Greener options are transforming a wedding industry prone to waste.

Although the wedding industry remains fraught with waste, a growing number of brides and grooms are pushing for more sustainable changes; from the way they invite guests, to the food they serve, and the clothes they wear.

The wedding resource The Knot estimates that more than two-thirds of about 15,000 site users did, or planned, to incorporate eco-conscious touches, including secondhand decor, minimizing food waste and avoiding one-time use products. Nearly 1 in 3 said vendors should be more proactive in leading the way.

After two chaotic years for the wedding industry, searches on Pinterest for thrifted weddings have tripled, and they’ve doubled for reuse wedding dress ideas, according to the site’s 2022 wedding trends report.

A lot of vendors are really educating themselves on ways to be more sustainable, in an effort to meet the demand; there is much more interest and recognition around sustainability.

For example, some floral suppliers offer silk florals or "forever flowers", preserved flowers which last years - rather than fresh cut flowers, which often travel long distances and are arranged using non-recyclable foam.

Here in South Africa, at Earthware, we sell bowls and compostable plates made of fallen palm leaves. Not only do they completely decompose after 60 days, but they are oh-so-pretty!! Aesthetically on point.

For 28-year-old Anna Masiello, getting it right for her wedding was an extension of a more climate-friendly lifestyle she embraced several years ago after moving from her native Italy to Portugal to earn a master’s degree in environmental sustainability.

“I really started to learn about climate change and the real impacts of it. We hear so much about it but sometimes it’s so overwhelming that we decide not to learn more or to understand it,” she said. “I just said, OK, it’s time to act.”

She took her journey to social media, using the handle hero_to_0, in reference to zero waste, and has amassed more than 90,000 followers on TikTok and nearly 40,000 on Instagram for her regular updates on her life and wedding planning.

Said fairly and objectively by another bride: “I don’t think living sustainably means you need a crunchy aesthetic, it just means using what is already in the world. The most sustainable purchase is something that already exists.”

From the Editor: Some of this article excerpted from The Daily Sentinel, article by Leanne Italie, Associated Press.