Wedding Planner Designs Her Own Glamorous Yet Sustainable Big Day — See Her Photos and Top Tips

Kris & Rob – Green Wedding

Perry Vaile Photography LLC Kristen Gosselin and Rob Preli

When it was time for award-winning event planner and designer Kristen Gosselin to plan her own wedding, she knew she wanted it to be glamorous, but also sustainable.

Gosselin, 31, tied the knot with Rob Preli, a 36-year-old marriage and family therapist, at Morada Bay in Islamorada, Florida, on March 18 — and PEOPLE has the exclusive photos.

“A tropical beach and a full moon sky set the scene for the most memorable day of our lives,” the Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.-based Gosselin says. “It was everything we dreamed of and more, thanks to our dream team of event friends.”

Alarmed over the future of the planet amid the climate crisis, Gosselin says her group of vendors worked with her to cut back on the wasteful elements often found in weddings.

“It is hard to imagine that these beautiful and luxurious weddings could also be harmful,” she says, “but that is exactly the case.”

Now, she’s sharing the top ways she made her wedding eco-friendly.

Kris & Rob - Green Wedding

Kris & Rob – Green Wedding

Perry Vaile Photography LLC Kristen Gosselin and Rob Preli’s wedding on the beach at Morada Bay in Islamorada, Florida

Location, Location, Location

A simple yet effective way to make your wedding more sustainable is to really let the landscape be your venue. “The biggest thing to think about when choosing a destination or venue is understanding how much has to come in to transform it,” she explains.

Starting from “the ground up,” choosing a venue with sand, pavers or brick means you do not have to bring in disposable flooring or panels, which was an important factor in her own nuptials.

RELATED: Husband Thinks It’s 1993 as He Wakes Up from Accident. Then He Recovers — and Proposes to Wife Again

“There was very little we had to do to enhance our venue because of the natural arching of the palms, the white sand beach and the band structure that was in place,” Gosselin says of choosing the “absolutely gorgeous” Islamorada for her wedding.

Using the beach as a dance floor, all that was needed to create Gosselin’s reception venue was a tent. With sustainability in mind, Gosselin opted for a tent from Sperry Sailcloth, a company that is committed to “building handcrafted and breathable canopies, naturally occurring materials, rigorous attention to detail and small-batch manufacturing.”

Story continues

Choose Decorations You Can Reuse

No good wedding lacks flowers or decorations, and while they often go to waste afterward, there is a way to have your cake and eat it too!

For her flowers, Gosselin chose Morrice Florist, a Martha’s Vineyard-based company that reuses or donates leftover pieces to hospice and other local organizations.

Kris & Rob - Green Wedding

Kris & Rob – Green Wedding

Perry Vaile Photography LLC Kristen Gosselin and Rob Preli’s wedding bar

Gosselin says the florist “grows and harvests some items” for events but “mainly sources flowers from local farms” in order to keep the process as eco-friendly as possible.

For other decor, Gosselin used potted plants and ferns, which can be repurposed or replanted, as well as open flame fire pits as light accents.

Do you have a sweet story the world needs to know? Send the details to for a chance to be featured in Real-Life Love,’s series dedicated to sharing extraordinary connections and heartfelt gestures.

Kris & Rob - Green Wedding

Kris & Rob – Green Wedding

Perry Vaile Photography LLC Rob Preli and Kristen Gosselin on their wedding day

Limiting Transportation

When it comes to carbon emissions, traveling to and from wedding venues can really add up — unless guests can stay within walking distance.

“We set up a room block on site, so our guests were able to walk to all events and resort activities,” Gosselin says of her nuptials, adding that even “those who did not book within the block were mostly all within walking distance.”

And for those who stayed further away, Gosselin had it covered.

“I made sure to recommend hotels with free shuttles for those who did not want to walk,” she says. “We also used Freebee, who provides door-to-door transportation service free to the public with environmentally friendly electric vehicles.”

RELATED: Nurses Marry in Emotional Wedding After Epic Engagement at Hospital Where They Fell in Love During Pandemic

Kris & Rob - Green Wedding

Kris & Rob – Green Wedding

Perry Vaile Photography LLC Kristen Gosselin’s wedding ring on display in a box made by her husband, Rob Preli

Make What You Can

Handmade or DIY items are a smart way to be make your wedding more eco-conscious and unique.

For their big day, Gosselin’s husband designed and built rattan centerpieces, which helped incorporate “a custom and personal design element” and made it so they needed to source less items. Plus, the handmade centerpieces “can be used again for other clients in a number of ways,” Gosselin says.

Along with the centerpieces, Preli also made her a “beautiful wooden ring box” from disposed-of wood.

Kris & Rob - Green Wedding

Kris & Rob – Green Wedding

Perry Vaile Photography LLC Kristen Gosselin and Rob Preli’s table setting

When in Doubt, Rent It Out

Renting rather than buying is another way to ensure items won’t be wasted after your wedding.

For her wedding linens and tabletops, Gosselin chose Miami-based Nuage Designs — and the glassware she used has now been added to the rental inventory for her event planning company.

“Within the luxury event market, many couples opt for new and trendy items that may not be available within the rental companies’ inventories that we have access to,” she says. “With that being the case, we often collaborate with rental companies to acquire those new items into their inventory after the event to reduce waste.”

RELATED: Adele Helped This Couple Get Engaged — and Now They’re Married! See the Wedding Photos

Shop Your Closet

As a groomsman or bridesmaid, it can be expensive to purchase or rent an outfit for just one night. To avoid this, Preli had his groomsmen wear navy suits they already owned.

Additionally, Gosselin says her husband “pulled their looks together with neckties from Brothers of Otaa, whose incredible ties are made from sustainable materials and practices.”

Kris & Rob - Green Wedding

Kris & Rob – Green Wedding

Perry Vaile Photography LLC Rob Preli with his groomsmen

According to its website, the company’s ties are made out of recycled bottles that have been repurposed into thread. Even their packaging is reusable!

Fill Your Welcome Bags with Items Your Guests Can Reuse and Recycle

For most overnight weddings, it is customary to provide a welcome bag in the rooms — but unfortunately, the contents often include items that are wasteful and cannot be reused.

Kris & Rob - Green Wedding

Kris & Rob – Green Wedding

Perry Vaile Photography LLC Kristen Gosselin and Rob Preli’s wedding welcome bags

For her own wedding, Gosselin made sure her welcome bags were sustainable and that the companies she supported were ones that made a positive impact.

In the reusable tote there were “reusable plastic cups and Boxed water from Everybody Water, whose mission through their sales is to support clean water projects for women and girls,” Gosselin says.

Save the Date by Saving on Paper

Kris & Rob - Green Wedding

Kris & Rob – Green Wedding

Perry Vaile Photography LLC Kristen Gosselin and Rob Preli’s wedding invitations

Getting the word out about your wedding is essential, but it often includes a lot of paper waste. To limit that waste, Gosselin opted for digital RSVPs and postcard “Save The Dates” so fewer envelopes were needed.

For the formal invitation, Gosselin and her husband worked with the stationer to “understand the product and supply she had in excess that we could work with versus buying new.” They ended up choosing Order She Wrote, a company whose “specialty envelopes and packaging paper are also made with energy efficiency in mind,” according to Gosselin.

Donations Over Favors

In place of favors, which add more waste and unnecessary materials to a wedding, an alternative option is to make a donation instead.

“We made a contribution to Terrapass who calculates the carbon footprint of your wedding or event and allows you to offset it,” Gosselin says about her replacement. “Terrapass works to fund a variety of ongoing environmental projects globally, and we have since partnered our business with Terrapass.”

Keep Your Honeymoon Fun, Flirty and Environmentally Friendly

Green Honeymoon

Green Honeymoon

Rob Preli Kristen Gosselin on her honeymoon on Tetiʻaroa in French Polynesia

Of course, a sustainable wedding does not stop at the reception!

Choosing an environmentally friendly honeymoon is yet another way to reduce your carbon footprint. “We opted to stay at The Brando Resort which is a leader in the luxury and sustainable hospitality world,” Gosselin says. The resort, located on Tetiʻaroa in French Polynesia, is the first in the world to obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum Certification. For instance, Gosselin points out that “the coral in their lagoon is regenerating for the first time. This is happening virtually nowhere and is a testament to their hard work and commitment to sustainability.”

“We were blown away at all of their initiatives at work and can truly see the difference that these practices make,” Gosselin says of the resort.

RELATED: Man Who Lost Wife to Long COVID Marries Activist Who Helped Him Grieve in Stunning Sunset Wedding

How You Can Start Your Eco-Friendly Wedding Planning

Ultimately, a wedding day should be the best day of your life, but not the most wasteful.

“We all share a responsibility to consider the impact we make to our environment,” Gosselin says about why sustainable weddings are so important.

Kris & Rob - Green Wedding

Kris & Rob – Green Wedding

Perry Vaile Photography LLC Kristen Gosselin and Rob Preli on their wedding day

“It’s going to take all of us starting to do the little things that snowball into bigger, more substantial climate change. I can’t stress enough the importance of having the conversation with your vendor team,” she continues.

“You may be the push they need to put new initiatives in place,” she says. “Leading by example can go a long way.”

Gosselin suggests “talking to your floral designer about incorporating blooming plants and live-tree rentals” or ensuring that the team sources locally.

One added benefit? In addition to being eco-friendly, many sustainable wedding initiatives also save money. As Gosselin says, “Understanding the environmental impact and being able to offset the environmental footprint while also having the time of your life is a win-win!”