A time for celebration and extravagance, weddings are a big affair. On your special day, the last thing you want to think about is your impact on the environment. That’s why we’ve put together a simple list of environmentally friendly choices you can make at every stage of planning.
The most beneficial way to reduce your carbon footprint for any event, not just your wedding, is to choose the right venue. This fundamental decision can really make a difference in each subsequent stage of planning. The rule of thumb is to keep it local. The further away the venue is to you and your guests, the further away everyone and everything has to travel. Whether it’s your catering service, your marquee tent or just your friends and family, all have to find their way to your event. If a destination wedding is a must-have, do your research. Ask potential venues about their green policies (i.e a recycling program) or if they have received any industry acknowledgements for sustainable practices.
Saying yes to the dress is a pivotal moment for any bride to be and thankfully there are many eco-friendly options available, so you don’t have to compromise on your ideal style.
Look to the past
The best method is to look for pre-loved gowns by asking friends, looking online or purchasing from a charity shop. There are thousands of options available and if you find something that is almost exactly right, hire a tailor, they can alter the gown to fit your size or specifications.
Consider renting your dress. While not the most popular option, it’s the most practical and saves on the raw materials and textiles needed to make a dress that may only be worn once.
Keep it Ethical
There are many bridal boutiques that specialise in selling gowns that are ethically made using eco-friendly methods such as organic cotton, bamboo or upcycled vintage fabrics. This way you have all the benefits of a designer dress while reducing your environmental impact.
Think of the future
If you’ve already found the dress of your dreams a good conciliation is to focus on the second life of your garment. Think of ways to reuse the material or have it altered to wear for another occasion. One neat idea is to repurpose it into a novel keepsake. This company turns your dress into a teddy bear that can be given to your first child or kept as a reminder of your day.
Choosing your food and catering options carefully will help reduce your overall environmental impact. Work with your caterers to find meals with foods in-season and locally sourced. This ensures the freshest ingredient without having to import produce from far away.
Avoid plastic cups, straws or disposable plates and cutlery. Instead hire glassware and go the bamboo route. Bamboo straws and cutlery are sustainably made, eco-friendly, reusable and depending on the look of your wedding, add a stylistic touch to match the decorations or theme.
Be sure to include vegan or vegetarian options to the menu. While it may not be for everyone, providing an enticing plant-based meal might lure some away from the steak or fish.
Set the tone of your eco-wedding early by inviting your guests using sustainable methods. Paperless e-vites cut the waste, streamline RSVP replies and can be infinitely customisable. If some guests don’t have an email address, a good compromise is to design a printed version just for them. If you intend to use paper, look into recycled options. This company goes one step further by offering plantable seed paper, where guests can literally grow their own wildflowers from your invitation. Finally, try to keep it simple. The more glue, ribbons and extras you add the more difficult it is to recycle after the event. A little reminder on the invite itself can help your guests dispose of the invite responsibly.
Many weddings use flowers as a key component in their decorations. While they look fantastic, they can be costly for both the planet and your pocket. Alternatives such as silk or hand-painted wooden arrangements look just as good and will last a lifetime. Using potted plants for table dressing ensures another use after the event, possibly as gifts for some of your guests. A new trend is using a fabric, button or broach arrangement for an alternative look bouquet.
Choosing the right theme of your wedding can also help to make sustainable decisions later on. Using a rustic or vintage look allows for the repurposing of old bottles, cans or wooden boxes. A homemade style lets you re-use fabrics for bunting or table cloths. Some have even replaced table name cards with decorated cookies.
As you can see, an eco-friendly wedding doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice beauty or quality. You can celebrate the future of your relationship and the planet by making small environmentally conscious decisions. A sustainable wedding is the perfect way to begin your lifelong union.