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Who doesn’t love to keep an eye on trends? We do, and we’ve covered a number of them in the recent past for what’s hot in weddings, multicultural menus, bridal shower themes, and for guests with dietary restrictions (plus a nod to planners who are furthering education to stay on top of the industry). 

So, what’s the next thing? Incorporating eco-friendly touches into your event, to not just ride the green wave but also to show that you embrace recycle and upcycle values. If it’s good for the planet, it’s working its way into event planning, and most likely will save you money, too. Think compostable food, no disposables, cloth table coverings and napkins — the works!

Here are few of the latest and greatest eco-friendly touches that we see at Robert Ryan Catering & Design:

Photo by Mason Photography


Reduce emissions that stem from a stream of deliveries and choose a venue that has everything you need right there: tables, chairs, linens, china, etc. The same concept applies when you hold your ceremony and reception in the same location: less travel! When possible, consider outdoor spaces with natural lighting. Bonus: These trends help you save money.

Photo by Samantha Jay


We’re all familiar with the taste-value of locally sourced foods. But did you know they’re environmentally friendly because there’s less travel and less emissions? And although organic is more expensive, it, too, is better for the environment because it’s grown without toxic pesticides. Selecting reusable or compostable products is great, but you can go one step further and leave an impression with all edibles for hors d’oeuvres: cracker spoons, crostini, mini waffle cones and more — even edible decor

Photo by Bartlett Pair Photography


Make someone’s day and donate your flowers at the end of the evening to an organization such asPetals Please; this organization repurposes them to deliver to local senior citizens in care communities. Shopping locally also means with your florist, too, especially if your florist sourceslocal flowers. Again, if the budget can handle it, organic is best!

Photo by Vanessa Marie Photography


The days of snail-mailed save-the-dates are waning as environmentally conscious couples go paperless. In fact, many are eschewing paper invitations for a wedding website. This trend represents a significant savings in design, printing and postage (not to mention the time it takes to address everything). If you must put something in the mail (Grandma insists!), pick a company that uses recycled papers and veggie-based inks. A fun way to do that is to use seeded paper so your guests can plant the invitations, watch flowers or herbs grow, and reminisce about your awesome event.


Here’s another money-saving tip: Reuse decor throughout the day. With a little planning, you can move decorations from the wedding to the reception, and in some cases (signs with your names, reusable centerpieces, plants, etc.), you can bring them home to enjoy for years. If you end up with lots of unwanted decor, then simply ask your event planner where you can sell or donate them to other couples. 

Photo by Josiah and Steph


This is likely the biggest money-saving, eco-friendly tip: Go vintage or secondhand. You can get amazing bargains and rock a unique look when you shop at stores that specialize in that type of formalwear. Whether you go vintage or not, also consider donating your dress after your wedding. A simple Google search — or inquiry to your event planner — will net you options in your area.

Photo by Ashley Gerrity Photography


The best favors are something that can be used or consumed, resulting in no waste. Try seed packets, small potted plants or succulents, coffee beans, candy or jams, and aim for terra cotta or glass containers rather than plastic. Another great option is to make a donation to your favorite charity instead of party favors. Remember to make a custom sign (on recycled or seeded paper, of course!) to let guests know about the donation.When you think about it, there are plenty of ways you can make your wedding green without stressing yourself out. In fact, you may already be doing more than you think! Ask your event planner for help and advice.


Ready to learn more? Schedule a consultation with one of our event managers today!

Robert Ryan Catering and Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a five-star rating on WeddingWire and has received WeddingWire’s Couple’s Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in a row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venues. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive offers, up-to-date news and recipes from our executive chef.

Nina Malone

Featured photo by Josiah and Steph