Tips for a Zero-Waste Wedding

A couple hand in hand about to hike during their Ontario fall elopement. They have backpacks on that say just married and the sun is shining in front of them.

How to Make Sure Your Elopement Leaves No Trace

Elopements offer a unique opportunity to celebrate your love in a way that’s both intimate and environmentally conscious. Through choosing to elope on it’s own you’re avoiding the many pitfalls that come with a typical 200 person plus wedding. However, it’s important to plan your elopement with sustainability in mind. Follow these tips to ensure that your celebration leaves no trace and has a positive impact on the environment!

Choose a Sustainable Country, Location or Venue

  • Look for outdoor locations that are already established for events and don’t require additional infrastructure or construction.
  • Research eco-friendly elopement venues and locations certified by Leave No Trace, a nonprofit organization that provides guidelines for outdoor ethics.
  • Choose venues or accommodations that incorporate sustainability values like off grid cabins, luxe cabins made from repurposed wood, the inclusion of local businesses and eco-friendly products etc.
  • Consider countries that value the environment and do their best to incorporate sustainability into their legislation. Some countries like this include:


Sweden is a global leader in sustainability, with ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and generating renewable energy. The country has implemented a range of policies to support sustainable practices, such as taxing carbon emissions and offering incentives for electric cars.


Iceland is a leader in renewable energy production, with the majority of its electricity coming from geothermal and hydroelectric sources. The country is also committed to sustainable fisheries management and has implemented policies to protect its unique natural environment.

Leah and Darin had an epic Iceland elopement where they popped champagne and said their I do's in front of the misty mountains. We then travelled to Glacier Lagoon to witness the ancient glaciers. Their love is truly so beautiful, I'll always hold that elopement day close to my heart.

New Zealand

New Zealand has set ambitious goals for climate change mitigation and has implemented a number of initiatives to promote sustainable development and protect its natural environment. The country has also made significant investments in renewable energy production and is committed to reducing its carbon footprint.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is often cited as one of the most environmentally friendly countries in the world, with a strong commitment to sustainability and biodiversity conservation. The country has set ambitious goals for carbon neutrality and renewable energy production, and has implemented a number of policies to promote eco-tourism and sustainable development.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is a small island nation in the Caribbean that has made significant strides in sustainability in recent years. The country has set ambitious goals for renewable energy production and has implemented a number of policies to promote eco-tourism and sustainable development. One notable initiative is the Green Globe Certification, which recognizes tourism businesses that meet sustainable tourism standards. Antigua and Barbuda is also committed to protecting its unique natural environment, including its coral reefs and diverse marine life. The country has established numerous marine protected areas and has implemented sustainable fishing practices. Additionally, Antigua and Barbuda has been recognized for its efforts to empower local communities and promote social sustainability through initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals National Coordinating Committee.

Important Note:

I think it’s important to note that our Indigenous brothers and sisters have always known about the best practices to live in harmony with Mother Earth and it’s important for every country to listen to them, include them in the conversation, adapt and implement policy together moving forward. There is still a long way to go when it comes to all countries creating, implementing and actually authentically following sustainability and environmental practices. On that note, I appreciate the countries that are leading the way and trying to promote change 🙂

Luckily, I have experience in all of these countries (and more) so I’m happy to guide you through choosing any of these locations!!

A couple in front of a romantic bonfire at night during their Ontario elopement in the autumn season

Follow Leave No Trace Guidelines

  • Familiarize yourself with Leave No Trace guidelines, which include principles such as “plan ahead and prepare,” “travel and camp on durable surfaces,” “dispose of waste properly,” and “leave what you find.”
  • Respect wildlife by keeping a safe distance and avoiding feeding or disturbing them.
  • You can learn more here about the Leave No Trace guidelines here on my blog!
  • I also take it upon myself to educate you about Leave No Trace throughout my planning process so if this is new for you, don’t worry! I’ll help you along the way 🙂

Choose Eco-Friendly Vendors

  • Make sure to ask vendors about their environmental policies and practices before hiring them.
  • Look for vendors that prioritize sustainability and eco-friendliness in their practices, such as using locally sourced or organic ingredients for caterers, offering rentals of reusable items, using locally grown and in season florals and more! To see a real life example of great ways to incorporate these practices into your day, visit my blog here.

Consider Thrifted, Rented or Artisan Crafted Attire

  • Choose ethically made and eco-friendly clothing options for your elopement attire, such as dresses made from sustainable fabrics or suits made from recycled materials.
  • Consider renting or buying pre-owned attire to reduce waste
  • If your attire is a high priority and something you’d like to keep and pass down to the next generation, consider an artisan crafted piece that will stand the test of time and made with materials that will last!
  • There are so many amazing organizations that reduce, reuse and even go a step further to giving back like Brides For a Cause, one of my favourite non-profits !

Minimize Your Carbon Footprint

  • Plan to use eco-friendly transportation options such as electric cars, bicycles, or public transportation to get to and from your elopement location.
  • Consider offsetting your carbon emissions by donating to a carbon offset program.

Choose Repurposed and Ethically Made Jewelry

  • If you have the opportunity to re-purpose an heirloom piece of jewelry from your family or community that can be a great way to pass down a special piece or remake that piece into a custom ring or necklace etc. Whatever feels great for you!
  • There are many jewelry artists that use re-purposed metals and source ethical stones and minerals like Liane Vaz.

By planning an eco-friendly elopement, following Leave No Trace guidelines and choosing which practices feel the best for you and your love, you can minimize your impact on the environment and celebrate your love in a way that’s both intimate and eco-conscious !!

Looking for more ideas? Check out this Ontario elopement for some inspo!

Ready to get start planning your elopement? I can’t wait to meet you!!! Send me a message here!

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