WEDDING TRENDS MAY SHIFT WITH THE SEASON Wedding trends may shift with the season but a couple bits of advice remain evergreen. The first is to remember that by the day of the event, the plans that you've put into place will either unfold as hoped or they won't, so the best course of action is to savor what goes right and laugh about anything that goes awry — this advice may come in useful for the actual marriage, too. The second piece of guidance applies universally as well: Align your celebration with actions meant to preserve the planet, not harm it. This may require a bit more thought, but it won't mean lessening the charm, beauty or meaning of your special day.

First, decide what you need. What you really, truly, need. Hint: An officiant, a witness and some vows, plus a place to recite them is all getting married actually requires. Of course, most people want to share the day with a proper party, which requires a venue, flowers, decorations, food, drink and music. Consider what you want the day to be about. Is your primary goal to impress people with how much money you spent on the event? Or is it celebrating your commitment to another person with the friends and family you love the most?


Destination weddings can be a kick, but if you're inviting more than your immediate family, consider holding the ceremony closest to where most guests live to reduce the overall carbon footprint of your nuptials. If you can find a venue that emphasizes sustainability, even better. Look for LEED certification, solar panels or other ways a place shows evidence of environmental stewardship. Book somewhere that works for both the ceremony and the reception to avoid additional driving. Venues that offer in-house rentals for chairs, linens and decor will also help reduce driving and shipping.


Humboldt boasts several floral designers who grow their own flowers. Use them and request that they don't use Styrofoam in their arrangements. Have friends with large gardens? Ask them for flowers. Have your own backyard and green thumb? Perfect. You might also consider working with a local expert to incorporate native plants into your design. In addition, there are many ways you can reuse flower pieces from the ceremony for the reception, so nothing goes to waste.


Whether your vibe is rustic or posh, get creative by searching our many local thrift shops or putting the word out to locally focused social media buy/sell/trade groups to find items that can be repurposed for your big day. Glean ideas off the internet beforehand or, if you doubt your own creative skill, hit up your artsy friends. If you must buy new, choose items that can be reused. Remember: Plastic is nobody's friend. Whatever you do, skip the balloons. They're literally litter on a string.

Dishes, utensils and drinkware

Plastic trash lasts forever, breaking down into tinier and tinier pieces that have infiltrated every aspect of our planet. Show the world some love and avoid the temptation to bring single-use plastics into the dining portion of your guests' experience. Besides, nothing says tacky like plastic plates and forks. If you're able to rent, great. If not, opt for non-plastic reusables. If you must go single-use, look for items made from minimally processed, naturally occurring materials, such as paper-based items, bamboo plates and wooden utensils. Beware of plastic-lined paper items, as these are neither recyclable nor home compostable. Stainless steel cups — perhaps customized with your and your loved one's names — are a win. Even aluminum cups can be reused multiple times and are typically easily recycled.


Planning enough-but-not-too-much food challenges even the most experienced party thrower. If you're hiring a caterer, pick one that focuses on local, seasonal fare — easy to do in Humboldt — and work with them to figure out how to ensure everyone is fed and what will be done with leftovers. Venues that compost food scraps are a bonus. To really go green, skip the meat and dairy. If a vegan reception is a no-go, at least minimize the animal offerings by emphasizing local produce and plant-based proteins.

Wedding favors

You don't have to give people gifts for attending your wedding. This is a contrived trend dreamed up by those in the wedding industry who make more money by convincing you to buy more stuff. That said, if you want guests to have souvenirs, strive for simple, practical, reusable, sustainable. Consider writing handwritten notes for each guest or provide reusable straws that can be used at the event and beyond.

Wedding gifts

Getting married means receiving gifts. Sometimes those gifts turn out to be items that are bad for the planet. Help make sure presents align with your values by providing sustainable suggestions. Have a registry? Make sure items are eco-groovy and span a range of price points. Or, while less exciting than unwrapping, you might encourage people to contribute to a honeymoon or household fund, giving you more control over consumption and avoiding packaging waste.

After all, you want your memories and your marriage to last, not the trash from the party.

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Jennifer Savage

Jennifer Savage

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