Have you thought about planning a more eco-friendly wedding? Weddings are most commonly associated with fairytale settings with picturesque settings and mountains of stunningly designed decorations. However, what happens to all those things you bought once your wedding day is over? Unfortunately, the wedding industry does have a big impact on growing landfills and carbon emissions due to the overwhelming amount of wedding waste that is produced each year.
Nevertheless, we know that most people want to do their part towards making the world a greener place to live so this is why we wanted to share a few ways that you can plan an eco-friendly wedding. If you are a bride-to-be then take a look at the tips we have highlighted below and do your part to save the world!
1 - Donate or compost your food waste and flowers
Food and flower waste makes up for a large amount of trash on wedding days, and it often ends up in a landfill when it easily could be composted or donated. Speak to your caterer about what happens to your food waste after the wedding, and ensure there is a plan in place to either donate or compost leftover food.
The same goes for flowers. If you have bouquets and centerpieces on every table, they can either be composted along with the food waste, or you can donate them.
2 - Use sustainable brands for your eco-friendly wedding
Engagement announcements, save the dates, wedding invitations, RSVP cards are all adding to the wedding day waste but don’t worry, we aren’t going to tell you to ditch the paper completely.
There are so many eco-friendly brands out there such as Zazzle that will use recycled paper or paper made from certified foresting. They will use eco-friendly print methods like digital printing and print locally to minimize the waste of shipping. Little things like this can make a huge difference to the bigger picture, and the carbon footprint we have on our planet.
3 - Avoid using single-use items
Rather than opting for single-use materials, turn your eyes to the disposable plates, bowels, straws, and cutlery sets that we have available on our wedding marketplace. They are made from nothing but a drop of nature in their purest and unadulterated form and would definitely add a unique touch to your table settings.
If this is not the look you are going for then think about renting your dishes and linens from a local small business. By doing this you will be supporting a small business, the local economy, and saving the world by reusing, rather than buying new, so you will definitely be gaining extra brownie points for this.
4 - Choose sustainable wedding designers
You might not think about it but fashion contributes to a high amount of pollution and water usage. However, you can reduce your impact by choosing to use a sustainable designer for your wedding day attire.
Another option could be choosing vintage and secondhand wedding attire. Everyone knows that the dress can be a focal point of a wedding day so why would you only bless the dress to one day of sunlight? Or choose a vintage suit. By choosing to wear vintage, secondhand, or rented wedding attire will allow you to give those preloved garments a second life. Just remember to record yourself wearing your wedding dress with the Vidicrew wedding app so you have a digital remembrance if you decide to rent your wedding dress for one day only.
5 - Choose your location wisely
It’s no secret that airplane and automobile emissions are among the top contributors to environmental damage, so it’s a good idea to think about how you and your guests will be travelling to the wedding venue. A destination wedding means lots of air travel, and a venue in a remote location means lots of car travel. We’re the first to say that you should get married wherever you want, but if you’re torn between a few options, take a second look at the guest list and figure out which requires the fewest plane and car journeys.
6 - Make your menu eco-friendly
Whether your venue is providing the wedding meal, or you’re hiring a separate team, you should be able to find a catering company such as Green Union with a sustainable ethos, who source organic, local, Fairtrade and ethically-produced ingredients where possible. A vegan or vegetarian menu would also reduce the environmental impact of the wedding meal, but if that’s too drastic for you, aim for a menu that’s 50% vegetarian. Sourcing your alcohol from local wineries, distilleries and breweries is another great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
7 - Feast on a sustainable wedding cake
This is one of the more attainable things on our list! Ask your baker if they can source organic, local and Fairtrade ingredients, and incorporate seasonal fruits in the recipe. Depending on where the ingredients are sourced, a vegan option may have less of an environmental impact, and it’s also a good idea to source reusable décor like ribbons and rustic log plinths.
8 - Ask your florist to shop local
Environmentally-minded folk often suggest you forgo cut flowers on your wedding day in favour of potted herbs or greenery, but if you’re as obsessed with flowers as we are, you won’t want to ditch them entirely. Depending on the time of year, your florist may be able to source locally-grown flowers, suggest some seasonal alternatives or provide living plants. It’s also worth having a chat with them about what happens to the arrangements after the wedding – they may be able to arrange for them to be donated to a local hospital or hospice.
9 - Dress your ceremony and reception spaces with reusable décor
When it comes to wedding décor, some trends are have a larger impact than others. As much as we love them, balloons and sky lanterns can be quite harmful to the environment, and to local wildlife, depending on how you dispose of them. For a more eco-friendly wedding, you should try to focus on recyclable or reusable items like glassware, bunting, macramé, ribbon, books, and vintage candlesticks, some of which you can hire. It’s also a good idea to source non-toxic candles, biodegradable confetti and biodegradable glitter for the big day.
10 - Give your beauty drawer an ethical makeover
If you haven’t already, try adding some cruelty-free, zero-waste or locally-produced products to your pre-wedding skincare routine. You can also ask your hairstylist and makeup artist if there are any cruelty-free substitutes that they’re happy to use on the day. One of our favourite sources for easy-to-follow information on this is Cruelty Free Kitty.
11 - Use gifts to give back
We love the idea of charity wedding favours, and we’ve seen lots of couples asking for charitable donations instead of gifts, too. There are lots of environmental charities who could use your support, including Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and The International Fund for Animal Welfare, as well as organisations who work to resolve issues in the garment industry, like Anti-Slavery, Care International, the Clean Clothes Campaign, Stop the Traffik, and War on Want, or a child marriage prevention organisation like Too Young To Wed. You could also encourage your guests to plant a tree with seed wedding favours.
12 - Plan an ethical honeymoon
Your honeymoon is an opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, so we’re not going to tell you to spend it on a farmstay 100km from your home (unless that’s what you want, of course!) Research is key for a responsible honeymoon, so do a little bit of homework before you settle on a location, consider a travel agent that specialises in responsible holidays, like Jacada Travel, and try to support locally-owned hotels, stores and attractions when you get there. We’ll have another feature on eco-honeymoons coming soon!
13 - Choose an ethical ring
Green wedding planning can begin as early as ring shopping. Choose an antique diamond, or go to a dealer who is committed to obtaining precious metals and gemstones in ways that are socially and environmentally responsible. Tiffany & Co., Ash Hilton, Brilliant Earth and Cred Jewellery are all great resources.
14 - Rent reusable items
15 - Glow with candlelight
And finally, set the mood for a romantic evening—and cut down on electricity—by lighting your reception tables with candles.
Planning a green wedding doesn’t necessarily have to be harder than planning a less environmentally friendly affair. These days, sustainable wedding ideas are plentiful, with more eco-friendly wedding decorations on the market and greener options for catering, invitations, and more.
How are you planning your amazing, eco-friendly wedding? Leave your sustainable wedding ideas down below!