As lockdown eases, we are seeing an influx in smaller outdoor weddings. Similarly, we are also seeing an influx in ‘greener’ weddings. Couples are choosing more sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives when it comes to planning their special day.
Because, if the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it would be that as humans populating this earth our individual actions and behaviours have a great effect on the earth and the people that inhabit it around us.
A study from the supermarket giant Sainsburys suggests that ‘a tenth of all wedding food ends up in the bin – an average £488 worth of wasted food’ and that is in just one day. In addition, according to an article written by Weddings by Annabel, ‘as many as 14.5 tonnes of gas will be created during an average celebration… given annual carbon emission per capita in the UK is just 9.1 tonnes. With roughly 250,000 weddings taking place every year, that’s a net result of 3,625,000 tonnes of gas being emitted’
Below we have written an easy-to-follow guide for couples looking to plan an eco-friendly wedding. Providing ideas for the engagement, through to wedding attire and then onto the guest lists. Concluding with us providing you with a fool proof plan for recycling post wedding.
1. The Engagement
The start of every wedding begins with an engagement, that’s a given. If you are looking to host an eco-friendly wedding, it feels just to start as you mean to go on.
A great idea for a sustainable engagement is a pretty obvious one. Get engaged in the great outdoors, just the two of you. Keep it small and intimate. You might be sat at home racking your brain for locations now for your small outdoor engagement. However, one thing to keep in mind is that if you are travelling by car, remember to keep the driving distance to a minimum. Because, if you are reading this article, you probably already know of the damage non-electric cars have on our earth, with car pollution being one of the major causes of global warming to date.
👇 Use the map below to find green spaces around your area👇
2. The Ring Supplier
Doing your research when it comes to purchasing wedding and engagement rings will inevitably save you money and time in the long run.
Things to consider:
- Are they using low impact materials in the production of my rings?
- Have they ensured and proved the precious stone I am buying has been sourced ethically?
- Do I need to speak with the supplier directly, above the jewellers?
- Are there other environmental and social concerns associated with the ring?
- Can my supplier use recycled materials in the production of my ring?
Another piece of information to consider when researching for the perfect sustainable wedding ring is that the lowest impact wedding ring materials are Stainless Steel and Wood Rings. Because with the correct care and up-keep they can last a lifetime as well as creating a low impact when being produced (if sourced properly)
Brilliant Earth has one of the most extensive selections of eco-friendly wedding rings crafted with 100% recycled metals. The company even have their own collection of lab-grown diamond and gemstone rings available too.
However, if a lab-grown diamond isn’t your cup of tea, maybe a family heirloom ring is. In addition, consider shopping vintage or second hand for your wedding or engagement ring. Finally, hunting in a charity shop in the right area can send you on a path of success not just for a wedding ring but for tons of other materials for your wedding such as décor and attire. Moving me onto my next tip nicely…
3. Wedding Attire
When it comes to wedding attire, using clothes you already own is a pretty obvious suggestion.
However, just buying smart is also a great option. Consider the impact you are creating when sourcing your garments. Research the background of the business, do they pay a fair wage to the garment worker? Do they use recycled and sustainable fabrics? Do they look after and protect their workforce up and down the supply chain? Having this knowledge actually increases the likelihood of you keeping that particular garment for longer and caring for it properly, as you have a deeper connection to the person behind the garment.
Shopping with slow fashion in mind is a great way to live a more sustainable life, in and out of wedding planning and preparation.
Failing that, just as above, shopping second-hand or upcycling your own existing garments is a great alternative to just heading to your local shopping centre to pick up a suit or dress you will wear once and most likely chuck away.
4. Wedding Invitations
When it comes to sending those all-important wedding invitations, the most sustainable option is sending them all out digitally. However, not all of your guests will have direct access to an email account or even the technology to view the invitation on. Alternatively, using recycled paper for the invitations is a great way to make the act eco-friendlier.
In addition, encouraging the reader to recycle the invitation instead of chucking it into the general waste bin is another great way to keep things that bit more sustainable. Finally, handpicked dried flowers are a creative way to make your invitations look more attractive, whilst adding a personal touch to the statement.
5. Décor & keep-sakes
Flowers at any wedding are a must. However, would you believe it is possible to have unsustainable flowers? Well, it sure is. Having exotic non-seasonal flowers at your wedding usually means that they have to be shipped or flown from abroad. This is a completely unnecessary polluter. A simple solution to this problem would be to buy local and seasonal flowers. In addition, simply growing your own flowers is a great option also.
However, if time is an issue simply finding a sustainable florist close to you is also a great option. Below is a list of a few things to consider when opting to source your wedding flowers from a sustainable supplier.
They are as follows:
- Make sure they don’t use floral foam or plastic!
- Consider if they source local or ethically certified flowers
- Decide if they transparent enough about how they work and where their flowers come from
In addition to flowers, other popular wedding décor items have much more sustainable alternatives, such as biodegradable confetti and recycled paper placemats and napkins. The truth is there are tons of more eco-friendly product options out there for pretty much everything involved in a wedding. It just takes a quick google search to find them all.
6. Location & Venue
When it comes to planning the location of the wedding the best advice to give is to stay local. Because, by staying local, you are making it much easier for you and your guests to get to and from the venue.
If I can give some even better advice, it would be not to travel abroad. Travelling abroad for a wedding is completely unnecessary unless you have family and friends in one particular area of the world, and you would like for your special day to be closer to them.
When it comes to choosing a particular venue, keep in mind that you want to be looking for a venue that can host your special day outside. Why may you ask? Because by having your ceremony and reception outside, you can make the most of all the natural sunlight. Similarly, finding a venue that can host both your ceremony and reception means there is less travel time for you and your guests on the big day. Less travel time means fewer emissions.
Some of our favourite eco-friendly wedding venues include:
When it comes to travelling to a particular venue, you will want your guests to use mass transport. For example, by travelling by coach or bus you are cutting the number of cars being driven to that particular venue.
Another option is to organise a carpool trip pre-wedding. Again, this option is cutting the number of cars being driven to that particular spot.
You might also want to consider local suppliers as you will want to avoid having multiple different companies making longer and unnecessary journeys to that particular venue.
8. Wedding Feast
Having your wedding feast locally sourced means you are supporting local farmers and smaller businesses. Much like sourcing locally, you will want to make sure your food is being produced organically, which means no harmful pesticides are being sprayed onto your food. In addition, going meat-free for your feast is also a great option, however, this is something purely down to individual preference.
A great way to minimise unnecessary waste is to ensure that the leftover food is being recycled properly. For instance, asking your venue if they have a policy where they recycle their food waste and if they do not, finding a company that does, you can have your food waste either donated to local food banks or even have it turned into compost.
A final important thing to remember when planning your wedding feast is to consider the need for cutlery. I mean obviously you guys will need cutlery, but what is so bad with asking guests to bring their own? This is reducing the need for disposable plastic alternatives. However, if that isn’t something you would be up for asking your guests to do, there are bamboo cutlery and cutlery rental alternatives out there.
9. Guest List
Your wedding is a once in a lifetime kind of day. Saying that you will want to have your nearest and dearest close by on the big day. However, having a shorter guest list means there are fewer people travelling to the venue which in short means fewer people increasing carbon emissions by travelling to that particular area.
A selective guest list can also reduce costs the fewer people you choose to invite. Having a small and intimate wedding also means you can spend more time with each guest as appose to trying to rush around speaking to everyone there.
10. Recycling Plan
My final piece of advice, I would highly recommend having a system set up where guests can recycle during the event. Also, consider what you would like to do with wedding décor and such once your wedding has finished. For instance, sending guests home with table décor or leftover food means that things aren’t getting left behind and thrown away. The items can be repurposed and reused. In addition, this will also shorten the clean-up time post-wedding.
Do keep the idea of sending your guests home with something in mind when deciding what sort of thing you would like to decorate your wedding with. For example, have décor that your guests would want to take home and use themselves, the same goes for wedding favours. Because quality over quantity is always important, especially when it comes to planning an eco-friendly wedding.
So, there we have it, our top 10 tips for hosting the best eco-friendly wedding in 2021! We hope that this article has been useful for you avid wedding planners out there.
Be sure to let us know if there are any more questions you have on how to plan an eco-friendly wedding! And don’t forget to get in touch today for advice on wedding entertainment ideas.