I know, I know…this blog post title seems like an oxymoron. What is eco-friendly about Las Vegas?

It’s a city built in a desert with huge water consumption rates, buffets and restaurants that ship in tonnes of food from around the world, lots of cars – but hear me out. It IS possible to have an ecologically sensitive wedding there. It’s maybe not the MOST sensible place to have a wedding if being green is one of your biggest priorities in a wedding, but there are some venues you can consider if it’s important to you.

What do these two buildings above share in common…? There are a few venues you might consider above others if you are ecologically sensitive in your everyday life and wish it to extend to your wedding:

ARIA at CityCenter  (above left) is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, hotels in the world to become LEED Gold certified. The property has also received 5 Green Keys from the Green Key Eco-Rating Program, the largest international program evaluating sustainable hotel operations. The complex it is in, CityCenter, features a number of ecologically minded points as well:

  • Energy and heat at CityCenter comes from a natural gas plant onsite, which reduces emissions. They also recycle heat to heat the water for the hotels.
  • Water is conserved and recycled. Reductions in water usage are 30 percent and 43 percent within the buildings and 60 percent for landscaping
  • Their limo fleet are natural gas powered
  • Much of the construction waste from the previous hotel (Boardwalk – home of the best hotdogs ever – R.I.P) to exist on the site was recycled and even reincorporated
  • Low-wattage lighting keeps public space lighting more efficient, and native local plants were used in the landscaping to keep water needs lower
  • Window glazing, building shades, and light-colored rooftops reflect the hot desert sun, and help keep cooling costs down in the buildings

You can read more about CityCenter and ARIA’s commitment to the environment here.

{Cited: http://www.archdaily.com/50724/city-center-las-vegas-6-leed-gold-certifications/}

Springs Preserve (above right) is a LEED Certified venue, and where I held my wedding, incidentally. They feature an ecologically minded cafe and catering service in addition to a venue that has a clear focus not only on sustainability, but educating visitors about desert living.

They host a series of videos about being a LEED complex, and the various ways they try to live sustainably. This not all just for show, either. I can personally attest to the staff’s commitment to being green. They were very clear about reusable water dispensers and compostable cups instead of bottled water. Their catering department and cafe focuses on locally grown, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. Meetings and other events, not just weddings, focus on environmentally responsible practices and sustainability.

Your guests also have access to the gardens and education centers of the Springs Preserve, perfect for entertaining in between events.

As far as venues, the Desert Living Center uses green construction and exist to educate visitors about green design. It’s also a great place for a reception, as the indoor spaces feature recycled carpeting, straw bale insulation, and cooling towers. There is solar power, wind power, recycled everything, xeriscaping and very little grass to sustain – making almost all of their venues ecologically minded.

Seriously – Springs Preserve is so amazing, even if you do not have your wedding there, I recommend you visit to learn more about desert living, the history of Las Vegas and think about your future.

There are also a few vendors you might consider if you want to keep it ecological and elegant:

The Las Vegas florist An Octopus’s Garden will source and use native and local plants and flowers. They also suggest you rent vases and containers, and focus on using entire living plants for tablescapes instead of cut flowers. The florists shy away from using preservatives to make the flowers last long, and to save them from being dumped into the environment afterwards. They use succulents and grasses native to Nevada, and use natural elements like wood, stone and sand to help decorate instead of plant material.

Las Vegas stationer and designer Visionary Pen run a letterpress that is human powered and use non tree based paper, made from cotton, bamboo and even elephant dung! They are conscious of ink materials, and use their extra paper and cut offs for other projects, or donate them to schools. How awesome are they?!

And to get to the reception? You can corral every one together at a central location and have an EarthLimo bus pick them up. EarthLimo is a Vegas company that uses biodiesel, liquefied petroleum gas  and hybrid technology in their buses, limos and shuttles.

You might also consider reducing your impact before and during your event as well: electronic invites or recycled paper and water soluble ink. Buying local to reduce transport. Thinking about how often you need your bedsheets and towels washed in your hotel. Consider spending a bit more money and renting glassware and plates for any showers, parties or events around your wedding. These are all factors you can consider even if you do not want to go with a certified “green” venue.

For real Las Vegas green couple wedding power, check out this wedding highlighted on Eco-Beautiful Weddings. It’s amazing!

Photo credit: Voyages Destination, Lovely Las Vegas.com, An Octopus’s Garden