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Honoring Our 1 True Host: Expert Tips to Plan Your Next Earth-Friendly Event

We’re sharing unexpected ways to bring your vision to life while nurturing Mother Nature.

Published on: February 12, 2024
Wedding Table Setup

We believe in gathering, connecting, and celebrating in dynamic spaces that honor, embody, and uplift the natural world. These experiences—immersed and engaged in nature—unite us in our common ground and remind us of our core mission.

To help you infuse this ethos into your next event, we’re sharing our favorite, tried-and-true tips for gathering in a way that honors Mother Nature. From mindful mixology to reusable florals, we believe no detail is too small when it comes to reducing our event-planning (and overall) footprint.

To give a little more context to these tips, we also interviewed Megan Starnes, the Assistant Director of Catering at 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay. Her experience illuminates how these techniques shine on Kauai’s North Shore. Knowing very well that sustainable event planning can feel overwhelming at times, she shares her expert insights to help you weave sustainability into every step of your planning process, whether you’re hosting a wedding or an intimate celebration in your backyard. 


In no particular order, we’ve listed some of our favorite methods for planning mindful, sustainable gatherings. These are the same systems we use when planning events across our sanctuaries, so you can rest (or revel) assured that we’ve tested and adapted these tips in a wide variety of gatherings.

  • WATCH OUT FOR WASTE. It’s tempting to consider waste an afterthought, but we believe it should be accounted for—and minimized—from the beginning of the event planning process. Not only do we believe in minimizing it throughout the planning process, but we also encourage waste diversion strategies like composting, upcycling scraps, and avoiding all things single-use.

    • Some specific, tangible steps for this include: talking with your vendors to ensure they’re avoiding single-use items, buying in bulk to reduce packaging waste, and designating separate bins for trash, compost, and recycling.

  • SIP AND SAVOR, SUSTAINABLY. Whether your event is intimate or epic, we always recommend partnering with local purveyors, sourcing local sustainable food items, mixing mindful beverages, and serving everything with reusable glassware, plate ware, and silverware.

    • This might look like exploring plant-based and/or zero-waste menu options as well as seeking partners who can help you donate leftovers to people in need, like our partners at Copia.

    • Our Mindful Mixology tips can help you shake up a great time at your next gathering. Each cocktail offers a new opportunity to support sustainable spirit brands and upcycle citrus rinds, coffee grounds, or other food scraps that would otherwise contribute to food waste. Give these amazing ingredients a vibrant and spirited second life!

  • COLLABORATE CONSCIOUSLY. From food to flowers, be sure to ask your vendors about their stand on sustainability. Do they source flowers in season? Are they shipped from the furthest corners of the world? Asking questions like this can guide you toward vendors and planners who truly care about their impact on the planet.

  • CURATE DO-GOOD DÉCOR. From reusable flowers to adaptable signage, we hope you’ll opt for decorations that can be infinitely reused. Instead of watching your décor collect dust or dry out, witness it come to life again at another joyous event.

  • MAKE YOUR MISSION HEARD. Spreading your event’s sustainability mission is a great way to unite and inspire your guests. Plus, it makes your gathering that much more special.

Now that we’ve covered the framework, let’s see how it comes to life through Megan’s work—surrounded by the sacred, breathtaking backdrop of Hanalei Bay.



Can you share a bit about your role and how you contribute to creating memorable experiences?

As Associate Director of Catering, my role is multifaceted and revolves around creating unforgettable experiences for our guests, especially in the realm of weddings and events. I work closely with our team to ensure that every aspect of a couple's special day is meticulously planned and executed to perfection.

In the realm of weddings, personalization is often crucial. How do you work with couples to ensure their wedding reflects their unique style while staying true to 1 Hotels’ sustainability values?

In terms of personalization, we understand that each couple has a unique vision for their wedding day. To align their preferences with 1 Hotels’ sustainability values, we engage in thorough consultations with the couples and their vendor teams. This involves understanding their aesthetic and design choices as well as personal preferences. We then collaborate with the couple and their vendor team to determine how we can best incorporate sustainable elements into the planning process, whether it's choosing sustainable decor, going paperless when possible, and/or providing local and sustainably sourced catering menus.

Can you talk to us about the Certified Sustainable Gatherings program and share examples of sustainable practices implemented in weddings and events, such as sourcing local and organic materials, waste reduction strategies, or other initiatives? 

The Certified Sustainable Gatherings program at 1 Hotels is a testament to our commitment to environmentally friendly practices. This program focuses on incorporating sustainable initiatives into all our events, including weddings. Examples of sustainable practices include sourcing locally produced materials, working with local vendor teams, implementing waste reduction strategies, and properly disposing of the waste produced at the wedding or event.

How do you collaborate with local vendors and partners to ensure a seamless and sustainable event experience for your clients?

Collaborating with local vendors and partners is a crucial aspect of our sustainability efforts. We prioritize working with businesses that share our commitment to sustainable practices. This involves collaborating with sustainable florists and incorporating locally-made decor items. We ask all of our vendor partners to sign our Vendor Code of Conduct and join our efforts to produce as little waste as possible for weddings and events. By engaging with local vendors, we not only support the community but also reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation from sourcing materials produced off-island.


As Megan mentioned, these methods live at the core of our Certified Sustainable Gatherings program. It’s meticulously designed to minimize single-use materials, divert at least 90% of all waste, and support ethical local vendors who share our values. 

Whether you wish to throw an earth-friendly gathering in your own space or one of our sanctuaries—we hope you feel inspired to embrace this mindful approach, and we can’t wait to watch your sustainable events blossom and ignite a ripple effect of positive change.

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