Earth Day weddings: 3 eco-friendly couples share green wedding ideas

PHOTO: Enie and Marc Hensel got married on Earth Day in 2017 in St. Augustine, Fla.PlaySean Kelly Conway
WATCH How to make your wedding more environmentally friendly

When it comes to choosing the perfect wedding date, many eco-loving couples are opting for Earth Day.

Take Enie and Marc Hensel, marine ecologists who tied the knot in St. Augustine, Florida, on Earth Day in 2017.

"We are both passionate about the coasts... as they are valuable, beautiful, and under threat," Enie Hensel told, "Good Morning America." "So, when we started to plan our wedding, we really wanted to find a way to include these unique places with our friends and family."

In honor of Earth Day, which falls on April 22 this year, three couples shared how they pulled off or plan to host the perfect green wedding.

Use your natural surroundings

Enie and Marc Hensel got married near a salt marsh under a live oak tree with Spanish moss dripping off of it.

PHOTO: Enie and Marc Hensel tied the knot under an oak tree in St. Augustine, Florida, in 2017. Sean Kelly Conway
Enie and Marc Hensel tied the knot under an oak tree in St. Augustine, Florida, in 2017.

"We chose this scenery and this day as a way to share our love and respect for nature with our close friends and family," Enie Hensel said.

The Hensels took it a step further and made sure their registry had some eco-friendly guidelines. They requested locally sourced products, items that were reusable and tried to avoid anything plastic.

Ditch the straws

"Straws are a one-time use item made of plastic for convenience, and they create an incredible amount of plastic debris for our lands and oceans," Enie Hensel said. "The stainless steel straw is a good example of a super small change in your daily life that can make quite a difference for the world."

What about tapioca flowers?

They avoided floral arrangements and, instead, incorporated native plants. Enie Hensel's bouquet consisted of sola wood flowers. Sola wood is made from the tapioca plant, which can grow in areas that receive very little water, making it very sustainable.

PHOTO: Enie Hensel shows off her eco-friendly bridal bouquet, made of sola flowers. Sean Kelly Conway
Enie Hensel shows off her eco-friendly bridal bouquet, made of sola flowers.

Their centerpieces were a shining example of a do-it-yourself, eco-friendly arrangement.

"[We] put on our marsh boots, waded out into the mud and took a few plant and flower clippings from a nearby salt marsh," Enie Hensel explained. "We also incorporated clippings from a large, fishing ghost-net ... My aunt found one about 100-feet long, and we thought of a way to reuse and re-purpose this 'beach trash.'"

PHOTO:The centerpieces at Enie and Marc Hensels wedding featured clippings the happy couple collected from a nearby marsh in St. Augustine, Florida, in 2017. Sean Kelly Conway
PHOTO:The centerpieces at Enie and Marc Hensel's wedding featured clippings the happy couple collected from a nearby marsh in St. Augustine, Florida, in 2017.

The Earth Day theme didn't stop at just flowers. Each guest got real plates and mason jars to use.

Choose glassware over plastics

"Our reception food was all locally sourced and sustainably caught," Enie Hensel said. "We had a low country boil for our main course. The cocktail hour had a fish dip, pickled okra, and fruit."

PHOTO:The food served at Enie and Marc Hensels wedding reception meal featured locally sourced ingredients. Sean Kelly Conway
PHOTO:The food served at Enie and Marc Hensel's wedding reception meal featured locally sourced ingredients.

They even placed recycling bins next to the trash cans to encourage people to be greener. They gathered the recyclables after the reception and took it to a nearby recycling center the next day.

PHOTO: Signs were posted around Enie and Marc Hensels wedding venue, reminding their guests how they could be greener. Sean Kelly Conway
Signs were posted around Enie and Marc Hensel's wedding venue, reminding their guests how they could be greener.

They tried to pay-their-knowledge-forward by posting a sign listing 10 things people could do to be more eco-friendly. Some of the suggestions included skipping the bag at a grocery store or being more mindful of the type of seafood you're eating.

"Earth Day is about appreciating the beautiful, fascinating, complex and diverse habitats and ecosystems that we have on this globe," Enie Hensel said. "Earth's ecosystems are much more than a landscape or seascape to simply look at."

PHOTO:Enie and Marc Hensel are both marine ecologists, so getting married on Earth Day in 2017 was a natural choice. Sean Kelly Conway
PHOTO:Enie and Marc Hensel are both marine ecologists, so getting married on Earth Day in 2017 was a natural choice.

"Nature provides us with food, water, medicines, cleans our air and water, protects us from storms, etc. Earth Day gives us a great opportunity to take a step back to appreciate how unique this planet is, how valuable it is to humans, and how important it is that we protect it," she said.

The Hensels are not alone in their love of Earth Day.

’Everything is better outside’

Sarah Williams and her now-husband Kaleb Williams got married on Earth Day last year in Wimberley, Texas, but their decision stemmed from their vision of an outdoor wedding in a magical forest.

"We knew we wanted a spring wedding and to have [the] ceremony and reception outside with lots of trees and water," Sarah Williams told "Good Morning America." "We chose an outdoor wedding because everything is better outside. It's a more peaceful and spiritual environment than any four walls could provide."

PHOTO: Sarah and Kaleb Williams got married on Earth Day in 2017 in Wimberley, Texas. Caity Colvard/CCPhotoFactory
Sarah and Kaleb Williams got married on Earth Day in 2017 in Wimberley, Texas.

They used an environmentally conscious caterer, compostable plates and cutlery, and composted food waste after the event. They gave potted herb plants as wedding favors to their guests.

PHOTO: The eco-friendly table settings at Sarah and Kaleb Williams wedding in Wimberley, Texas, in 2017. Caity Colvard/CCPhotoFactory
The eco-friendly table settings at Sarah and Kaleb Williams' wedding in Wimberley, Texas, in 2017.

She said they had dreamed of a "woodland fairy" theme, with blue bridesmaid dresses, plants as favors and even a butterfly release during their ceremony.

PHOTO: An adorable wedding attendee enjoys the butterflies after they were released during Sarah and Kaleb Williams wedding in Wimberley, Texas, in 2017. Caity Colvard/CCPhotoFactory
An adorable wedding attendee enjoys the butterflies after they were released during Sarah and Kaleb Williams' wedding in Wimberley, Texas, in 2017.

"Earth Day was just so perfectly meant to be [our] wedding date," Sarah Williams added. "It complemented [our] vision so completely, there was absolutely no other choice."

She said Earth Day is very important to her and she tries to honor it annually.

"I find that Earth Day is a perfect occasion to take time to reflect on what Mother Nature has given to us," Sarah Williams said. "To celebrate our green spaces, rivers, and springs, to think on what more I can do to give back. And now, it's also my wedding anniversary!"

David Ruiz and Samantha Mills are getting married on Earth Day this year

PHOTO: David Ruiz and Samantha Mills of New Jersey, seen in an undated handout photo, are getting married on April 22, 2018, which is Earth Day. Courtesy Samantha Mills
David Ruiz and Samantha Mills of New Jersey, seen in an undated handout photo, are getting married on April 22, 2018, which is Earth Day.

Mills is a registered nurse and has done a great deal of community service around the globe, so she felt like Earth Day was the perfect day to get hitched.

"I've done mission trips, medical brigades and tons of volunteer time to help people with the hopes that people will help people and, essentially, help the Earth," Mills told "Good Morning America." "David and I are huge on community service and giving back to the community, people, our surroundings and the Earth. Earth Day this year will be even more special because, now, I'll have someone to share it with forever!"

PHOTO: David Ruiz and Samantha Mills of New Jersey, seen in an undated handout photo, are getting married on April 22, 2018, which is Earth Day. Courtesy Samantha Mills
David Ruiz and Samantha Mills of New Jersey, seen in an undated handout photo, are getting married on April 22, 2018, which is Earth Day.

Their table linens are pre-used and they only chose locally grown flowers for their arrangements, which they plan to donate to a rehab and health care nursing facility where Mills used to work.

Donate the flowers afterward

"I am going to bring the flowers to each of the residents," Mills said.

Earth Day weddings are all about paying it forward and paying respect to the beautiful planet on which we live.

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