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  • Writer's pictureGraylie Events

6 Must-Ask Questions When Picking An Eco-friendly Wedding Venue

Updated: Jan 27, 2022

Over 2 million couples get married each year in the US with over 26,000 of them happening in Washington state. According to the Green Bride Guide The average wedding produces 400 pounds of garbage — that is nearly 1 billion pounds of garbage in a year! In addition, the average wedding produces 63 tons of CO2 — that is the equivalent emissions from 4 people over a year but produced in just one wedding.

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Photographer Tom Fisk | Excavator managing waste in a landfill.

Fortunately, according to one of the biggest wedding trends in 2021 has been sustainability. More and more people are becoming aware of their impact on the environment and working hard to make changes in their day-to-day lives. These changes are being carried into their big day.

One of the first things to consider when you start your wedding planning is the venue. Below are the top 6 sustainability questions you should ask yourself when selecting an eco-friendly wedding location and venue.

1. What is the best overall location to have my wedding?

Obvious questions like capacity, pricing, and availability will come to mind when you first start thinking about your wedding location. When taking an approach that keeps sustainability at the forefront, you should also ask yourself:

  • What is the best overall location that minimizes total travel for my guests? Can I pick a location that results in fewer flights?

  • Am I able to provide group transportation such as shuttles and eco-friendly transportation options such as ride sharing?

  • Is public transportation available and easily accessible at the time of the wedding?

wedding location, wedding venue, destination wedding
Selecting an eco-friendly wedding location isn't as simple as picking a spot off a map.

2. Is it possible to hold the ceremony and the reception in one location?

There are many benefits to holding your ceremony and reception in the same location. In addition to reducing the cost associated with renting two venues, having your ceremony and reception in one place means fewer emissions from driving between locations. It also means you could easily re-use décor (eco-friendly practice and you save money) and you, your guests, and the vendors can easily transition from the ceremony to celebrating at the reception. You are guaranteed to have a smoother transition when you co-locate.

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Co-locate the ceremony and reception to save money AND help the environment.

There are situations where this may not be possible and in those cases, consider providing a shuttle for the guests to take between sites. Using this form of group transportation will reduce the number of cars on the road and subsequently their emissions.

3. What actions does the venue take to be sustainable?

You really want to pick a venue that has similar values as you do and in order to determine which venue that is, you'll have to ask the hard questions. Don't feel like you are intruding or being overly sensitive in this area. You are entitled to ask anything you want when meeting with venues. Some common questions include:

  • Are they certified in any way? (examples LEED certification, IACC Green Star certification, and Energy Start certification)

  • Do they follow a rigorous recycling and composting policy? Can they describe the process to you?

  • What cleaning products do they use? Are they environmentally friendly?

  • What type of lighting or energy reduction measures do they take part in?

  • Have they implemented any operational efficiencies such as reduced printing or automating repetitive tasks?

  • What is their policy for sourcing local ingredients, goods, and services?

  • How do they care for their landscaping? Do they use sustainable methods?

green event venue, sustainable wedding, ecofriendly wedding, wedding venue, event venue
Buildings incorporating greenery on their roof.

It is worth noting that you may find it to be rare for older venues in the greater Seattle area to have any certifications and that is okay. It is much more common and easier to implement on newer buildings. But they should have good answers for many of the other questions. Most of your questions should be returned with solid answers and examples. If most of the questions you ask are returned with a blank stare or are brushed off, then they likely do not take sustainability seriously.

4. Does the venue come with included items such as catering, tables and chairs, or florals?

Another item to consider when selecting your venue is whether they also provide other aspects of the wedding, such as catering, rental items like tables and chairs, or florals. All inclusive packages tend to be the most environmentally friendly.

If they do offer more than the venue, ask them how those aspects of the business are sustainable. A good example for rental items could be asking them about the cleaning products they use. A good example for florals could be asking them what they do with leftover flowers or how they minimize how much floral foam they use. A couple good caterer questions could be asking if they source local ingredients or how do they minimize the amount of extra food leftover at the end of the event.

The answers they provide should have a focus in sustainability and they should be able to go into detail with each of their answers.

sustainable vendors, sustainable wedding, sustainable florals, bridal bouquet, wedding flowers, bride, wedding, wedding planner, event planner
Bride's floral bouquet with locally sourced, in season flowers.

5. Is the venue naturally beautiful?

A venue that is naturally beautiful will reduce the amount of décor needed. Local or national parks are great not only for the beautiful backdrop but also because your reservation fee typically goes to support the local environment and wildlife. To have a naturally beautiful venue does not mean it has to be outdoors with lots of greenery. Places that are just as visually appealing but indoors could be museums, aquariums, or lodges.

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Have you considered having your wedding at an aquarium?

6. Can the wedding be held outdoors?

An outdoor wedding usually meets many of the criteria already listed above. Outdoor venues often have the space for both the ceremony and reception and are naturally beautiful. On top of those benefits, having your wedding outdoors means less electricity consumed, think lighting, heating, and cooling.

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Just married bride and groom.

I hope you now feel more prepared for your meetings with potential venues. Remember, it's important to pick vendors that have the same values as you do. It will make the entire experience that much more meaningful and joyous.

If you enjoyed this post, check out my other blog posts to make your wedding planning easier.

'Til next time

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