Finding an Eco-Friendly Wedding Venue: Where to Begin
Updated: Aug 3
Hey, it’s Marea, lead planner here at Dream Catcher Weddings. As a sustainable wedding planner, I have been asked what items couples should pay the most attention to as they’re trying to plan a “green” wedding. If I had to name the single decision that will probably have the biggest impact on how eco-friendly your wedding day will (or will not) be, I would have to rate your wedding venue as number one. The average couple spends around 40% of their wedding budget on their venue and catering (brides.com). Venues are not only a high-ticket item, but they truly set the tone for every aspect of your wedding day. No matter how much you upcycle your decorations, go organic with your menu, or print invitations on recycled paper, those eco-alternatives pale in comparison to the massive amounts of food, water, and energy waste your venue can contribute to throughout your event. So if you truly want to minimize your wedding’s impact on our beloved planet, you need to start at square one: choosing a venue that shares your values.
Deciding on a wedding venue is typically the first and most stressful decision that a newly-wed couple will have to make (pro tip: if you’re hiring a wedding planner, do that FIRST so that they can help you choose a wedding venue and make this process 100x less overwhelming!). Adding sustainability on to the long list of other details you have to think about when choosing a venue may seem too daunting of a task, but trust me, it doesn’t have to be so hard! Let me break it down for you.
Step One: SIZE
The lower the guest count, typically the lower the cost and environmental impact. My rule of thumb: when you imagine someone showing up and giving you a hug on your wedding day, do you feel excited to have that person there? If the answer is no, they probably don’t need an invitation. Sit down with your partner and write out a rough draft of how many people you expect to invite, and then plan for at least 80% of that number to show up.
Step Two: TIME
Pick a season. Take your time with this choice, knowing that this will affect many different elements of your wedding day: what you can wear, what food and flowers will be in season, and what color palette and decor aesthetic you can incorporate (I’m a fall-aholic through and through! Give me all of the crisp autumn weather, crunchy aspen leaves, and pumpkin-flavored everything!). If you’re picturing a snow-covered view and fur overcoat, keep in mind that finding in-season produce and florals sourced here in the Rockies will be extremely challenging.
From there, pick a day of the week. Typically when it comes to pricing for venues (and many other vendors as well), Saturdays will almost always cost more. But that’s for good reason, as your out-of-town friends will thank you for giving them a day to recover from their hangover and maybe share brunch with you before hugging goodbye and flying back home. Fridays and Sundays are usually the second-highest priced, because everyone loves a weekend celebration. Mondays-Thursdays will probably be your most cost-effective option, but could seriously limit the number of non-local guests that can attend, and you may want to plan for an earlier end to the party as most guests will have to work the next morning.
Once you’ve picked a day of the week, narrow it down to the time of day. Most wedding ceremonies start around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, with dinner being served at 5 or 5:30. But that’s not the only option! You can express your unique style with a gorgeous sunrise ceremony, a brunch reception, early afternoon tea, or a later evening dinner party.
Step Three: LOCATION
Once you have an estimated guest count and a general idea of when you want to get married, it’s time to start thinking about WHERE this fiesta is going to happen! Start simple: indoors, outdoors, or a little bit of both? Personally, I don’t think you can find a more beautiful cathedral than snow-capped Rocky Mountains and tall pine trees. Having nature as your backdrop minimizes your need for lugging in a huge amount of decorations, as Mother Earth will take care of most of that for you. However, if you’re not much of a risk-taker and the thought of getting rained on in your wedding dress (or worse, a freak Colorado snowstorm in July) makes you panic a little bit, don’t worry, there are several beautiful and earth-mindful options that don’t require a rain plan.
Whichever option you choose, there are some amazing Colorado wedding venues and natural spaces that can accommodate your needs and provide you with a stunning space to say your vows and celebrate your love.
Check back soon for our upcoming blog post listing our favorite natural spaces to get married in Colorado!
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