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How to Plan a Sustainable, Eco-Friendly Wedding Without Sacrificing Your Style

Updated: Feb 14, 2023

Want to have a big party celebrating your love without leaving a big mess behind on the earth you love? We've got you, Barn brides! You absolutely do not have to sacrifice beauty, elegance, or your unique style in order to host a sustainable event. Keep those gorgeous details, simplify your planning process, and reduce your impact on the environment by being conscious about the amount of waste you leave behind and produce in the first place! No longer do weddings have to have the reputation of wasted paper goods, discarded florals, or excess food to be thrown away the next day.

Here are a few ideas we've seen implemented and have fallen in love with. Not only are they eco-friendly, but they'll likely save you time and money! These five tips are easy to pull off and a great place to start even if you wouldn't describe yourself as a huge environmentalist. Remember, small actions can have a major impact! If you want to take it even farther, just do a quick Google search on ways to make your celebration more sustainable and less wasteful. We've loved seeing brides go green while planning the day of their dreams!

bride and groom at Aspen Acres
Riley Winter Photography

1. Bridesmaid dresses. Unfortunately, bridesmaid dresses can be expensive and are typically only worn once. When choosing a bridesmaid dress, we recommend looking for something that can either be worn again (ex. neutral colors) or has been gently used by someone else! As the leading social marketplace for new and secondhand style, Poshmark is a great place to not only sell your worn-once dresses, but also to buy them. Having slightly different styles or colors for each of your bridesmaids has been trendy lately, and giving your girls a little more freedom to choose their dress means a higher chance that they'll genuinely like it and want to wear it again in the future!

bride and bridesmaids laughing
Riley Winter Photography

2. Cost sharing. At the Barn, we often book multiple weddings in a weekend. Last year, we had an interesting situation that turned into a great idea! We were able to connect two brides whose weddings were booked back to back and who were both looking to save money. In this case, it worked out perfectly because they had similar visions for their decor with greenery as centerpieces running down the tables. Rather than the first bride throwing everything away, they made an agreement and she left the greenery for the second bride to use the next day! This not only cuts the cost for both parties involved, but all that pretty greenery gets to be used and celebrated more than one time! Feel free to ask us to connect you with another bride in the same weekend if you'd like to try a cost sharing approach. It never hurts to ask! Another fun option to avoid throwing those beautiful florals out the following day is to donate them to a senior center or organization around town- they'd love to see those beautiful flowers too!

3. Thrift, borrow, and ask around. Although this can be a tedious task, it's usually worth it! Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration, and you would be shocked at how easily and affordably you can often make your dream "Pinterest wedding" a reality by putting in some time at local thrift stores. Also, don’t forget about your friends and family who want your day to be just as perfect as you do- - ask them if they have anything similar to the pieces you're looking for! It’s amazing the unique things people have laying around in their garage or storage units from previous events, so make sure to ask around and see what you could borrow before you buy. Trends come back around, and you might discover something with some extra sentimental value that will make your day even more special. There's a great Facebook group called Black Hills Wedding Exchange we would be happy to invite you to - - just shoot us an email!

4. Consider your decor for later use. Decor can be such a costly and wasteful part of your wedding, but you can avoid complications by considering how your dream wedding style matches your preferred home decor. For example, pampas grass has been popular in both weddings and interior design recently, so you could dry and preserve yours with minimal effort and cost to enjoy it for years to come. There are also countless ways to use your wedding bouquet or have it made into something new that you'll cherish forever - - check out Etsy for ideas! You'll feel better about what you're investing in your decorations when you know how you'll incorporate them into your life later, and then they'll always have a sentimental meaning!

5. Think simple + timeless. Modern minimalism is a huge trend in the wedding industry right now, but it goes deeper than that. When booking your dream venue, take time to contemplate how the place fits your style and personality. You can save money and ditch many wasteful decorations if you have a timeless venue that fits your wedding style and can be personalized with a few unique touches!


reception table setting
Riley Winter Photography

Hosting a green, eco-friendly wedding doesn't mean missing out on the wedding of your dreams - - it simply means being thoughtful and intentional to make small changes that have a big impact. At The Barn, we've come to the conclusion that simpler is often better! Some of the most gorgeous weddings at our venue have focused on the beautiful Black Hills scenery surrounding us and have had minimal decorations. We may be a little biased, but the Barn truly speaks for itself with a little less! While it's specifically designed to be a blank slate and showcase your unique style, we've also found that small details and personal touches make all the difference to enhance the clean lines and open space that we fell in love with while creating it. Not to mention; a little less decor to design, pay for, set up, and clean up can take a whole lot of stress off of you during the best weekend of your life!

We hope these suggestions helped to sprout a few green ideas in you!


The Barn at Aspen Acres

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