How to make a positive impact with your wedding

August 31, 2016

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Your wedding is an opportunity for you to have a spectacular kick-off to your marriage with the people closest to you, but it also has the potential to be extremely wasteful.  Here are some ideas to make a positive impact instead. 


Utilize vendors and venues that give back. For example, The Outpost in Chaska is a new barn venue that is available during the week for ministries to use at no cost. The revenue they generate from weekend weddings goes towards maintaining the space for the ministries who get to use it. Read more on The Outpost here

Similarly, Voyageur Environmental Center in Mound is a beautiful campground that is a low-cost summer camp for inner city youth.  The weddings they host on weekends allow the Boys and Girls Club to use the space during the week.


After your wedding, consider donating your flowers to brighten someone’s day. If that’s not an option because they are not usable anymore, composting them is better than just throwing them away. You can hire a company like Repeat Roses to do the legwork for you, or if you’re on a tight budget, it is easy enough to do yourself. Just look for one of these places near your wedding venue where you can bring the flowers.

  • women’s shelter
  • hospital
  • homes for the developmentally disabled
  • local hospice
  • senior citizen community or retirement home

Wood flowers are a great option as well. They’re gorgeous, come in customizable colors and scents, are super affordable and made out of recycled materials. And the best part? You get to keep them forever!


Three Rivers Parks District provides gorgeous, affordable venues around the Twin Cities and require their vendors to use compostable or reusable glasses and dishes to serve the food. If everyone at your wedding is drinking multiple drinks out of plastic cups that will add up to a ton of waste by the end of the day. If you’re choosing a venue where you need to bring in your own catering, plates, silverware and cups, choose a caterer who is willing to provide compostable options. Common Roots is a local caterer who provides sustainable options and delicious food. If possible, they also prefer the caterers compost the leftover food if necessary.

For each “regret” RSVP you get back, you can donate the money you had set aside for that meal to your local food shelf or homeless shelter.



Looking to throw confetti that won’t be bad for the environment and animals? Ecoparti sells confetti that disappears within 8 hours without having any negative effects. If your venue says no confetti, ask them about this alternative that nobody has to clean up!

Rent or buy used wedding décor. There are so many groups on Facebook that you can join to Craigslist always has stuff as well. After the wedding, couples are stuck with centerpieces, vases, lights and all sorts of stuff they don’t need anymore. Lots of people sell their goods to new brides very inexpensively.

MN Brides Buy/Sell Page

MN Wedding Garage Sale

Twin CIties Wedding Items for Sale

You can also find decorators who have closets full of wedding décor that would make any Pinterest user swoon. You can pay them to rent their décor and often they will set it up and take it down for you. This is a huge stress relief for you to not have to worry about on your wedding day.

Wedding dress

Consider a fair trade or second-hand dress. Stores like bride-to-be consignment have a tons of dresses for sale and many places that offer second hand dresses require the dresses to be professionally cleaned and offer options for returning the dress as well.

Bridesmaid’s dresses

Mata traders sells gorgeous, floral dresses that your bridesmaids would actually want to wear again and most are under $100.

If you are passionate about designer brands but don’t want your wedding party to have to spend a fortune, Rent The Runway rents gorgeous designer dresses. You can utilize these for bridesmaids dresses or even dresses for you to wear to your showers or bachelorette parties.


Not a huge fan of the dollar dance? Give it a new twist! Take the money you raise through the dance and donate it to your favorite charity! Make sure you announce what you plan on doing with the money when you do the dance because people will be eager to give to a good cause.


Register on sites like Uncommon Goods where they are environmentally sustainable and support independent artists. Uncommon Goods also gives a dollar from every purchase to charity and has raised over a million dollars so far.

While some of your guests are going to buy you a physical gift no matter what, in addition to a traditional registry at somewhere like Target, you can register at charities like World Vision. Your wedding guests can pick out meaningful items to donate in honor of your wedding like animals, clean water and food for people struggling across the globe.

Charity Water is a great organization that is changing the lives of thousands of people by providing safe drinking water. Their unique 100% giving model sends ALL of the donations directly to the field. You can create a page for your wedding and set a goal for your guests to donate.

Check out Black Sheep Bride– as a bride they inspired me to use my wedding to make a positive impact, and as a vendor, they have inspired me to work giving back into my business model.

Here is a link to the Bridechilla podcast episode where a lot of this info came from.

Are there elements making a positive impact that you are incorporating into your wedding? I’d love to hear your suggestions! List them in the comments.

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