… of the zero-waste variety
So you’re hosting your wedding in Jackson Hole, one of fifty nationwide cities striving for a zero-waste footprint. Jackson’s “Road to Zero Waste” initiative aims to limit the amount of disposed material that goes into the landfill by committing fully to “reduce, reuse, and recycle:”
As a newly-engaged couple, you may be wondering, Why is this relevant to me?
Well, the responsibility that comes with holding your wedding in a region shrouded in nature is a concept each couple—whether you’re local or visiting—should take seriously. The wedding industry alone is wasteful enough. (The average wedding produces 400 pounds of garbage and emits approximately 63 tons of CO2.) So, why not strive to make your footprint as small as possible?
Starting with the favors …
The time-honored tradition of gifting wedding favors shows appreciation for your guests, while honoring the effort they made to celebrate with you. Wedding favors are personalized keepsakes that remind friends and family of your special day, the fun they had, and—in this instance—the resplendent region they visited. Sustainable wedding favors represent an industry that’s becoming more thoughtful, and provide a mindful souvenir of a very special union.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Reusable mugs and water bottles
Nothing promotes zero waste more than a reusable mug or water bottle. In fact, reusable drinking vessels fall right in line with JH2O’s efforts to promote their downtown water filling stations. Mugs and bottles can be customized with your names and wedding date. (Remember the old pint glasses?) Or, include a few of your favorite things, like doggos and fly fishing (pictured here). Need a local vendor to get it done? Liquid Hardware, based out of Victor, Idaho, will customize coffee mugs, water bottles, and stainless steel cups that come complete with magnetic lids. (liquidhardware.com)
Local honey is a health fad that’s not only yummy, but supports an industry committed to conservation and bee habitats. Small, local honey producers, like Two Brothers Honey (tetonapiaries.com) and Chasing Paradise (tetonslowfood.org/partners/chasing-paradise), use chemical-free production methods and are dedicated to healthy bee populations. As pollinators, resident bees are part of the ecosystem needed to sustain our region’s farms. Local honey can be packaged in reusable glass jars and set at each table as place cards, complete with a wooden honey dipper.
Wildflower seed packets
Walk down any Teton trail in the summertime, and the smell of lupine, sticky geranium, sunflowers, and columbine fills the air. What if you could package up that smell and reproduce it in your own garden? Seed packets (or seed bombs) made with regional wildflowers will allow guests to replicate a little piece of the Tetons in their own gardens at home. This is truly a gift that keeps on giving, as reseeded wildflowers can be enjoyed for years to come. You can even make plantable wildflower seed paper, and gift it in custom recycled envelopes with a saying that promotes love and growth.
Potted plants can be used in almost every décor element of your wedding and reception. And, bonus! Plants can also double as take-home wedding favors. Use them in your tablescape, to line your aisle, or to create a backdrop for your ceremony. Greenery, like potted herbs, can be sourced seasonally and used at home in the kitchen. Potted hydrangeas will continue to produce flowers throughout the season, and some varieties can even be transplanted in the ground. And, succulents, like cacti, can be enjoyed as houseplants.
Ornaments, made from local aspen and pine tree cuttings, complete with bark and burned lettering, add a bit of wedding nostalgia to your guests’ holiday season. If you’re crafty, you can even cut, sand, and burn your own creations, adding a homemade touch to this treasured holiday gift. Adorn them with hemp string or ribbon for hanging, and then place each one at your guests’ place setting. If you’re hosting your wedding around the holidays, this gift can be worked into your theme or even hung from a tree.
Most everyone will love the gift of local, fair-trade coffee. And for those that don’t, a coffee alternative, like hot cocoa mix, can be gifted in personalized burlap bags, as well. Snake River Roasting Co., Jackson Hole Roasters, and Alpine Air Coffee Roasting (in Teton Valley, Idaho) all offer a myriad of blends and roasts, and even provide decaf options, which are processed, chemical-free, using mountain water.
Whatever you choose, wedding planner Ashley Wold, of Wild Rose Weddings and Events in Jackson, urges couples to hit up local vendors and make sure to use minimal packaging.