What Are The Most Sustainable Destination Wedding Venues?

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Or rather, you walk down the weathered stone aisle of an enchanting historic castle—your guests await your first kiss and dinner fresh from the ground's garden.

Of course, flying your family and friends across the world for your destination wedding takes a toll on the environment. According to the Blue Sky Model, one air mile produces 53.3 pounds of carbon dioxide, an open-source estimate of carbon dioxide emissions. But as an eco-conscious couple, you can rest assured that the dollars you spend on your wedding venue contribute to social and environmental causes.

Jamaica is consistently voted one of the most popular wedding destinations globally, and the Half Moon Resort offers a range of options for those looking to take the plunge. Ceremonies can take place on the edge of the Caribbean Sea, in a royal pavilion or in an intimate garden setting.

Guests should be expected to pay for their transport to the destination wedding, whether a plane ticket, train ticket, a tank of gas, etc. Also, guests usually cover their hotel room stay, although the bride and groom may be able to arrange a discounted price when booking the wedding package at the hotel.

The most popular months to get married are from May to October. More specifically, September takes at 16 per cent, followed by June with 15 per cent, and lastly October at 14 per cent. The most popular wedding seasons are Fall/Autumn and Summer.

  • Combine Your Destination Wedding with Your Honeymoon. 
  • Plan as an Elopement and Consider Guests Later. 
  • Book Your Reception at a Restaurant as Opposed to a Reception Hall. 
  • Consider All Your Ceremony Options. 
  • A Bridal Party Isn't a "Must." 
  • Avoid Peak Season.

The rehearsal dinner is typically paid for by the couple or the groom or bride's parents. In addition, the couple or parents pay for the venue and other wedding-related expenses like flowers, ceremony, reception, cake, and vendors.

 

Puntacana Resort And Club

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Forgo the after-wedding brunch for an ecological itinerary instead. At Puntacana Resort and Club, you'll send the children out on an eco-expedition on stand-up paddleboards or with the Puntacana Ecological Foundation for a sustainability tour of anything from beekeeping to coral restoration. Meanwhile, your parents and in-laws will join you for a tasting with honey harvested right on the property—if you can get your dad off the worm-composted, paspalum-grass golf course. And if some of your wedding party sticks around in their Oscar de la Renta–designed villas another day, you can even go diving. 

Explore the coral garden that gives Caribbean coral fragments a home on which to regenerate. Punta Cana is the only place where you can get a Coral Reef First Aid Distinctive Specialty to provide hands-on help.

Wild Basin Lodge

Located on the border of Rocky Mountain National Park in Allenspark, Colorado, the 13-acre Wild Basin Lodge boasts views of Mount Copeland, Mount Meeker, and the St. Vrain River. To help preserve your unspoiled surroundings, you can opt for the lodge's zero-waste wedding package, which includes a carpool service that'll shuttle your guests and a donation of any leftover food to the Wildlife Animal Sanctuary. In support of the local area, you might also consider upgrading to offer your guests Colorado's acclaimed craft industries beer, wine, and liquor through the lodge's partnered breweries and distilleries (to help them wash down their fresh line-caught seafood dinner).

Agriturismo Il Rigo

Mediaeval towns and natural hot springs dot the rolling hills of Valdorcia, Italy, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. And in this Tuscan sanctuary sits Il Rigo, home and organic farm, within just a few miles of historic towns like Montalcino, Pienza, and Rocca d'Orcia. Il Rigo hosts just a few "slow-weddings" per year to ensure that each one is special. You and your intimate party (capped at 50 people) will enjoy locally grown vegetables and traditional produce, sitting around the tables adorned with organic flowers cut from the garden.

Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica

Say "I do" surrounded by your family, friends, and some 10 million species of animals, plants, and insects in the Peruvian Amazon. Your venue: Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica, a property of the Inkaterra organisation, an ecotourism-funded pioneer in sustainable travel that promotes scientific research to conserve ecosystems and natural resources. The organisation offers training courses, from an Andean bear conservation class to a bio-garden development workshop—and the sustainability policy ensures that its tourism is carbon neutral. 

The Reserva Amazónica is tucked in the Southern Peruvian corner of the rainforest near the Bolivian and Brazilian borders, in the remote area of Puerto Maldanado. But rest assured that your wedding guests won't have to do any jungle trekking to make it there. The still-accessible property is just a 25-minute flight from Cusco.

Bio-Schlosshotel Wartegg

Sprawling views over the garden grounds make this fairy-tale wedding venue ever more enchanting. The historic Bio-Schlosshotel Wartegg castle sits pretty in Switzerland's Lake Constance region, an oasis for sailors, Windsurfers, and those searching for some sun-swathed respite in everyday life. For others, like you, it's a wedding destination of which dreams are made. Your party will enjoy certified organic products and vegetables grown from the garden. And the castle promotes energy efficiency with all-green electricity, a hydroelectric power plant, and e-bikes to navigate the grounds. It also keeps and protects an endangered breed of sheep, the Bündner Oberländer.

Genießerhotel Die Forelle

Invite your family and friends to Austria's Lake Weissensee, the highest lake for bathing in the Alps. You'll keep warm with Genießerhotel Die Forelle's wood chip heating from its private forest—and grandma's homemade bread. The family running the hotel will feed your family fresh food from their organic farm and herb garden. And you can enjoy it all with unparalleled views of the Weissensee Nature Park. You may even consider planning your wedding on one of the hotel's unplug

Kasbah Du Toubkal

At the foot of Jbel Toubkal in Morocco's High Atlas Mountains is Kasbah du Toubkal—a staple to the surrounding community and your wedding venue. Mules will carry your guests' luggage to the rooms you have secured for them—and, in doing so, secure finances for local projects. Funded by a five per cent accommodation levy, the venue's Imlil Village Association supports community ventures such as a school for children in the remote valley, a community hammam, a garbage disposal system, and the region's first ambulance and driver. Kasbah du Toubkal knows the community's needs well—after all, 95 per cent of its staff are from nearby villages, many of whom are women who receive training to continue growing and working outside of the home.

One And Only Wolgan Valley

The ecological One and Only Wolgan Valley resort are planted in a valley carved by time. The venue is just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Sydney on its 7,000-acre wildlife preserve in Australia's Greater Blue Mountains. It has instituted a waste management system, including domestic water recycling, rainwater collection, recycled building materials, heat exchange technology, and solar panels, to rest assured that your wedding party won't damage the setting. And, of course, your guests will enjoy a locally-sourced meal from growers within 100 miles.

The Retreat By Heaven

On a quiet, tree-lined street in the Kiyovu neighbourhood of Rwanda's capital, Kigali, is the Retreat by Heaven. It's a peaceful haven perfect for an intimate East African nuptial. It's also Kigali's first eco-friendly luxury boutique hotel with 11 solar-powered luxury suites and king rooms, featuring locally crafted furniture from a Tanzanian sustainable teak farm. Of course, your guests will be spoiled and spoiled for choice when it comes to meals. The hotel's two on-site restaurants, Fusion and Heaven, offer Rwandan- and internationally-inspired meals made with organic ingredients sourced from local farmers and an on-site vegetable garden. And your flower girl will walk down the aisle toting a traditional woven basket…

The Bushcamp Company

Perhaps you're picturing an intimate ceremony along the Luangwa River—it's just you and your partner and your families and majestic elephants, the symbol of eternity, roaming along the beautiful banks in the distance. Or perhaps you want to invite the whole extended family to the gorgeous grounds of Mfuwe Lodge in the South Luangwa National Park. The staff at the Bushcamp Company will help you source some Zambian dancers. Your guests will sleep at one of the chalets, peppered with ebony, mahogany, and fig trees from the lodge's tree-planting program. Or they'll sleep under the stars in one of Bushcamp Company's six luxury campsites, replete with solar-powered tents. Finally, you'll say, "I do," and your partner will whisk you away to explore the big game on a safari.

Making Your Destination Wedding Eco-Friendly

If you live your life as environmentally conscious as possible, you'll want to plan an eco-friendly wedding. It may not seem practical to bring your celebration to a lush and exotic destination and stay green. However, you can plan an eco-friendly destination wedding with little planning and know-how. Then, celebrate this beautiful milestone surrounded by friends and family with the peace of mind that you're doing your part for the environment.

A destination wedding is a scenic bonding experience for you and your guests that takes you all on an adventure. So plan the perfect wedding without compromising on the location or your eco-conscious values. Follow these tips for making your destination wedding eco-friendly to get the green wedding of your dreams.

Choose An Ecotourism Destination

Ecotourism's goal is to reduce the impact of travel in the area and on the environment. The breathtaking natural environments of ecotourism areas make the perfect setting for a destination wedding. Of course, you should hold the destination wedding of your dreams where you like, but finding an environmentally friendly wedding location requires a bit of research.

A wedding in an ecotourism location helps give financial support to the region to continue conservation efforts. You and your guests also can explore and learn about environmental conservation. Costa Rica, in particular, offers national parks, volcanoes, wildlife reserves, archaeological monuments and other natural preserves to its visitors. You and your wedding guests can explore without the guilt or environmental impact of other mass tourism forms.

Do Your Research And Reach Out

Many wedding venues, resorts, catering companies, and other services have focused on green practices. Working with these eco-conscious vendors will make your destination wedding green down to the small details. You'll also provide support to these green businesses, so they can continue offering their environmentally aware services to others.

Green wedding vendors often provide information to potential clients about their environmental practices. As you plan your eco-friendly destination wedding, do research into vendors or speak with them to learn more about:

Initiatives for limiting water use.

Recycling or composting services.

Participation in carbon offset programs.

Green architectural considerations for venues and buildings.

Use of green energy alternatives and similar practices.

Even if vendors don't provide these details outright, they may have green initiatives or be willing to work with you for your eco-aware destination wedding. Reach out to businesses or services with questions you have about their environmental practices. You can also see if they would be able to accommodate your green wedding ideas.

Consider Environmentally Friendly Accommodations And Venues

The setting of your celebration is one of the most important decisions you'll have to make during the wedding planning process. That decision will have even more weight for the eco-conscious bride and groom. Of course, you want the perfect setting for your celebration and you and your guests. But you also want to impact the local environment as little as possible. Luckily, you can get the luxury of a lush, exotic location while hosting your event and your guests in environmentally friendly resorts.

Plan Eco-Friendly Transportation

With a location in mind, you need to arrange how you and your guests will arrive and get around once you do. You may fear that a destination wedding requires too much travel to be green, but a bit of careful planning will help manage your impact. When you plan transportation for your green wedding, consider these tips:

Choose a venue where all guests can stay under one roof or at locations that are mere moments away for less driving to your destination.

Focus on venues in proximity to the airport to avoid extensive transportation.

Travel with an airline that has a high environmental rating.

Balance flight miles with carbon footprint offset programs.

Organise shared rides for you and your guests to and from the airport.

You can also use fun transportation methods around your destination, like horseback rides or biking, to cut down on your carbon impact and help support local businesses.

Work With A Green Wedding Planner

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green destination wedding planner

A wedding planner helps take the stress out of planning your wedding. So why not choose one that can help you create a beautiful eco-aware celebration? A certified green wedding planner helps you create the wedding of your dreams and reduce its environmental impact with:

More advice on green destination wedding ideas.

Insight into eco-conscious vendors.

Help with research on local and in-season options.

Choose Sustainable Details For Your Wedding

Whether you work with an eco-certified wedding planner or own, you can create a green destination wedding right down to the smallest details. Many choices you make throughout your planning process have eco-aware alternatives. As you plan your special day, consider the small details and their sustainable counterparts, like:

Send recycled paper invitations.

Communicate with digital notes or a wedding website instead of mailing paper details.

Have guests throw fresh petals or leaves as biodegradable confetti.

Switch to natural fibre, compostable or biodegradable plates and cutlery if you can't use reusable options.

Use minimal décor and let the venue stand out.

Use local and in-season flowers and greenery.

Decorate with potted plants instead of cut flowers and greens.

Opt for vintage rings and outfits as opposed to new ones.

Rent as many supplies as you can instead of buying new ones so that other couples can reuse them.

Light your event space with candles and less electricity if the venue allows it.

Whether you can incorporate these green details will depend on your venue. Villa Punto de Vista Estate lets couples choose wedding services for the greatest flexibility. In addition, you'll be able to create these green wedding ideas in an idyllic setting, which requires a few decorative additions to become a luxurious venue.

Have A Sustainable Wedding Menu

Work with caterers to craft a menu that's local and in-season. You'll be able to limit the ingredients that need to come from other destinations. You also get the added satisfaction of supporting local businesses and farmers, who may also have a dedication to sustainability. To help your venue be even more eco-conscious, you can:

Have an accurate count of your guests.

Know beforehand what each of your guests wants to eat.

Celebrate with a farm-to-table meal.

Donate leftovers if possible.

Have smaller desserts for everyone instead of one large cake.

Local cuisine will help emphasise your destination wedding. Costa Rica, in particular, offers delicious and affordable food. Popular dishes include Casado, Gallo Pinto and tres leches cakes, which can all feature local ingredients.

Conclusion

When it comes to sustainable destination weddings, there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind. Luckily, we've researched for you and compiled a list of the most sustainable wedding venues worldwide. These locations will let you have your dream wedding while preserving the planet, from beach ceremonies to mountain retreats. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your sustainable destination wedding today!

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