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Today’s eco-conscious brides and grooms are stepping up to do their part to minimize wedding day waste.
Event venues and vendors are putting more effort into being eco-friendly, as Lauren Kay, an executive editor at The Knot, a leading wedding publication, told The Associated Press.
“A lot of vendors are really educating themselves on ways to be more sustainable in an effort to meet demand,” she told the AP. “We’re seeing across the board much more interest and recognition around sustainability.”
The wedding magazine updated its annual Real Weddings Report for 2021 in February, which revealed that one in five couples said they incorporated “sustainable elements” to make their “wedding eco-friendly” last year.
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Nearly 70% of the 15,000 couples surveyed by The Knot told the publication they did or plan to – if they have a wedding in 2022 – include environmentally friendly activities and decor, such as buying secondhand or upcycled items, using recycled paper and minimizing single- use products and food waste.
Nearly one in three couples think that vendors “should be more proactive in providing eco-friendly suggestions” in addition to providing “transparent” sustainability practices, The Knot’s annual wedding survey also reported.
Sustainable wedding services that have caught couples’ eyes include wedding attire consignment or thrifting, accessory rentals, post-event food donations, faux flowers, recycled invitation paper, biodegradable products and clean energy sources.
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The Associated Press cited a real-life couple, Lena Kazer and Quinn Alvarez, of Los Angeles, as an example of one that held a sustainable wedding.
On Saturday, May 21, the couple tied the knot in their backyard with 38 of their closest friends and family.
They opted to use their household furniture in place of seating rentals, minimal floral decor, thrift-store ornaments, batch cocktails and recyclable or compostable dinnerware, including utensils, cups and plates.
Kazer wore her sister’s wedding dress and her mother’s veil, which gave the items a second life.
“Both of us are a little disgusted by the extravagance of the wedding industry.”
The couple also skipped a dress code, so guests could wear what they wanted instead of having to buy new outfits.
“Both of us are a little disgusted by the extravagance of the wedding industry,” Kazer told the AP. “We agreed we would use the resources that we have and avoid buying anything that we will not continue to use.”
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More than 2,492 miles away from Kazer and Alvarez in the northeast are Kate Winick and Sean Ir of New York, another eco-conscious couple who practiced sustainable wedding plans.
For their Sunday, May 22, wedding, Winick and Ir told the AP they planned to get married in Northport, New York, with a backyard wedding.
They opted to ditch anything that would only be used once or could end up in a trash bin in the near future, the couple said.
Items that could not be skipped were bought secondhand.
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“I do not think living sustainably means you need a crunchy aesthetic,” Winick told the AP. “It just means using what is already in the world. The most sustainable purchase is something that already exists.”
While sustainability continues to catch on with couples in the US, wedding spending is nearing pre-pandemic levels.
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The average cost of a wedding in 2021 was $ 34,000, which was in line with how much couples reportedly spent in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic pushed families to downsize events, The Knot calculated.
“When looking at those whose weddings had less than 50 guests, the average day-of wedding cost was roughly $ 15,000, whereas those with more than 100 guests averaged $ 38,000,” The Knot wrote in its 2021 Real Weddings Report.
Researchers estimate that more than 1.9 million weddings took place in the US last year.
It continued, “Cost also greatly varies by region, where the South averages $ 26,000, with cities such as Orlando spending $ 25,000 on their ceremony / reception spend, while cities like Boston spend $ 40,000, driving the Northeast average upwards of $ 36,000 for day-of cost . “
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The wedding market research and forecast company Wedding Report, Inc. – which isn’t affiliated with selling wedding planning products – estimates that American couples spent $ 27,063 on average when they tied the knot in 2021.
Researchers at the company estimate that more than 1.9 million weddings took place in the US last year.