Events becoming sustainable in Portugal

By 27 | 06 | 2022 No Comments

7 Areas Your Event Can Be More Sustainable.
Sustainable Event Lowdown and Suggestions

We take sustainability and the environment into consideration as much as we can during the planning and execution of your weddings and events.  In this blog, we would like to offer insight and alternatives to aspects within events that can be better for the environment!  We know everyone can do better, and we are no exception.  While there are a lot of options for more environmentally friendly aspects to fold into your wedding or event, we will touch on seven areas of event sustainability.  


 Some venues may not be up-to-date on the current trend of sustainable design and the best way to find out is to ask questions.  Some questions you can ask are…

  • Does this venue have an in-house recycling policy?
  • Tell me about your water appliances and fixtures
  • Do you have a policy for smart energy and wastage?
  • Do you encourage reduced plastic?

If these questions lead to not-so-ideal answers, inquire if the venue is able to achieve your specific sustainability goals of your event including some of the topics found below.  For example, will their preferred catering company be able to offer a more sustainable menu!?  

Another option is to choose the great outdoors as your venue, saving you money as well as lowering the carbon footprint of hosting an event indoors!  


Food and beverage is a huge opportunity for sustainable consideration in many different ways including what it is consumed off of, where we acquire it, and how it is grown.

Reusable glassware, dishes and cutlery is a great start. If there is a pool or dancefloor, many venues will not allow glass. However, there are options for non-glass and non-plastic dishware such as bamboo or rice husk. If you do need one-and-done dishware, consider going with disposable paper plates that are 100% compostable. Although it is still not the most environmentally friendly, acrylic glassware is an option near dancefloors and pools if you are willing to reuse them more than twice! Also, consider ditching the straws. This could be a great gift idea… offer a package of bamboo or metal straws to enjoy at the event and to take home with them.

We discussed the options for consumption, but what about the food and beverage itself? We understand that if you have a wedding or special event that feeds a lot of people, it is hard to spend the money to ensure the food is sustainable. However, there are many small changes you can make that makes a large impact. We are noticing a trend in restaurants toward local and seasonal produce being used. Not only will your food be fresher and you will support your local farmers and food producers, but it lowers your carbon footprint through less travel. In terms of meat, it is unrealistic to not offer meat as an option at an event, but supporting farmers and butchers who care about the way animals are raised and slaughtered is a way to work toward eating sustainably.

Sourcing less exotic options for beverages is another consideration. Go for local wines and beverages rather than imports. Check out our other blog post regarding organic wine to take this even further!

If you live in an area where serving foods that are local and seasonal is not an option, or you want to take your food sustainability to the next level, you can consider food options that are more sustainably grown through options that require less water, less land, and other resources. This is a challenge but is possible and can be done in many ways. Some of the most sustainable foods are beans and lentils, mussels, organic vegetables, leafy greens, and bison. Meat, and especially red meat, is traditionally unsustainable due to taking up large quantities of land and water. The consumption of red meat has been a big contribution to deforestation and climate change. However, bison is more sustainable because they trample grounds and graze, leading to restoring vegetation.


Yes, even particular lighting can be more sustainable than other lighting, such as LED lights. Not only do they consume less power, but they save energy and reduce carbon emissions. On top of that, it may be preferred for your event because you can use different colours for different moods and even create light shows.


There are a few considerations for sustainable flowers including how the flowers are grown, sourced and what you do with them following your wedding or event with both environmental and societal considerations.

Just as food is more sustainable locally grown and sourced, the same goes for flowers. As well as the transportation issues, flowers require a fridge to maintain freshness, and imported flowers must be covered in fungicides in order to satisfy import regulations. If you choose local flowers, they do not require chemicals which protects the land and everyone involved, however that does not mean local farmers will not use chemicals so it is best to check. After florists retrieve flowers from the farmer, they may use florist chemicals to enhance the look and lifespan of the flowers which contains carcinogens and is not biodegradable.

In terms of societal considerations, sustainable flowers include the idea of fair labour pay, working in a healthy environment, and treating workers with respect for those working on the flower farm.

With your specific event in mind, an option for sustainable flowers is choosing what is in season from a local supplier. Plants are more sustainable than flowers so if you include greens as well as flowers in your bouquet and flower arrangements then you are already off to a great start!

Post-event, you could ask the venue or florist if your flowers and greenery could be reused, you can donate them to a hospital, community centre, business or care home, you could offer them to be used in a photoshoot, or you could use them as gifts for your guests (more on sustainable gifts below).

Washington University (2019) created a sustainable flower guide in PDF that you can find here.


When it comes to event décor, small alterations can make a big and positive impact. If you are considering using latex balloons or other plastic party supplies/decorations, this is a big area in which you can improve your plastic consumption. Although a plastic product may be biodegradable and recyclable, it can still have a harmful impact on the environment.

Plastic takes a long time to decompose, the environmental damage is long-lived, and it is toxic when under sunlight and when burned. Plastic can cause harm or death to animals, wildlife, and plants inland/in the ocean through digesting it, being trapped in it, or through being exposed to the toxicity. This can lead back to humans if the toxins are in the animal which the human uses for food consumption. Although you may do your part and recycle plastic or buy biodegradable products, not all plastic is recyclable and biodegradable products can take over a year to breakdown. Even if plastic products are recyclable, there is BPA in some plastics that can cause infertility, PCOS and other metabolic disorders.

On top of the reasons already mentioned above, if you release balloons into the air as a celebrative moment and they hit powerlines, this can short circuit equipment and can cause outages and fires. Fires are a big cause of concern in dry locations where fires can quickly turn into devastating wildfires. Helium balloons are a cause for concern as there is currently a helium shortage and many individuals do not realize helium it essential in the healthcare system for MRIs scanners and other machines.

If your event is not upscale, consider making décor made out of scrap paper instead. If you are planning a wedding or more upscale event, homemade decorations may not be the best option. Instead, be a little creative such as decorating with plants and greenery or beeswax candles with glass holders.


If you are considering gifts for your guests, gifts without packaging is a great idea. To improve sustainability even further, gift your guests something they will use more than once that you will already need to purchase for your event. For example, it is possible to gift your guests some of the event décor such as the candles or plants mentioned above that you may choose to use as table centrepieces/decoration.


The consideration with transportation is all about your carbon footprint and attempting to minimize greenhouse gas emissions which is a harsh addition to climate change. The best way to figure out the most sustainable travel decisions for your event is to compare fuel with CO2 emissions with the number of passengers aboard. An online article written by Gregory Vodden (2020) shared a chart that compared the environmental impact of different transportation options for a 382-mile trip (614km).

Overall, a bus is the most efficient. If your event is farther away from the city, maybe arranging a bus for guests from a central would be the best option. This would also help with driving responsibly and allowing guests to enjoy their night as much as possible!

As you can see, there are many small changes you can make to your plans that create more sustainable events. You are not expected to achieve all of them but it is nice to know the options are there if event sustainability is important to you while planning your wedding or event!