13 Ways to Have an Eco-Friendly Bridal Shower

Celebrate while staying true to both your style and ethics.

Updated 04/18/19

Photo by Sasithon Photography

The bridal shower is all about making the bride-to-be feel special and celebrated. But that doesn't mean Mother Nature should be ignored for the occasion. Hosting an eco-friendly bridal shower will allow you and your guests to celebrate, while staying true to both your style and ethics—and these green bridal shower ideas make it easier than ever!

You can go green at your pre-wedding celebration from beginning to end. And before you ask, green bridal shower ideas can be just as chic and fun as those less friendly to the environment. Trust us! For starters, send eco-friendly bridal shower invitations using recycled paper sources, or opt for the digital invite route. (You can even add a request for eco-friendly bridal shower gifts, such as donations to an environmental organization, to the invites!) And at the soirée, gift guests eco-friendly bridal shower favors, such as reusable water bottles or locally sourced goodies. Plus, you and your guests can play eco-friendly bridal shower games by eliminating those that produce a lot of waste (such as that write-in trivia game you're just going to toss afterwards).

Ready to learn how to host a beautiful and, more importantly, green bridal shower? Check out 13 green bridal shower ideas, below.

Pick an Outdoor Venue

Photo by Chris J. Evans

Spring is the perfect time to throw an outdoor bridal shower. Everyone's excited about being out in the sun after a long, cold winter, and the environmental impact is lessened because you're cutting back on lighting and energy costs, say Iris and Zach Nathan of Gingerhill Farm on the big island of Hawaii. Plus, your photos will look extra gorgeous thanks to all the natural light.

Look for Built-in Decor

Greenhouse

Photo by Ke-Li Photography

Whether you’re opting for indoor or outdoor, take note of the existing decor in the space. The more that it fits your style, the less you have to add, saving you money and the earth’s resources. Erica Jill Razze, owner of Capiche Events, an environmentally conscious wedding planning company, recommends choosing a venue with the look you desire. “If you love greenery and flowers with a less formal and rustic look, horticulture centers, nurseries, and even greenhouses make for adorable venues,” Jill says. “You may even be able to borrow some of their inventory for decor and centerpieces. Guests will also appreciate something different than a traditional event space.”

Make Invitations More Green

Courtesy of Paper Culture

Keep the environment in mind when it comes to mailing out invites. Digital services like Paperless Post, Minted, and Sendo will email custom invitations and save a few trees in the process. If paper invitations are a must (they are more formal and traditional, after all), look for eco-friendly bridal shower invitations options made from 100 percent recycled paper or up-cycled materials like fabric or wood. Many stationery companies also support environmental and sustainable initiatives, such as Paper Culture which plants a tree with every order.

SHOP NOW: Paper Culture, $79.60 for 50

Opt for Plants

succulent escort cards

Photo by Sargeant Creative

While flower centerpieces are always beautiful, plants are a safer bet, as long-lasting blooms are better for the environment. Makayla Thom of Blossoms Studios recommends succulents, which can double as eco-friendly bridal shower favors. "Tropical plants with bulbs designed as centerpieces and garlands are so eco-friendly because you and your guests can take the plants home," she says. Curly willow branches are earthy and modern, and they'll grow roots and become a tree if put in water. Potted versions of popular flowers work well, too, including orchids and spray roses. If the shower host insists on cut flowers, Alejandro Muguerza of Le Basque suggests humble roadside wildflowers and shrubs. Just ask for them to be arranged without floral foam, and find a way to give them a second life after the celebration. You can bring them to a hospital or nursing home post-event, like Meghan Markle did with her baby shower flowers.

Create a Green Tablescape

Stocksy

Build a beautiful, edible tablescape for your green wedding shower by assembling lush, sustainable displays of crudités, suggests Muguerza. For plates and utensils, consider renting porcelain and silver. If you’re going for one-time use, find ones made with recycled, reusable, or compostable materials. Muguerza recommends WASARA bamboo plates or other natural- or renewable-material dishes. For drinks, skip the Solo cups and plastic cocktail glasses. Rent stemware or use the glassware at your venue. Hosts at home won’t have to fret either: party packs of a dozen wine glasses won’t break the bank, and you can use them again at a future party.

Rent—Don’t Buy—Fabrics

table decor

Photo by Olivia Rae James

Don't be tempted to toss trendy, cost-conscious fabric goods in your shopping cart. Always rent linens and napkins instead of buying them to reduce the impact on resources, says Larissa Banting of Weddings Costa Rica. If you really want to throw a green bridal shower, forget linens entirely and borrow or rent beautiful wooden tables that don't need any kind of covering.

Offer Sustainable Sips

wine service

Photo by Jill DeVries Photography

Even the wine or bubbly you imbibe can be environmentally friendly. Look for natural, organic, and biodynamic wines, which mean that the producers are much more mindful of the environment in the production process, both in the vineyard and at the winery. Bigger bottles, such as magnums, scream celebration but also mean you’re throwing away less. The glass bottles are also recyclable. Some wines come in individual servings of eco-friendly packaging, such as cans or tetra-paks. Just note, though, the single serving equals more waste in general, even if it is recyclable.

Serve Lighter Fare

Photo by Milina Opsenica Photography

“Menu choices have an impact on the environment,” explains Razze. Since bridal showers are often hosted during the day, she suggests offering a menu of lighter, vegetarian-friendly options. “Plant based menus are proven to have less of a negative impact on our environment as they consume less resources to produce, animals are unharmed, and they are better for everyone’s health,” she adds. Plus, consider hiring a caterer or food company that sources the ingredients locally for less carbon-impact from shipping products long distances or across continents.

Manage Food Waste Wisely

Wedding Menu on Wooden Canvas with Twine

Photo by Jenna Henderson Photography; Menu by Designs in Paper

You obviously don’t want to skimp on bites, but it’s good to be realistic about how much food you really need. Work with your caterer to plan an appropriate amount for your guest list. Consider a seated meal over a buffet to help manage portions. Nathan suggests finding a local compost club or plant (or even a neighbor who keeps a personal composting heap) that will accept your leftovers and plan the drop-off ahead of your event. Also, you may be able to donate scraps to feed animals. You'll need to reach out to your local solid-waste or county agricultural-extension office for more information on what’s accepted, as well as how you should handle leftovers safely.

Ask for Earth-Conscious Intimates

Courtesy of MADI

Being showered with sexy new lingerie is a fun part of many bridal celebrations. If intimates are in the cards for you, ask gift givers to look to MADI Apparel (Make a Difference Intimate Apparel), a gorgeous line of eco-friendly underwear, sleep tops, robes, and bralettes. Making all its wearables from beautiful yet highly practical bamboo, MADI not only ethically manufactures its goods; the company participates in a buy-one-give-one program that donates a new pair of underwear to women at domestic-violence shelters, homeless shelters, and rape crisis centers.

SHOP NOW: MADI, $81 for bra and panty set

Give Eco-Friendly Goods

Courtesy of The Little Market

Just because you're thinking of Mother Earth doesn't mean your guests have to go home empty-handed. Divine Chocolate treat bars are a sweet way to say thanks for celebrating. The purchase of each chocolate bar empowers Divine Chocolate artisans and farmworkers of Kuapa Kokoo in Ghan, according to Lauren Conrad's fair trade company, The Little Market. For your bridesmaids (and maybe even mother of the bride and groom, too), check out Doie Lounge for some eco-luxe loungewear that's as stylish and comfortable as it is environmentally friendly.

SHOP NOW: The Little Market, $5

Pick a Charity

Wedding Favor Charity Donation

Andrew Graham Todes Photography

Why not add a philanthropic angle to your green bridal shower? In lieu of gifts, ask your guests to donate to the foundation of your choice. Alternatively, skip physical favors and instead donate in your guests' names. Plus, it’s a great way to share all that the charity does with your top guys and gals. Everyone can feel good about that.

Sell Used Decor

Getty Images

If you do opt for single-use goods, don’t toss them in the trash post-event. Check out websites geared toward reselling decor and equipment, suggests Razze. The discounted rate may help a future host, plus you can reclaim some of the costs. If selling isn’t an option, donate the goods to a local thrift shop. Someone less fortunate can get use out of used mirrors, pitchers, trays, and more.

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