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Tips & Resources for Planning Your Eco-Friendly Chicago Wedding

Event Planner: Kara Superfine Events | Decor: HMR Designs | Venue: Chicago Botanic Garden | Photographer: Katie Kett Photography

Environmentally conscious weddings are the latest — and one of the greatest — trends to hit the Chicago wedding scene. It’s all in the details! Focusing on even small decisions in the event planning process will produce a greener, more purposeful wedding. Often eco options are viewed as pricier, but conscientious choices are becoming more accessible, keeping both the earth and your wallet happy. Here are our picks for planning your eco-friendly wedding in one of the greenest cities in the nation.

Big Delicious Planet

Fresh vegetables
Photographer: Jaclyn Simpson Photography

Big Delicious Planet Catering, Canteen + Urban Farm is a garden oasis venue in the middle of downtown Chicago, as well as a caterer offering fresh fare. Boasting more than 50 raised beds of organic soil on their urban farm, BDP is able to provide natural, in-season produce for thoughtful events. A female-owned business and trusted member of the Green Wedding Alliance, BDP loves to customize wedding menus highlighting the flavors of the season — offering fresh, local, organic options.

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FIG Catering

Photography: Greenhouse Loft Photography

At the core of FIG Catering stands their mission: to provide handmade food and excellent, personalized service, no matter the size or breadth of the event. FIG Catering — an original member of the Chicago Green Wedding Alliance and Next Bites — sources local, organic, and sustainable ingredients to create beautifully-crafted unique dishes for clients. Specializing in smaller, intimate events, FIG Catering will enhance your celebration with delicious, yet eco-conscious, touches.

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Catering by Michaels

Buratta appetizer
Photographer: Jai Girard Photography

Housed in Chicago’s northern suburbs, Catering by Michaels serves the Chicagoland area as a full-service catering company. They employ sustainable business practices by implementing green strategies in the following ways: waste minimization, water efficiency, programs that promote public transportation and carpooling for employee commuting, an in-house sustainability team, and a focus on sustainable and local purchasing. Still not convinced? Catering by Michaels is the only caterer in North America that is both Green Restaurant-certified and Green Seal-certified.

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Pro Tip: Do your homework on the vendors you hire! Lean towards caterers who utilize the flavors of the season! Cooking with local, organic produce and ingredients can significantly decrease the footprint of your event!

Greenhouse Loft

Greenhouse party venue
Photographer: Tim Tab Studios

When you think of a city wedding, what comes to mind? We often think bright, airy, open loft spaces. Enter Greenhouse Loft. Think 3,600+ square feet of customizable, energy-efficient space in Chicago’s incredibly desirable Logan Square neighborhood. Expertly weaving together the vision of an exquisitely designed urban loft space, and a passion for hosting unforgettable, environmentally conscious events, Greenhouse Loft is a chic venue space for memorable weddings. Designed with a photographer’s eye, this beautiful spot doubles as Chicago’s most sustainable venue.

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Loft on Lake

White linen party
Photography: Pen / Carlson

The Loft on Lake, locally known as simply “The Loft,” is the definition of a quintessential Chicago loft space. The Loft boasts desirable architectural elements like exposed brick and oak, 20-foot ceilings, and a unique, exquisite 65-foot long skylight. On top of its vintage beauty, this light, fresh loft space is easily customizable to meet the needs of any event. The space conserves energy by leveraging the abundant natural light and warmth from its skylight, plus the team recycles after each event — collecting plastics and metals for recycling outlets to reduce landfill as well as repurposing leftover items. The Loft serves as a smart, sustainable, gorgeous space to host a beautiful wedding.

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Chicago Botanic Garden

Chicago Botanic Gardens party
Photographer: Jennifer Lynn Photography

Have you ever dreamed of getting married in a garden paradise? You’re not alone. The Chicago Botanic Garden, located on Chicago’s beautiful North Shore, is an award-winning venue that’s an ideal oasis for a dreamy wedding. In addition to the natural benefits of an outdoor wedding (natural light, living décor in the form of flowers and greenery), the Garden engages in environmentally-friendly practices like generating solar power, collecting rainwater for plants, managing an extensive recycling program, reusing supplies like pots and, of course, the development and preservation of green space.

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Pro Tip: Pick an all-in-one venue to save energy. Host your ceremony and reception in one location. Additionally, consider hosting an outdoor wedding and/or a daytime wedding to utilize beautiful natural lighting

Fab Flora

Bride and bridal party with colorful florals
Photographer: Vrai Photography

Fab Flora is an avant-garde, eco-friendly florist. Building their business around respecting Mother Nature, Fab Flora incorporates aspects of sustainability and environmentalism into every floral arrangement and business decision they make. Located in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, the team utilizes seasonal flowers native to the Midwest during growing season to create elegant and ornate floral arrangements. Composting scraps, using an energy efficient company vehicle, and reusing vintage vases are other ways that Fab Flora creates an environmentally conscious corporate environment. Lastly, they donate leftover florals to Random Acts of Flowers, a group that repurposes arrangements for patients in hospitals and nursing homes.

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Wedding florals
Photographer: Kent Drake Photography

Drawing inspiration from the nature around us, Pollen, one of Chicago’s premier eco-friendly florists, is a trailblazer within the floral industry. Pollen works hard to implement environmentally friendly business practices, such as: working with local flower farmers, composting excess waste, eliminating known toxic floral foam from corporate space, and donating used flowers through ReBloom — their local flower donation program. Keeping their core beliefs in mind, Pollen uses the power and beauty of the Midwest to create dynamic and creative floral arrangements.

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Flowers by Stem

Wedding florals
Photographer: Cattura Weddings

Based on the belief that flowers can capture the essence of an event and perpetuate the uniqueness of an individual, Flowers by Stem expertly crafts custom floral arrangements to suit the needs of clients throughout Chicagoland. This full-service floral design firm operates a sustainable business in a variety of ways, including using local, in-season flowers in arrangements, working with local flower farmers, recycling waste, utilizing paperless communication techniques, and donating flowers (often to local hospitals and nursing homes). As the cherry on top, Flower by Stem’s owner and lead designer is actively involved with Chicago’s Green Wedding Alliance and sits on its board.  

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Pro Tip: Using local, in-season flowers will tye the colors of the season into your event in an effortless, artistic way.

Naturally Yours Events

Black and white photo of bride and groom
Photographer: Rebecca Marie Photography

As their name suggests, Naturally Yours Events is a full-service Chicago event planning firm with an emphasis on sustainable practices. They boast a history of expertly aiding clients with every detail, from day-of coordination to full-service planning. Naturally Yours has a professional and personal commitment to minimizing the harmful impact that the wedding industry has on the environment. The team incorporates green elements throughout the wedding planning process, and is engaged with the board of Chicago’s Green Wedding Alliance. Naturally Yours Events also recycles, composts, supports other local eco-friendly businesses, chooses sustainable food options, and uses greener office products.

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Chicago Vintage Weddings

Rustic decor
Photographer: Tulip and Rose Photography

Are you sick of seeing the same wedding trends at every wedding? Look no further than Chicago Vintage Weddings to help you plan a unique day. There is no such thing as a cookie-cutter wedding here with this team. They’ve worked with both stylish, modern events, and eclectic, bohemian bashes and can help you realize any dream you may have for your wedding in a luxurious, yet budget-conscious way. While leaning vintage is inherently an environmentally conscious habit, Chicago Vintage Weddings goes the extra mile, both by implementing sustainable business practices and hiring eco-friendly vendors.

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Lisa Gordon Events

Bride and groom on bike
Photographer: Johnny Knight

Lisa Gordon is a revolutionary, trailblazing her way through the event planning industry. Lisa Gordon specializes in non-traditional and eco-friendly weddings. The team reduces, reuses, and recycles whenever possible. Gordon personally volunteers her time with both the Green Wedding Alliance and the Rogers Park Food Co-op and sets the high goal of gathering resources to make every wedding as green as couples want it to be.

Pro Tip: Don’t settle. Research and interview multiple event planners until you find someone who undoubtedly understands your vision for your wedding.

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