How to Throw an Eco-Friendly Wedding
Weddings are not the most eco-friendly events. Any one-off occasion can generate a lot of waste, such as food, decor and plastic packaging. Also, your guests will be travelling to your wedding, perhaps even from overseas, adding to your wedding’s carbon footprint.
However, there is no need to sacrifice the wedding celebration you have planned. Couples are increasingly looking at how they can make their weddings more sustainable. It actually only takes a few small changes to make a significant impact. So, throwing an eco-friendly wedding doesn’t have to add any planning stress!
As environmental awareness becomes more and more popular, sustainable wedding options have become more plentiful, from decorations to catering. So, whether you want a completely green wedding or just a few eco-friendly additions, take a look at our top eco-friendly wedding tips below.
Eco-Friendly Wedding Venues
Firstly, the biggest contribution to your wedding’s carbon footprint is travel. Therefore, if you can find a venue which is as closer to a majority of your guests as possible, or has excellent public transport links, this would be ideal!
When choosing the type of venue, something permanent, like a country house or barn, is a better option than transporting and constructing a venue like a marquee. All venues will have different approaches to environmental concerns, such as recycling or energy efficiency. Ask about their policies when you visit as they should have systems in place to adapt and contribute to your eco-friendly wedding, such as recycling facilities. Also, see if you can hold your ceremony and reception at the same venue, further cutting down the need for transport.
If you wish to cut down on energy even further, you could opt for an outdoors wedding, so the sun can provide the lighting! Venues such as vineyards or botanical gardens also offer facilities such as areas for catering and toilets and their natural beauty means there is no need for disposable decoration!
Eco-Friendly Bridal Fashion
Brides have the eco-friendly option of renting or reusing a pre-loved or vintage wedding dress. A seamstress can always alter the size or anything that doesn’t match your vision. If you’d rather be the first to wear your wedding dress, the rise in eco-fashion has impacted the wedding dress industry. For a green gown, there are designers who are dedicated to using sustainable fabrics and ethical production. For example, look for designers using organic, eco-friendly materials such as bamboo or organic cotton, for British-made designs or designers opposed to using sweatshops.
You might also want to consider ensuring your wedding dress has a future, rather than only being worn once. Buy a dress you could wear again, save your dress for the next generation of your family or sell it on for someone else to love.
You can even make sure your accessories are eco-friendly! Incorporate some of your long-time favourite pieces or some vintage family heirlooms into your wedding look. Then you’ll already have something old and something borrowed!
Eco-Friendly Wedding Party Fashion
For the men of the wedding party, this is simple. Hiring the groom and groomsmen’s suits instead of buying them immediately lowers any potential waste of a suit you might not wear again!
When it comes to your bridal party, there are similar options for avoiding fast fashion, with eco-friendly designers. Also, this is the perfect time to embrace a big wedding trend. Ask your bridesmaids to have dresses with the same colour and fabric but allow them to pick the style that they are the most comfortable in. Your bridesmaids are much more likely to wear their dress again if it’s one they love and feel comfortable in. They could even wear dresses they already own or renting is again an option. If you have your heart set on one bridesmaid dress that you know your girls won’t wear again, make sure the dresses go to a good home, through charity shops or online selling.
Eco-Friendly Wedding Hair and Beauty
You can make sure your wedding hair and beauty are eco-friendly by researching your different products. Avoid products that are tested on animals or contain ingredients that are harmful to the environment. By using products that contain natural ingredients or are even locally-produced, you are being eco-friendly and good to your skin! Consult with your hair and makeup artist to make sure they can use substitutes and for advice on the best eco-friendly products.
Eco-Friendly Wedding Food
Wedding food is perhaps one of the most potentially wasteful areas. However, eco-friendly catering is easier than you think. Using local, seasonal and organic food is a great way to offer a delicious, sustainable wedding meal. Ask your venue for help finding a caterer with a sustainable ethos, who source organic, local, Fairtrade and ethically-produced ingredients where possible. If your venue only offers in-house catering, then speak to them as soon as possible to discover where the food is sourced from and if there are local alternatives. The more local, the less carbon-footprint from transport.
When it comes to how you serve your food, some options, such as buffets, create more leftovers. While there are bound to be some leftovers, plated dinners tend to avoid excess food. If you are set on a buffet, speak to your caterer about saving leftovers.
You could also cut down the amount of meat or go for a completely vegetarian option. You can reduce waste and carbon footprint without sacrificing taste as delicious, plant-based meals consume fewer resources to produce. Even your wedding cake can be eco-friendly by using a local, organic bakery.
There is also the option of doing some of the catering yourself. Then, you can control what ingredients you use and where you get them. For example, you could make your own wedding cake and decorate it with natural, edible ingredients.
Eco-Friendly Wedding Favours
Favours are often one-off novelty items that create a lot of packaging. But, there are plenty of creative, eco-friendly favour ideas! Reusable glass jars are hugely popular as they can be filled with a variety of fun favours. For example, you can opt for homemade jam, a herb cutting, hot chocolate mix or handmade soap! You could also buy favours that give back to the environment, such as packets of flower seeds or potted seedlings.
You can even turn your placecards into favours! Personalised baked goods make adorable favours as well as allowing you to replace some paper wedding stationery.
Eco-Friendly Wedding Decor
For eco-friendly wedding decorations, there are several small steps you can take which immediately improve your environmental impact. For example, using recyclable or reusable items like glassware and bunting to just using less paper or fewer fairy lights can all have a positive influence.
Rustic or vintage weddings are particularly easy to accomplish with eco-friendly methods by using vintage or homemade items. Try renting your decorations rather than buying them or ask your friends or neighbours, especially those recently married, if they’ve anything you can borrow.
A great way to save electricity is by lighting your venue with candles, with the added bonus of giving your wedding a romantic atmosphere. With so many candle options, from clean-burning candles and refillable candles to candles made from wax-alternatives like beeswax and soy wax, they’re an incredibly eco-friendly lighting option.
After the wedding, there are plenty of ways to reuse, recycle, or donate your decorations, especially glassware or bunting. Try to use items you already own or ones that will fit into your home. If it can be used again, but you don’t want it, charity shops are an excellent option.
Eco-Friendly Wedding Stationery
Wedding stationery involves a lot of different items, which means lots and lots of paper. Emailing your invites allows you to eliminate paper altogether, and they don’t have to be boring! Consider emailing your guests a video link, setting up a wedding website or designing a fun e-card.
If you opt for paper invites, there are plenty of ways to make them eco-friendly. Make sure guests can recycle them by not having glitter, ribbon, glue or other embellishments that make them impossible to recycle. Don’t forget to include a line in your card encouraging guests to recycle the invite after your wedding!
Also, you can find invitation suites that are printed on recycled paper or use alternative materials like upcycled fabrics, leather, and wood. Plantable wildflower seed paper is an incredible option. Made from recycled paper, your invitation will sprout into flowers when planted in the soil! Also, look out for stationers who use more eco-friendly ink options such as vegetable or soy-based.
Eco-Friendly Wedding Flowers
For eco-friendly flowers, it is best to go seasonal and local. Look for florists that cut the stems and have the flowers to you within a few days. Also, ask if they’re able to deliver and display your flowers in vases. These can then be reused as gifts to key members of the bridal party, as well as cutting down on styrofoam packaging.
Minimise the number of cut flowers you have by using potted plants, such as herbs and succulents, as centrepieces and decorations. These can be kept by guests and yourself after the wedding!
Artificial wedding flowers, such as silk flowers, are increasingly popular. You won’t be sacrificing quality, in fact you can barely tell the difference between real and fake. They’ll last longer as well, becoming pretty wedding day keepsakes after the big day.
Preserved flowers are a good option too. For example, Blwsome combines design and naturally preserved flowers, introducing an innovative form of floral arrangement. All preserved flowers begin as 100% natural flowers and plants, grown in wild nature. Then, using modern techniques, the flowers are treated with a plant-based, biodegradable preservation liquid. The water inside the plants is replaced by this liquid, which is friendly to the environment and human health. Thanks to this process, the plants also keep the natural greenery, elasticity, softness and tenderness. Therefore, these flowers look and feel exactly like untreated flowers, yet with a much longer lifespan!
Eco-Friendly Wedding Transport
Guests travelling to your wedding in their own cars can create a significant carbon footprint.
Encourage guests to take public transport where possible. You could even arrange for a coach to pick up a group from a designated location. It’ll reduce pollution and can be a fun part of the day – think about getting a decorated double-decker bus!
Ask your guests to tell you if they have a free spot in their car so you can match them up with other local guests to limit the number of cars. When it comes to your own transport, eco-friendly wedding transportation isn’t limited to a horse and carriage. Other transport options include energy-efficient cars or even arriving on a boat if your ceremony is near water!
Eco-Friendly Wedding Gifts
If you are opting for a traditional gift list, pay close attention to where items are made and what materials are sourced. Consider items like organic bedding, cloth shopping bags or natural kitchen and bath products. Or some gift list services, such as Prezola, give you options to forgo unwanted gifts and ask for cash donations in a discrete and personal way, from a honeymoon fund to charity donations. Much more eco-friendly and useful options than a set of crockery you’ll never use!
For more ideas on how to create an eco-friendly wedding, take a look at our suppliers who specialise in everything unique and vintage!
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