Mindful Planning for an Intentional and Eco-Friendly Wedding

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.

Are you looking to plan an intentional and eco-friendly elopement? The beauty of eloping lies not just in the simplicity and intimacy of the experience but also within the location where it’s celebrated. We want to keep that scenery beautiful during your elopement, so generations to come can also enjoy Mother Nature and all her amazing wonders. Leave No Trace is an organization that focuses on educating people on sustainability, and I’m proud to be a Leave No Trace Aware Photographer. I’m proud to practice the 7 principles of Leave No Trace in my daily life and while I’m out adventuring with couples. I want to encourage you to do the same!

Leave No Trace principles can be a helpful guide to ensure your special day has a positive impact on the environment. Here are seven ways to incorporate Leave No Trace principles into your elopement planning:

The 7 Principles:

  1. Plan Ahead & Prepare: Before you head out on your elopement adventure, research the area and local regulations. Make sure you have all the necessary permits and permissions. Consider hiring a local guide who can share information about the area’s history, ecology, and conservation efforts. Note: As your elopement planning expert this is where I come in!!! I do all of this research and heavy lifting for you and guide you through this process. If this is all new to you, it’s all good! I got your back 🙂
  2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces: Stick to established trails and campsites to avoid damaging fragile ecosystems. If you’re planning on camping, use Leave No Trace camping practices, such as setting up camp at least 200 feet from lakes and streams and packing out all trash and waste. As we’re planning I’ll make sure that we’re only using established trails in order to preserve these special places for years to come 🙂
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly: If nature calls during your elopement, make sure to pack out all toilet paper and waste. If there are no restroom facilities available, use a portable toilet or dig a small hole at least 200 feet from water sources and trails.
  4. Leave What You Find: Resist the urge to pick flowers, remove rocks or other natural objects, or disturb wildlife. Leave the area better than you found it by picking up trash left by others.
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts: Check local regulations before starting a campfire. If fires are allowed, use established fire rings or build a mound fire. Only burn small sticks and twigs, and make sure the fire is completely extinguished before leaving the area. Luckily I also have a lot of tricks up my sleeve to still get gorgeous starry nighttime photos when there’s a camfire ban 😉
  6. Respect Wildlife: Observe wildlife from a safe distance and do not disturb their natural behavior. Keep food stored securely to prevent attracting animals.
  7. Be Considerate of Others: Keep noise levels low and respect the privacy of others. Yield to other hikers and campers on trails, and avoid blocking access to scenic areas.

By incorporating these principles into your elopement planning, you can ensure that your special day has a positive impact on the environment. But mindful planning doesn’t have to stop there. Here are some additional ways to make your elopement intentional and eco-friendly:

  • Choose a sustainable and ethical wedding dress or suit made from eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton or recycled polyester. Consider buying secondhand or renting a dress or suit to reduce waste.
  • Select a local, sustainable florist who uses in-season and locally sourced flowers. Avoid using floral foam, which is non-biodegradable and harmful to the environment.
  • Hire a sustainable photographer who uses digital equipment and has a minimal carbon footprint. (like me!)
  • Incorporate local and cultural traditions into your elopement, such as sharing a meal made from locally sourced ingredients or learning about the area’s indigenous history.
  • Give back to the environment by participating in a volunteer project or making a donation to a conservation organization.
  • Offset your carbon emissions by investing in a carbon offset program or choosing a transportation option with a lower carbon footprint.
  • Make sustainability a priority in your everyday life as a couple by choosing eco-friendly products and reducing your waste.

By being intentional and mindful in your elopement planning, you can create a meaningful and eco-friendly celebration of your love.

You can learn more about Leave No Trace on their website.

Click here to learn more about how I give back to my community.

To learn more about how I incorporate sustainability into my business based on location, check out Iceland sustainability and Ontario sustainability!

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'how to choose your dream elopement destination' - A 7-step guide to intentionally choosing the best place to elope on your wedding day

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