What to Rent, Reuse, or Donate for an Eco-Friendly Wedding

What to Rent, Reuse, or Donate for an Eco-Friendly Wedding

In honor of Earth Day, we’re excited to share everything you can rent, reuse, and/or donate for an eco-friendly wedding! A few things may just surprise you. Wedding vendors are, more and more, exploring sustainable alternatives from flowers to the food. And beyond that, new companies are popping up that offer creative solutions that are just as good for the earth as they are totally chic.

{photo above: @fashion_jackson captured by Jordan Voth in a jumpsuit she rented}

Before we get into the details, our top tip when it comes to planning a sustainable wedding is to first partner with vendors who are devoted to doing good for the earth + giving back. Your dollars have an impact and its important to take stock of where you decide to spend them. If you’re not sure how to find vendors who value ethical practices, send a note and ask! Are they willing to source sustainable materials? If you want to recycle items, are they able to help facilitate? It may take a little more research on your part…but we’ve got that covered, of course. Read on — and happy Earth Day!

What to Rent

Rent Your Wedding Dress

rent your wedding dress

This one is exciting. YES you can RENT your wedding dress! Dare & Dazzle has a small but mighty collection of gowns all available to rent at less than half the price it is to buy. Dresses range in size from 2-20 and are named after strong female leaders to enhance the style and empower brides on their big day. You can try the gown on in person or opt for the mail order Try On option to have 3 dresses sent for a 3 day period! Plus – they also offer an extensive collection of bridesmaid rental options–a true hail mary for the many bridesmaids whose closets are already full– as well as accessories to complete the picture-perfect look.

photo: Caresse Gown for Rent

Rent Groom + Groomsmen Attire

The Black Tux

And we all know the guys can rent. So many grooms + groomsmen from our real weddings rent their attire, and we’re not talking from the same mall retailer where you got your prom look. We love The Black Tux, for example, and home try-ons are completely free.

Consider this: Looks we Love from The Black Tux

Rent the Bridesmaids Dresses

And let’s not forget the ladies! Rent the Runway has the best selection of bridesmaids dresses for rent, including this fave – the Verbena Gown by Reformation. And our favorite thing about Rent the Runway is that you can see how the dresses look on real bodies of all shapes and sizes. You can even filter the reviews by height + weight to see how the dress looks on someone who shares your body type!

Rent Your Wedding Flowers

You better believe it: you can rent your wedding flowers! Silk blossoms that look just like the real thing are on the rise. Check out Something Borrowed (as seen above) or Wedding Flowers for Rent. (And if you’d rather have real blooms, don’t worry! There are still ways to have eco-friendly wedding flowers…more on that in a bit.)

Another earth-friendly flower trend: The Rise of Foam-Free Floral Design

Rent Decor + Furniture

Bougainvillea Wedding Styled Shoot

This one is a given, perhaps even a necessity! Wedding rental companies offer a broad spectrum of offerings to create a cute boho lounge or a rad ceremony backdrop. Our GWS Preferred Wedding Artists are a good place to start if you’re looking for items that are always unique and on-trend.

rentals: Witty Rentals | photo: Brogen Jessup Wedding Photography from this Mexico-Inspired Wedding Editorial

Rent Linens

Garden Bohemian Wedding

Don’t forget the linens! We love La Tavola Fine Linen because they’re wide array of rentals can totally MAKE the design. (Don’t believe us? Check out those velvet napkins above!) They are based in California but available nationwide, AND they’re currently fabricating isolation gowns, masks, scrub caps, and plastic face protectors for health heroes. Great products, better hearts.

linens: La Tavola Fine Linen | photo: Vienna Glenn from this Southwestern Boho Wedding

Rent Ceramics + Table Top Pieces

And to coincide with those dreamy napkins you just picked out? A few killer place settings. We love modern ceramics for an updated + elevated tabletop design!

photo + plates: Greystone Table |  be sure to check all the amazing rental companies we love here!

What to Reuse

Furniture from Home

Lakeside Washington Wedding

Here’s a great option in addition to renting: reuse the furniture, rugs, and pillows! Either pull what you already have in your home stock, or if you just NEED to buy that velvet couch, make it do double duty as the center point of your wedding lounge.

photo: Marcella Laine from this Boho Wildflower Wedding

Potted Plants

Modern Urban Jungle Home Tour

We love plants. You love plants. Your guests love plants. There are many ways to use potted plants in your eco-friendly wedding (more below), and if you don’t give them away to guests, bring those babies home!

More resources:
How to Incorporate Potted Plants Into Your Wedding (and Home After!)
The Best Wedding-to-Home Plants for Beginners

photo: Shelby Rae Photographs from this Urban Jungle Home Tour

Make a Keepsake with Your Wedding Bouquet

Yes, you can reuse your wedding bouquet! Soil + Soul is one company who will take your wedding flowers and give them new life and a new use. We love this preserved floral ring holder!

Vintage Place Settings

vintage plates

We’ve seen a few couples who prefer to collect vintage finds rather than rent. We love it! Not only is it a sweet way to reuse, it brings a certain depth to the day — unearthing items that were loved in a past life. (And another idea if you don’t want to rent: try a compostable place setting like this couple!)

photo: Angela Mae Photography from this Western-Meets-European Wedding

What to Donate

Donate Your Wedding Dress to First Responders

Made with Love 'Billie'

Listen up, brides. If you’re not one for nostalgia, you can donate your dress (and then file a tax deduction for it). We’re particularly moved by Brides Across America, where you can send off your dress to military personnel and first responder brides.

photo: Angela Mae Photography from this Western-Meets-European Wedding

Donate Wedding Food

wedding grazing table

First, try to find vendors who source local food, recycle and /or compost. Then, don’t let that good food go to waste! Just be sure to call local food banks and shelters first. Centers may have certain restrictions on what they can accept. If you can’t donate, find a compost plant (your local farmers market will have resources) or a friend with a garden. At the very least, see if your caterer will box up food to send home with guests at the end of the night.

photo: Emma Hill Film & Photography from this Boho Glam Wedding Inspo

Donate Wedding Decor

modern pink escort display

How do you wedding decor into eco-friendly wedding decor? List items for free on Craigslist/OfferUp/Facebook Marketplace…you get it. Or sell them! Just don’t throw them away — a second life is a good life.

photography: Jenn Emerling from this Palm Springs Wedding

Donate Flowers

Funky Pastel Desert Wedding

Chat with your florist about sustainable floral options (locally sourced is a good place to start). When the day is over, see if they will help facilitate donating centerpieces to a local hospice, nursing home, or shelter.

florals: Layered Vintage | photo: The Zamudios from this Painted Palms Wedding

Donate Leftover Wedding Favors

succulent favors

Depending on what they are, we love the idea of donating leftover wedding favors to women’s shelters. Chat with your planner to see if they have any ideas!

photo: Autumn Nicole Photography from this Boho Wedding with a Surprise

Bonus Idea: Register to Make a Difference

Tree People

Donate your wedding registry to a charity with The Good Beginning: “A place to begin your marriage by doing good.” TGB was created to bridge the gap between the $100 billion wedding market and organizations in need around the world. Browse the featured organizations or add your own! (Environmental charities this way for all the earth-conscious couples.) We love this platform because it streamlines charitable donations that otherwise would have cost couples time, stamps, and phone calls. Basically, they do the work and everyone benefits!

PS: This is a WONDERFUL way to give back to locals if you’re planning a destination wedding or elopement.
{charity above: Tree People}

Here are a few more resources to help you plan a beautiful eco-friendly wedding:

10 Ways to Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding

7 Sustainable Alternatives to Confetti at Your Wedding

And a few of our favorite sustainable real weddings:

This Couple Got Creative with a $20,000 Budget for Their Woodsy DIY Wedding!

Waste-Free Wedding in Andalusia with a Tunnel of Dried Palms