A young boy holding a basket of wrapped bird seed for the end of the wedding ceremony. Instead of rice, bird seed is used. The seeds are wrapped in a white throw bag and tied with yellow ribbon.
There are many ways you can have an eco-friendly wedding, starting with the reception. Here are some tips to stay green at a white wedding reception.

Eco-friendly reception ideas

A wedding is traditionally an extravagant celebration where little expense is spared. However, some environmentally conscious couples are now looking to tone down the event in order to respect the planet.

There are many ways you can have an eco-friendly wedding, starting with the reception. Here are some tips to stay green at a white wedding reception:

Rent or reuse

Many items that are used at the reception can be rented, borrowed, or bought with the idea of reuse or donation. Ask your caterer if they have centrepieces for rent. If not, check your local party rental store for display ideas that can be brought back. If you’re buying the centrepieces, consider lending them to a friend afterwards for their wedding or donating them to a local nursing home.


Instead of having just large trash cans around your reception hall, include bins for plastics, aluminium, and glass. This may mean having to deal with taking the recyclables to a recycling centre afterwards, although you may check with the reception hall to see if they have recycling services.


Consider having your wedding and the reception in the same location to save fuel. Advise your wedding guests to carpool or find eco-friendly ways to arrive, such as walking or taking public transportation. (This may be easier if your reception is in a larger city.) Also, try not to use a limo for one or two people (such as the bride’s arrival). However, using a limo to transport the entire bridal party is a great green way to get around.

Food and flowers

Ask your florist to provide flowers and your caterer to provide food from local farms and providers. Asking for tulips from Holland or Alaskan king crab will add to emissions to transport them to your reception.

Birdseed and bubbles

Traditionally, rice is thrown at the bride and groom as they leave the reception as a symbol of fertility. This has been frowned upon in recent years because it supposedly is bad for birds’ digestive system. (According to the myth-busting site Snopes.com, there is absolutely no truth to this rumour; however, they do point out that rice on a hard or slick surface is not very safe to walk on.) However, rice and birdseed are great ways to shower the happy couple with biodegradable celebration. Blowing bubbles are also an option, and the bubble containers can be recycled.

An eco-friendly reception is a great way to show your support for the environment. You’ll also notice a difference in the pocket, as most green ideas are also inexpensive alternatives.

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