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10 Simple Ways to Make Your Pittsburgh Wedding More Sustainable

1. Choose LOCAL FLOWERS. The less far your flowers travel, the fresher they will be and the less fossil fuels will be spent in getting them to you. If you're in Pittsburgh, let's talk. If you're elsewhere - use the Slow Flowers directory to find a florist whose values align with yours.

Close up of a flower bouquet, held by a bride in a white gown. Behind her, groom stands in a black suit with his hand on her arm.
Photograph: Tara Bennett

2. Skip disposables (napkins, cutlery, linens, etc). Most catering companies offer reusable options for all of this and those custom bar napkins are going straight in the trash. This is one of the easiest ways to make your wedding more sustainable.

A table is set with cloth napkins and beautiful, bright colored summer flowers
Photo: Linnea Marie Photography

3. Consider a venue that prioritizes energy efficiency. Eco & Ivory has a GREAT list of local options in Pittsburgh! A few of my favorites: Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens, Phipps, Succop Nature Park, and the National Aviary. It always feels good to know that the space itself has energy efficiency on lock.


Wedding guest dining tables set in the tent at Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens
Photo: Caitlin's Living Photography, Venue: Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens

4. Reduce - Start with your guest list. When you have fewer folks travel from closer distances, you greatly reduce the carbon footprint of your day. Fewer plates means less food waste. And I know this is a controversial suggestion, so let me just say also that a smaller guest count means more time to spend and have real connections with the folks who are there. That's an increase in connection, for a reduction in your guest count.

A long dining table, set for thirty guests, is decorated with flowers and candles
Photo: Jeri Stein, Venue: Hotel Monaco, Linens: Mosaic

5. Re-use - If you need it, try buying it second-hand or borrowing it. You can find a stunning second-hand dress or suit locally or online. In Pittsburgh, we are lucky to have Bridal Maven fully stocked with stunning gowns at the ready for their second night on the dance floor. Make it a group challenge for your wedding party to score their outfits this way, too. I am a HUGE fan of ThredUp for wedding party clothes and Rent the Runway is still around, too. Then, if you need to, you can always hire a local seamstress to make it perfect for you. Shout out to Topaz Thimble! Best in the 'Burgh!

A bride in an ethereal blue gown holds hands with a groom in a traditional Scottish kilt, surrounded by autumn leaves and standing in front of a pond
Photo: Studio Kat, Venue: Fernstone Retreat

6. Recycle - Choose rentals for those trendy decor pieces that you can't imagine skipping. Maybe they can be borrowed or recycled from a friend's wedding or a local Buy Nothing group. Keeping wedding decor out of the waste stream a little longer is a win! Our Full-Service clients have free, unlimited use of our rental collection and tbh it's pretty sweet.

A floral centerpiece sits on a wedding dining table at Heinz History Center
Photo: Christina Montemurro, Venue: Heinz History Center

7. Donate - Ask your caterer about donating uneaten leftovers. Now ask your florist the same question. Can you reduce waste and also help brighten someone's day? Scent with Love is a great organization helping to give wedding flowers a new home in hospitals, women's shelters, and other community spaces around the city.

A figure in a black gown holds a brightly colored bouquet of flowers.
Photograph by Sandra Chile

8. Choose a florist who uses only foam-free mechanics and sources flowers that are not sprayed to the max with pesticides. Skip the toxic crap.

Bride and groom kissing between two floral pillars at Hotel Monaco in Pittsburgh
Photograph: Hannah Robinson, Venue: Hotel Monaco

9. Stick with a seasonal menu that can use locally-grown food as its star. There are so many extraordinary catering groups in Pittsburgh that specialize in farm-to-table food, time to start taste testing!

Small wedding cake with cream frosting and a few pink roses on top.
Photograph by Michael Will

10. Last, but definitely not least: Prioritize JOY on your wedding day, not stuff. Less stuff, more meaning.

Bridal party shouting with joy. Bride and Groom kissing.
Photo by Tara Bennett

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