The whole raison d’être behind a wedding is usually a blend of ‘once in a lifetime’ desires combined with personalising that wedding to the individual couple – often the last thing on people’s minds is the eco-credentials of the occasion. Our friends at Wedza.com give us some tips and ideas for making your wedding more eco-friendly.
However, more and more couples are increasingly opening their ideas up to the benefits of an eco-wedding and one of the great advantages – apart from helping that planet – is that it is often ultimately more economic.
By borrowing and inviting people to donate items, the bride and groom can involve wedding guests and attendees in a wholly unique way, making the day inclusive and all-embracing, integrating everyone so they are participants rather than just bystanders. Here are some large and small ideas to make your wedding more eco-friendly.
1. Choose an eco-friendly venue
This sounds daunting but it doesn’t have to be. If you are looking for an all-inclusive package at a hotel or similar venue then ask them about their green credentials and whether they have a sustainable eco-policy for their large events. Eco-friendly weddings are the latest news and savvy venues are getting ahead of the curve and proudly displaying their sustainable credentials whether it comes to menu choices or reusable decorations.
Whatever type of venue you are looking for, try and pick one which involves the smallest amount of travel for your guests, this lower the carbon footprint of the big day before you even pop a cork.
3. Eco-wedding favours
This is your opportunity to make a real environmental statement, why not make your own favours using recycled objects from your home or garden? Everyone loves the unique and personalised touch of ‘handmade; and it means you can avoid materials like single-use plastics. Think outside the box and choose favours that are specifically environmentally orientated like packets of wildflower seeds or birdseed favours – the options are endless.
4. Hiring or buying a second hand wedding dress
Using a family wedding dress that has been handed on is often viewed as a very special thing to do but did you know that you can also buy second hand wedding dresses which have been donated to charity? Cancer Research have a preloved wedding boutique so not only are you helping the environment but you also raising money for this very worthwhile charity. Some of the other major charities run similar schemes. Think preloved or vintage rather than second hand but if you are going for a new dress then choose an ethical designer/seamstress.
5. Eco-friendly wedding invitations
Well, this one’s easy, just email them out to people, there are loads of sites and templates online. You could even consider setting up a website just for your wedding day, guests can send their RSVP back to the website and you add other useful information like accommodation links or travel instructions – it all saves paper. If you do want to go traditional then choose recycled and recyclable paper or card
Now this is where you can make one of the biggest impacts by using locally sourced produce – it’s fresher and your guests will love the taste. Aim to have your whole menu originate from less than ten miles away. Avoid disposable cutlery and plates especially if you are having an outdoor reception or buffet – there are lots of alternatives.
7. Eco flowers
Go seasonal, go local and go British. Check out with your florist the full length of their supply chain to make sure they fit your eco bill. Choose organic flowers which are not treated with any pesticides or weedkillers which are unfriendly to the environment. Don’t forget the accessories like florist’s foam especially if you are having floral arrangements at the ceremony and the reception. Sometimes also called oasis, this is a single-use product which does not biodegrade and will release harmful dust. If you do use fresh cut flowers then arrange for someone to take them to a local old people’s home or residential centre for others to enjoy after the wedding. Potted plants and shrubs are another eco alternative, particularly at the reception.
8. Eco confetti
Days of artificial plastic confetti are long gone, we hope! Not only they are out of fashion but many venues have banned them allowing only biodegradable confetti or real petals to be used.
9. Eco-friendly wedding transport
If you are planning a riverside wedding then why not arrive by boat? Rowing, of course. A horse and carriage are a non-polluting way to journey to the venue. Why not hire a London bus to take everyone to the reception, not eco-friendly per se but it saves all your guests taking their own vehicles and will significantly reduce the carbon footprint. If you have a wedding website then you can encourage guests to contact each other so they can car share.
Use biodegradable balloons and avoid Chinese lanterns which are very harmful to wildlife and farm animals. Hire items which have already been used and can be re-used. Use candles instead of electric light, lovely and very atmospheric at a winter wedding.
11. Wedding presents
If you have already set up home and don’t need anything then why not ask your guests to get involved in a tree planting scheme or to donate what they would have spent on your present to one of the many environmental charities. Think about setting up a JustGiving page on social media to raise funds for a local or worldwide environmental issue, there are loads of innovative schemes on the internet.
See how easy it is to eco-theme or twist your big day, it simply isn’t a question of missing out and having to wave goodbye to what you really want but just thinking about the bigger picture and factoring the environment into your plans – even the smallest alteration can make a huge difference. Beg, borrow, steal and hire – your guests will love to make a physical contribution to your big day and it’s a great way to involve people who want to do something and who might otherwise feel left out. Best of all increase, environmental awareness by telling everyone what you are doing, just another reason to feel good on your feel good day.