As much as a wonderful affair it is, a wedding can be a pretty wasteful affair. Between the travel to and from your chosen location to the food waste and maybe even the left over favours – weddings can actually produce as many CO2 emissions as 5 people would in an entire year! But worry not, I’m here to say that there are ways you can reduce the carbon footprint of your wedding day and it’s not as difficult as you may have originally thought.
Just bear in mind that just as there is no such thing as the total, perfect wedding again there’s no such thing as a totally eco-friendly wedding. The prospect of having a totally green wedding can come with a lot of pressure and cut yourself some slack – the fact you are being mindful of your carbon footprint means you are more mindful and eco-conscious than most. The ideas on this list aren’t meant for you to use every single one, just choose the ones that mean the most to you and start there! But as a couple you can strive to have a more ethical and eco-conscious approach to your celebration and perhaps even encourage more couples to follow suit.
Choose your location wisely
It’s no secret that aeroplane emissions are one of the top contributors to environmental damage so it’s a good idea to think about how you and your guests will be travelling to your wedding destination. I’m a big advocate of getting married wherever you like but if you are torn between two destinations choosing one with fewer aeroplane and car journeys will obviously have less of an impact on the environment.
Having an eco-friendly wedding will also largely depend on the practices of your venue, are they putting their carbon emissions high up on their agenda or are they only just getting to grips on their recycling. Do they source their produce for the meal locally? These are the things to consider when choosing a greener wedding venue.
Food and Drink
Now that we’ve covered the venue and travel, the next BIG eco-topic is the good and drink. Take your time and research the options available to you, along with any policies and practices your chosen caterer has to be more environmentally conscious. Some suppliers; for example, participate in a carbon offset scheme whilst others only use local, sustainable and ethically, sourced produce.
Once you’ve chosen your caterer, work with them to create a menu that’s as eco-friendly as possible. This means thinking about seasonal, organic products and if you can, opt for those that are locally and ethically sourced. Whilst you are thinking about food and drink, you might want to also consider cutting single use plastics by for example, making sure that there’s no plastic cups and your bar serves glass bottles.
Décor, Stationary and Flowers
On the subject of single-use there are more and more companies are now offering items to hire and biodegradable items too. Perhaps you could use recycled paper in your stationery, name cards and menus and use biodegradable confetti. If you decide you would like to do without favours completely you may decide to make a charitable donation instead.
To keep your wedding as eco-friendly as possible ask yourself with each item and purchase whether you really need it and cut down in areas that seem extravagant. For example you could limit the amount of stationery that you order and combine it with paperless options or alternatively talk to your stationery designer about using recycled papers and eco-friendly ink.
When it comes to all things flowers, working with seasonal choices that haven’t been forced or grown out of season is the obvious choice to make. Also avoid flowers that have been airfreighted half way around the world, especially when there are no so many independent flower farmers who are producing gorgeous blooms. Look beyond the flowers themselves and consider what goes into the floral arrangements. Oasis, the floral foam that some florists use as a base to structure arrangements and hold flowers in place, is incredibly damaging to the environment. Floral foam is non-biodegradable and can end up in water systems or sit in landfill for centuries. It also contains chemicals such as formaldehyde, barium sulphates and carbon so it’s right up there on the non eco-friendly scale. The good news is that more and more florists are ditching foam and going foam free . You can check out the #foamfree on Instagram for inspiration and more eco-friendly florists conscious about their carbon footprint. Foam free floristry really suits an organic, natural style of floristry that’s romantic and modern so there really is less of a need to use foam in your wedding flowers.
Lastly, let your wedding leftovers o some good and try to avoid too much being thrown away at the end of the evening. Re-gift your flowers to family and friends who have gone above and beyond for your wedding or even your photographer! You can also donate any flowers to a local care home and spread some cheer. If you’ve got any leftover cake, make sure it’s available for guests to take with them as they leave.
There are a few different ways to be more ethical when choosing the fashion for your wedding day. You could buy vintage, rent your gown like Carrie Johnson, consider wearing ethical jewellery and ensuring your engagement ring has been ethically sourced too.
For the groom, there are also some ethical choices with Moss Bros, creating a whole range of eco-suit options. Suits can be crafted from earth-friendly fabrics like recycled PET polyester and responsibly sourced cotton.
Give your beauty and make up routine a makeover
If you haven’t already, try adding some cruelty free, zero waste or locally produced items to your pre-wedding beauty routine. You can also ask your bridal hairstylist and make-up artist to use cruelty-free substitutes on the day.
The Gift List
Another post wedding impact/post wedding treat is your gift list. Think carefully about your gift list as it’s another way to easily overindulge when you don’t really need to. You can build a sustainable brand gift list or look into asking for donations to a bigger purchase for example.
Your wedding day is above all about your future and you absolutely should have the day of your dreams. Hopefully by being mindful of the above you will show a little love to the future of the planet at the same time.