Make a Difference With These Earth-Friendly Wedding Vendors
The generation that introduced "twerk" and "selfie" into America's everyday vocabulary is starting to tie the knot, and this wave of brides and grooms are breathing new life into charity and environmentally conscious wedding planning. According to a poll done by the Clinton Global Initiative and Microsoft, 66 percent of millennials say there's solid evidence of global warming, and about three-quarters of those respondents say it's because of human activity. In addition, studies have shown that millennials are more involved with causes they care about—meaning they're both aware of their impact on the Earth and doing something about it. Which brings us to the rising trend in choosing environmentally conscious companies for wedding planning and gift registries.
If you're looking to plan an earth-friendly wedding, there are so many vendors to choose from that range from flower and dress donations to charity contributions and more. We gathered some of them to get you started (don't forget to look for earth-friendly vendors in your area!).
Paper Culture is committed to sustainable production, pledging that it won't cut down any existing trees to create their cards. Instead, the cards are either made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper or alternative non-tree fibers. The paper company also launched its own sustainability initiative called Cards to Trees, where a tree is planted for every order placed (the customer can also dedicate it to anyone they want), with the hope of eventually planting one million trees.
Bella Figura offers beautiful wedding invitations that are also sustainable thanks to materials that include 100 percent tree-free papers and vegetable-oil and citrus-based solvent inks. Beyond that, the company recycles everything used to create the invitations (to reduce waste in landfills), uses wind-powered energy at their headquarters and donates surplus paper to art teachers. Bella Figura also encourages customers to donate a tree upon placing their order, which the company matches. Seriously, this company does everything.
Choose the eco-friendly invitation option at Tiny Prints for pretty designs that use recycled papers. The company also has a partnership with American Forests to restore parts of the Deschutes National Forest in Oregon that were affected in a lightning fire in 2012, helping plant pine and fir trees across an amazing 2,000 acres in the forest. Just think, you can order paper goods and contribute to forest growth at the same time!
The Windmill Paper Boutique offers eco-friendly paper invitations as well as stand-out, non-paper alternatives you wouldn't think of using in your wedding suite, like wood, cork, metal, plastic and acrylic. Even its vegetable-based inks are environmentally conscious! And in an effort to support eco-friendly business, The Windmill Paper Boutique selects wind-powered printers to manufacture the products. So you'll get the small-business attention to detail, with the big-brand know-how for a total win-win.
Not only is Vaseful a beautiful flower service that ships nationwide, it also provides a unique source of employment and interactive environment for disabled members of its community. Vaseful will work with you to design the perfect flowers for your wedding style, from bride and bridesmaid bouquets to centerpieces and ceremony décor.
Based in New York City, Repeat Roses collects flowers after a wedding, repurposes the arrangements, and delivers them to residents and patients in nursing homes, hospice care and shelter facilities to help to spread the joy from your wedding into the homes and bedsides of those who could use a little extra cheer. Leftover greenery and unusable flowers are composted rather than thrown away in the trash, so nothing goes to waste.
Available in New York and Boston, Rebloom is the pay-it-forward of florals, working with event planners and brides to repurpose flower arrangements. Before the event starts, Rebloom collects the floral details (such as price and quantity) from the original buyer, picks up the arrangements post-event, rearranges the florals using the best quality blooms, and then resells them the next day at up to a 90 percent discount. A portion of proceeds from this exchange is donated to a charity of the event host's choice. Both sides of the transaction are done online, while buyers are notified of newly available arrangements through a subscription-based newsletter in a flash-sale style.
Eco-friendly registry shopping isn't the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about your newlywed wish list—but it could be! Coyuchi's home products are made with only natural fibers, the least amount of processing possible and under the strictest environmental standards. Who doesn't love the idea of jumping into a bed outfitted in layers of 100 percent organic cotton linens?
By registering for Macy's authentic artisanal home goods you'll get the peace of mind that the artists and craftsmen who made them are being fairly compensated through its fair trade collection. The collection features pillows, hand-woven baskets, cocktail napkins and more, providing steady income and economic relief to the artisans.
If you're a couple who's lived together for awhile and are falling short on items to put on your registry, consider supplementing or replacing it with the option of giving to charity. The I Do Foundation is an online destination for couples to create a registry that allows guests to donate to a charity of their choice instead of buying a traditional gift. This is also an amazing opportunity to honor a loved one or a cause that's meaningful to both of you.
What's better than the gift of wine? Vino that gives back. ONEHOPE wine donates part of their sales to various charities and social causes—and has donated more than $1.5 million to date. Each wine varietal supports a different charitable cause or organization including breast cancer research, Autism therapy, educating girls and clean drinking water initiatives.
Inspired by a family member, Emily's Edibles donates a portion of its proceeds to epilepsy research, specifically in women. The pastry shop offers sweet treats perfect for favors, from fudge to cookie bars and more. The favor box can even be customized with a photograph, illustrated design or a sweet good-bye note to your guests.
Not only are truffles delicious, but Truffles for a Cause donates proceeds from your purchase to a charity of your choice. Pick out a cause from their expansive list of national or local charities, such as the American Heart Association, Stand Up to Cancer, Operation Smile and the ASPCA, or suggest one of your own. The truffles are perfectly packed for a favor table, and finished off with a ribbon in a color that represents your chosen charity.
Mama Ganache is an artisan chocolate company that abides by Fair Trade certification, sourcing its cocoa beans from certified organic farms. The company also supports Project Hope and Fairness, a nonprofit created to foster sustainability for African cocoa farmers and help them maintain their business and livelihood. Have fun with these adorable chocolates by color coordinating them with your wedding color palette for a delicious (and socially responsible!) favor.
By meticulously tracking its diamonds' origins, Brilliant Earth guarantees beautiful, conflict-free stones that are mined under strict environmental and labor standards. Taking its mission one step further, the company also donates 5 percent of its profits to charities that help communities affected by the diamond industry. A diamond that's responsible really shines.
Do Amore's ethical engagement rings and wedding bands are manufactured from 100 percent recycled precious metals, and then paired with conflict-free diamonds. Not only is the ring environmentally friendly, its ring box is as well! And every ring purchase provides two people with clean drinking water for life, as Do Amore donates a portion of its profits to digging clean water wells.
An evening snack served by the dance floor is a great way to pump some energy back into the crowd—and cookies are a tried-and-true favorite, especially when the proceeds go to pediatric cancer research and clinical trials. Choose from Cookies for Kids' Cancer's 10 gourmet flavors to reenergize your friends and family at the tail end of your reception, and let them know they're supporting a great cause.
Dessert buffets are trending in receptions everywhere, so why not supplement yours with goodies that donate to an organization as meaningful as St. Jude Children's Research Hospital? Feed Your Soul offers 19 different flavors of cookies (in bulk or individually packaged), all certified Kosher dairy.
Yes, your alcohol can be environmentally friendly too! VEEV offers carbon neutral spirits, as well as organic, ready-to-pour cocktails like coconut coladas and, the classic crowd-pleaser, margaritas. In addition to the earth-friendly wind-powered distillery, 1 percent of all sales are donated to rainforest preservation and environmental initiatives. Cheers to that!
You can donate previously worn veils, headpieces, sashes, boleros, shawls, jewelry and—if you can part with it—wedding gowns to The Bridal Garden. You can also buy your wedding gown at 75 percent off the original retail price from its shop and have the proceeds go to educating disadvantaged children.
The fellas can get in on charitable dressing too! Sixty percent of sales on select men's ties at Mountain and Sackett are donated to Autism Speaks. Pick one of the handmade ties that sports a pattern using the charity's signature puzzle piece.
At Brides for a Cause, you can donate your wedding gown to its Wish Upon a Wedding organization—a nonprofit that provides weddings and vow renewal services for couples going through terminal illness or a life-altering situation.
Brandon Kidd Photography donates 10 percent of proceeds from its photography packages to an organization of the client's choice. Every time you look back at your wedding photos, you'll get that extra-fuzzy feeling knowing they also represent giving back to a meaningful cause.
At Studio EMP, you can help endangered species just by smiling for the camera. The photography company encourages people to stay informed of wildlife welfare by working with Big Life Foundation, a wildlife and endangered species preservation foundation, and donating a portion of its profits to the foundation.
Fearless Photographers is made up of individual wedding photographers who donate a portion of their proceeds to any of the multiple charities they partner with, including Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children and the Environmental Defense Fund. They're impressing us with their goal for 2015: to reach $100,000 in donations!