How to Throw an Eco-Friendly Bridal Shower

Reader Contribution by Kara Kamenec
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Bridal showers are a great excuse to gather with all the women in your life—but without careful consideration, they can often turn wasteful. (Think multiple garbage bags just from the wrapping paper alone.) Honor your values by making your celebration as green as possible and hosting a sustainable, natural bridal shower. Here’s how to get started.

Craft a Mindful Registry

Before you (and/or your maid of your honor) begin planning the event, take a moment to think intentionally about your registry. Be mindful about the gifts you ask for and avoid the temptation to register for something you know you won’t use just because you think you should have it on the list.

If you’ve been living with your fiancé for a while, chances are you already have everything you need for your home. Instead, consider asking your guests to make charitable donations in your name. Or, have them contribute to a wedding fund that you can put toward big-ticket items, like your wedding rings.

If you do need to stock up on home goods, ask guests to bring gently used items they no longer need. (After all, a well-seasoned cast-iron pan that belonged to your grandmother is more sentimental and sustainable than a Teflon set from the department store.) Or, register at a locally owned home goods store and have guests shop in person. You’ll promote a small business and avoid excess waste from shipping packages.

Get Creative About Wrapping

Speaking of waste, ask your guests to skip the wrapping paper (especially plastic bows and ribbons) on their gifts. Make sure to include a note on the invitations explaining this intention and provide a list of alternative ideas. For example, guests can craft reusable gift bags from fabric, or wrap gifts in brown paper bags, newspaper or magazine pages. At the very least, urge them to reuse any boxes or gift wrapping that they already have at home.

Pick a Sustainable Location

Host the shower outside during daylight hours to reduce your electricity usage and take advantage of natural lighting. Consider any of the following locales:

Local farms, orchards or vineyards

Public gardens and parks

Beaches or lakeside banks

A scenic backyard (either your own or a willing friend or relative’s)

As a plus, most of these places don’t require a hefty rental fee—and they all come with beautiful natural views. As you’re searching, remember to pick a location that’s central for most people so they don’t have to drive far. Ask your guests (especially any out-of-towners) to carpool together to reduce the number of cars on the road.

Create an Environmentally Friendly Table

As you set the table, real dishes and plates are always best. Bring some from home (or ask a bridesmaid or family member to bring some of theirs) or pick up a few from a thrift shop to create a mix-and-match look. If real plates are out of the question, choose biodegradable bamboo flatware and nontoxic paper plates made from recycled materials. Skip individual bottles and cans and make a pitcher of punch or bring a few bottles of local wine to share. Finish with reusable cloth napkins.

For the food itself, find a local organic farm to provide a meal or appetizers for the shower. You’ll support a local agriculture and know exactly where your food is coming from at the same time. Add your food scraps and biodegradable partyware to a compost pile at the end of the event to cut down on waste.

Choose Decorations that Double as Favors

If the location is gorgeous on its own (think farms with expansive views or lush botanical gardens), you won’t need many decorations. Opt for minimal, natural décor over plastic streamers and balloons.

Find vintage tablecloths at a thrift store or borrow some from your friends or neighbors. (They also make great backdrops for DIY photobooths.) If you want something a little nicer, you can rent table linens from a local company. Pick up candles, photo frames or other decorations from a thrift store as well, or bring some that you already own. 

Potted plants, small succulents and wildflower arrangements can decorate the table and double as party favors. You can also hand out seeds, watering cans and planters for favors, or gifts like handmade soaps or jams from a favorite local business. These are also cute enough to be displayed on their own as decorations. Additionally, you can ask guests to take home any of the décor that they like if you don’t have use for it in your own home. 

Incorporating sustainable elements ensures that your shower is gentle on the earth—which lets you focus on enjoying the company of your guests.

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Kara Kamenec is a lifestyle writer and former AskMen editor who writes on all things wedding related for Larson Jewelers, where you can find a wide selection of affordable wedding rings for both men and women. Kara loves sharing her expertise on millennial movements, lifestyle fads, dating trends and wedding planning.

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