Heart-shaped wedding cookies

By Marissa Hermanson

Weddings are beautiful events, but they aren’t always environmentally friendly — just think about all those little details from paper invitations to gas-guzzling transportation. However, by planning ahead, you and your beau can help ensure that your nuptial celebration is eco-friendly.

The type of wedding favor you give guests might seem a minor issue — but the wrong choice could result in significant waste. In lieu of wrapped trinkets, show friends and family your gratitude with an environmentally friendly gift. Here are a few ideas for wedding favors that reflect your commitment to sustainability, from fragrant potted herbs to jars of local honey.

1. Potted Plants

A gift that lasts beyond the honeymoon, potted plants are a thoughtful and environmentally friendly favor for your wedding guests. Head to your local garden store and buy plants in bulk that you can pot at home. If you want to give a low-maintenance plant, succulents are a great option. Or consider fragrant herbs that your guests can use for cooking and garnishing. You might want to dress up the plants by decorating the pot with your names and wedding date.

Low-maintenance succulents make attractive wedding favors. 

2. Seed Packets or Bulbs

For out-of-town guests, opt for seed packets or flower bulbs that friends and family can easily transport home. If you’re a dahlia enthusiast and the flower is making an appearance at your wedding, order a variety of dahlia bulbs. Alternately, packets of wildflower seeds are a fun gift for guests who have property where they can sprinkle the seeds. Just be sure not to distribute an invasive species. (Also, keep in mind that international guests may not be able to transport seeds or bulbs through customs.)

3. Charity Donation + Seed Paper

For the activist couple, donate money to your favorite local nonprofit or environmental cause on behalf of each guest. To make the gift more personal, write a brief note that explains why you selected the organization(s) for your charitable donation. Print the note (with plant-based ink, if possible) on environmentally friendly seed papers that guests can take home and plant later.

4. Edible Treats

Fill Mason jars or recyclable packages with yummy treats for guests to take home. Bake a batch of cookies, harvest local honey or buy fair-trade coffee from your favorite coffee shop. Your guests can savor these treats at home while they remember your special day.

5. Floral Centerpieces

Floral centerpieces can double as favors. For long tables, consider arranging tall, dramatic orchids down the center; for round tables, cluster potted perennials, greenery or lucky bamboo cuttings. Rather than purchasing new vases or pots, buy them used from local thrift stores. Make sure each table has enough plants for each guest to take one home at the end of your celebration.

6. Double-Duty Glassware

Consider using items at your reception that guests can take home. For instance, budget-friendly Mason jars printed with your wedding date can be used to serve drinks (and eliminate disposable cups). Guests can keep their jars as favors and reuse them at home.

7. No Favors

More and more couples are shying away from wedding favors because they’re costly and can have a negative impact on the environment. If you’re providing food, drink and entertainment, there’s no need to feel guilty about forgoing favors for guests to take home.

When it comes to planning a green wedding, favors are an easy place to start. Your eco-friendly approach to choosing wedding favors may help inspire other decisions you make throughout your planning process, resulting in a celebration that’s as beautiful as it is sustainable.

About the Author

Marissa Hermanson is a wedding expert who has been published on The Knot, Southern Living, Cosmopolitan and more. She currently writes for Larson Jewelers, where you can find a wide selection of rings like titanium wedding bands.

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