding decorations that will make many jaws drop 🤩

And that is not all. I also crafted food tags to mark vegetarian, vegan and meat dishes. They will help our guests make the right choices without having to ask what is inside the dishes. And what the heck, they look so cute!!

For these, I used paper leftovers and wooden sticks that I had at home.

Reduce, reuse, recycle!!!!

Confetti? Rice? or Better Something Greener

In Spain, the tradition is to throw rice at the couple at the end of the wedding ceremony. Rice symbolises fertility, abundance and prosperity. But I am not keen to throw food away like this, nor am I a fan of traditional paper confetti, which is not eco-friendly, and will dirty up the beautiful natural surroundings of our location.

So, for our picture-perfect ‘just married’ moment, we have chosen natural olive tree leaves. They fit perfectly with the surroundings of our location, creating a whimsical atmosphere. Plus, they are natural, and will not harm the environment.

If you do not have suitable trees around to use small leaves, a very popular alternative nowadays is biodegradable dried petal confetti. You can choose from a variety of colours from eco-conscious suppliers online or locally. If you feel motivated, create your very own leaves confetti with a punch machine and a lot of patience!!

Share Your Tips

Have you discovered stylish alternatives for an eco-friendly wedding? Share your tips and ideas with us! We’d love to hear how you incorporate sustainability into your special day and wedding decorations. After all, love is in the air, so why not make it a little greener?

For more ideas and inspiration check out some of my other Eco-chic Wedding on A Budget series:

Digital Wedding Invitations

The Pre-Loved Wedding Dress

Lola is the founder of Green Cloud Nine. Nature lover and environmental activist since she was a teenager, Lola has always been a great fan of homesteading. She is continuously experimenting and finding ways to be more self-sufficient and sustainable.

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