How to Go Green on Your Wedding Day
When it comes to planning a planet-friendly wedding, every sustainable swap makes a difference. Here are some green ideas to get going!
There’s no denying that large-scale weddings and events can take their toll on the environment. All the decorations, catering, travelling and more generate carbon emissions and leftover wastage after the day comes to an end. But it’s not all doom and gloom, as even making a few sustainable swaps can add up to make a positive impact! While it’s challenging to create a completely carbon-neutral wedding, we’ve rounded up some easy eco-tips to help you make some green planning choices in the lead-up to your special celebration…
Your engagement ring is a beautiful reminder of your promise to each other, but no matter how much it costs, it's the sentimental value that matters the most. For a more ethical jewel, bidding for a vintage gem at an auction will be a unique and timeless choice. Alternatively, some couples might have an heirloom in the family to pop the question with, or if you’re open to the latest technology, opting for a lab-grown diamond emits a lower level of pollution.
Keep Things Small
Micro-weddings were a non-negotiable during the pandemic, but now they’ve become a popular choice. We believe this trend is here to stay, with brides and grooms selecting a smaller guest list to create a more intimate atmosphere, lower costs and reduce excess waste. By sharing the day with people you know well, you’ll reduce the space needed to host everyone, which has a domino effect on the equipment and catering emissions. Sometimes less is more!
Traditionally, couples would send out a save the date and an official invite with RSVP cards, which is always a beautiful keepsake! But by reducing the amount of post, you save the environment while going easier on your wallet. There are some great online companies out there, such as Paperless Post or Greenvelope, that have creative designs to send by email. But if you still love the physical feeling of an invite, then opt for recycled or plantable seed paper.
There is often a lot of waste associated with gift-giving, so the key is to choose items that will last you a lifetime. Buy Me Once shares this ethos and provides a registry for couples looking to find unique high-quality goods that you won’t need to replace in years to come. Patchwork Presents is another unique concept, which enables guests to buy honeymoon experiences or dedicate their skills to the happy couple, all while donating to an environmental charity.
Your venue is one of the biggest decisions of the planning process. So if sustainability is important to you, then try to find a setting that shares your environmental values. Take note of their recycling policies, check if their suppliers are local and see if there is an option for outdoor ceremonies or receptions. The more natural light, the less energy is needed to light up a room. Also, if the venue is already decorated, it reduces the amount you will need to bring.
Trim Back on Travel
Travelling by plane or car releases a lot of pollution into the atmosphere, so take this into consideration if you want to reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint. By choosing a venue that is nearby to all of your family and friends, it is easier for them to arrange carpools or take public transport. If your ceremony and reception are close to one another, your guests might be able to walk from A to B, or you could arrange a bus to take them from the church to the venue.
Pre-loved Bridal Gowns
Making a wedding dress takes a lot of energy and materials, especially if you are planning on wearing it once. If you’d like to incorporate a more eco-friendly fashion choice, why not opt for a stunning ethical brand, upcycle a vintage bridal gown, or choose a pre-loved dress from a secondhand shop? The Loop and Brides Do Good are great examples of how to elongate the lifecycle of dresses and build on the love stories of designer garments.
The groomsmen will want to feel dapper on your wedding day, but buying a brand-new suit is a costly investment, especially when it comes to tuxedos and morning attire. There are brilliant suit rental hire companies out there, such as Moss Bros or Oliver Brown that can custom fit the whole ensemble. The more affordable rental prices might even free up some budget to opt for a more expensive or designer look. Every usher will look the part, it’s a win-win!
Ethical beauty brands will elevate your bridal look while being kind to the planet. From your head to your toes, make conscious makeup and skincare choices with a low impact on the environment. Keep an eye out for products that contain organic ingredients, promote cruelty-free testing and are contained in thoughtful packaging. You’ll beam from the inside out knowing that the products on your skin are sustainable too.
Wedding favours are the added extra that is not always on everyone’s priority list. But if you are keen on leaving a small gift for your guests, there are lots of sustainable solutions. Edible favours, such as personalised cookies or mini cocktail jars leave little waste and double up a delightful table placename. Another popular idea is a potted succulent. Not only do they make beautiful botanical décor, but they’ll also remind guests of your special day as they grow.
Your confetti exit is the ultimate photo opportunity that you’ll have on your wall for many years to come. As your friends and family toss handfuls of colour into the sky, everyone’s faces light up with the joy of the occasion. While it's a small detail, choosing biodegradable confetti makes a big difference. Instead of paper confetti that takes longer to break down, choose eco-friendly confetti from Shropshire Petals or go DIY and dry out the petals yourselves!
Fresh blooms will create a stunning aesthetic and fragrance on your big day. To help keep things sustainable, choose seasonal stems and avoid the use of floral foam where possible. Your florist will be able to recommend flowers that reflect your theme and palette, such as peonies, sweetpeas and sunflowers in summer, or jasmine and winter honeysuckle in the colder months. After the ceremony, you can also try to reuse the flowers in the reception area to save on additional blooms.
Farm to Fork
Culinary choices are important on your wedding day, as it’s the all-important fuel to keep your guests energised and ready to dance all night long! While it’s important to pick the food you love, it’s about getting that perfect balance. For example, buffets are more cost-effective, but they do create more waste. Also, ask your chef where they source their ingredients from and you might want to incorporate meat-free options, which consume fewer resources to produce.
Introducing ‘something borrowed’ is actually quite a sustainable custom. By borrowing decorations and backdrops, it reduces the number of throwaway items that you might need to buy. There are plenty of rental companies out there, plus, you can recycle glass jars and bottles to make pretty centrepieces. If any of your friends held a wedding recently, they might have something you can borrow, like garden games and photo props to entertain your guests.
After the excitement of your big day, you’ll need some much-needed downtime! Choosing a minimoon close to home is the more eco-friendly option, but if you have a far-flung destination on your bucket list, this could be the time to go for it! Why not get in touch with travel agents and tour operators that specialise in sustainable trips, such as Responsible Travel or AndBeyond.
Looking for more advice on how to create a wedding without compromising the planet? Subscribe or read our magazine online via issuu.com!
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