We're all about being green here at the Brule River Barn (and not just because that's the color of our barn). Weddings and other milestone events celebrated here are full of decisions that showcase couples' values. Have a priest officiate, or a best friend? Have a pig roast, or a plated dinner? Choosing to do an eco-friendly wedding or event not only helps protect the environment, but to stay connected to nature. Being surrounded by the woods and rivers in northern Wisconsin, we think that's fantastic.
The problem with green weddings, though, is that there's all sorts of products aimed at that part of the market, and not all of them are actually helpful. So, what's a concerned couple to do? We've put together some tips to help you make your event more green.
When choosing decorations, first ask yourself if you really need that item (the reduce mentality). The Brule River Barn already has weathered wood, extensive gardens, and a number of rustic decor items. If you use what's already available, you also don't have to worry about transporting it!
If you need to get something new, try to either rent or buy second-hand (reuse). Mason jars are always trendy, but there are a lot of other options to reuse. Browse antique stores, second-hand stores, and online resale sites. Check to see if your local community has a resale group for wedding items.
Centerpieces are the biggest items that you might need to consider for your event. There are a number of ways to make floral centerpieces more sustainable. Gather local or wild flowers if in season. If not, work with a florist or greenhouse to source sustainable, local, and/or organic plants. You could also grow your own flowers at home, or consider other decor options.
Food & Food Waste
Events generate a lot of waste, especially around food and beverages.
Food production can produce a lot of waste and have heavy environmental impacts, so try to stick to local, in-season, organic food when possible. Local food, especially, supports small business and requires less transportation and packaging.
Most barn weddings opt for disposable plates, cups, and cutlery because it's easy to deal with and inexpensive. For 150 people's dinner and drinks through the night, though, this can be a lot of waste! The Brule River Barn already collects food waste for local farmers to feed their pigs, but there's still plates, cups, and cutlery to deal with.
100% recyclable products have less of an impact than typical products, but 100% recycled plates, cups, and cutlery used on food usually end up in the landfill. Instead, think about using certified compostable products. Certified compostable products can be broken down in a commercial composter (not at home). Luckily, WLSSD in Duluth has a commercial composter and lends out supplies to collect compostable items. Contact them for more information.