green wedding

Tips and Advice

7 Elements of a Green Wedding

You know one thing for sure, you want to plan a green wedding! One of the many great things about Portland is its sustainable sensibility. People in the City of Roses just love ‘going green’ in their day-to-day life. Why should the most important day of your life be any different? Here are seven elements of your wedding you can make environmentally friendly!

While their are a ton of vendors in this amazing town of ours that make it a priority to have eco-friendly spaces, products, services, and practices…we’ve specifically named a few to help you get started in your search! If you have you mind set on a specific vendor but don’t know if they are as eco-conscious as you hope. Just ask them! They might just surprise you.

All the images in this post were taken by Steele Photography.


Invitations are the first glimpse your guests will get of your plans for your wedding day. From the language you use to the colors you choose, an invitation lets guests know how formal your wedding will be and the aesthetic they can expect when they attend. So when you choose your stationery supplier, make sure they’re Green Seal-certified, processed chlorine-free, FCS-certified, carbon neutral-plus, and/or that they use renewable electricity. Paperjam, a Portland-based digital print and design company, happens to be all of the above!

There are several other green wedding invitation and paper good options in the Portland area as well. Graphic Designer and Letterpress printer, Kristin Walker, for example, owns Twin Ravens Press and strives to have an eco-conscious studio. From the papers and inks she uses, to her recycling and donation habits, she creates products that are not only beautiful, but also eco-friendly. Another great place to check out is Pulp & Deckle.  Their sustainable, eco-friendly papers are made from 100% recycled paper and/or plant fibers. They can even transform discarded junk mail or used office paper into one-of-a-kind papers printed with your details. And that’s not all…they can also create other decor items for your wedding like favors, table numbers, and garlands!


There are several environmentally friendly ways to get to and from your wedding — and not just for you, but for your guests too! One option is ecoShuttle, a Portland charter and tour company that operates their buses and vans “using the highest blend of biodiesel available.”


The site of your ceremony and reception (which may or may not be the same venue!) is where your friends and family will come together to celebrate the love you and your partner share. Make a statement about what you value as a couple and pick a venue with environmentalist elements. For instance, The Ecotrust Natural Capital Center in Portland’s Pearl District prides itself on being the first historic renovation in the nation to become Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certified. For more info on Ecotrust’s green practices, click here.

Also in the Pearl District is The Armory, the first performing arts facility in the country to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest certification level: LEED Platinum. For more info on sustainability at The Armory, click here.

And we all love to eat, drink, and hang out at the cool properties owned by the McMenamin brothers. And quite possibly you are looking at one of their venues for your wedding! Well guess what? McMenamins claim to be “earth friendly in all that we do”. We love that. You can click here to read more about their commitment to local and sustainable practices.


You can’t forget about this one! Luckily for sustainable-minded brides, there are two main ways you can make your dress white, but still decidedly green:

  1. You can opt to wear a pre-owned/vintage dress, eliminating the environmental impact of producing a brand-new dress. You’ll want to check out Brides for a Cause and Xtabay Vintage!
  2. You can have a dress custom-made with environmentally friendly fabrics, such as organic cotton or hemp.


You will want to make sure the food and drinks served at your reception are as eco-friendly as they are delicious. To do that, select a caterer that uses locally sourced ingredients. This cuts down on greenhouse gas emitted in the process of transporting food. Similarly, your bar service should use booze from Oregon vineyards and distilleries.

Yes! It’s possible to have delicious food while also reducing your carbon footprint. Crave Catering not only creates amazing farm to table cuisine, they are a local leader in sustainable practices as well. From eco fuel, compostable wares, and efficient appliances to no-waste policies in their kitchens – if there’s a way to be environmentally mindful about any of their processes, they are going to adopt it!  We love them!

Another amazing Portland caterer known for their commitment to local, organic, and sustainable practices is Artemis Foods.  Inspired by the bounty of the Northwest and the local farmers they work with, Artemis Foods prides themselves in using hormone-free meats, sustainable seafood, direct trade coffee, and biodegradable paper products…as a just few examples. Not only is their food amazing, everything they do is environmentally conscious and something you can feel good about on your wedding day!


Using alternatives to real flowers on your wedding day can be one way to go! And there are so many creative ideas out there for non-floral bouquets and centerpieces.

But the real question is, can you have real flowers at your wedding and still feel good about your impact on the environment? Yes! You can choose a local florist who is both talented and as eco-conscious as you are! Hardcore Florist for example, believes in reducing, reusing, and recycling and they don’t use any toxic chemicals or flower foam! They thrift and repurpose as much as possible and buy as much as they can locally.

Emerald Petals is also a Portland based eco florist. They source their flowers daily from local farmers during the peak seasons. Other times of the year they love to create with local bounty including moss, lichen, branches, pine cones, mushrooms, berries, fruits and vegetables! If they have to look outside of Portland for your wedding day flowers, they will buy domestic and sustainably grown products!


Lastly, remember that you can rent or borrow previously used items for your wedding rather than having anything bought brand new or custom made for you! Wedding couples are always trying to sell things from their wedding after the fact…an easy way to repurpose or resuse items!

Portland has several awesome event rental companies in town as well. One of our favorites, Something Borrowed, abides by sustainable practices which reflect the beliefs and values of owner, Lane’ Bigsby. Her business model is eco-conscious from where she makes her purchases, where she has her printing down, what she cleans with, how she uses water and energy, and her commitment to reduce, reuse, and recycle principles. For a full list of Something Borrowed’s sustainable practices, click here.

Photo Credit: all gorgeous images for this blog post are all by Steel Photography from a real wedding shot at Barn Kestrel.