Top Tips to Help Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding
The cost of a Wedding – no matter how lavish or low-key – can often be the largest expense people are faced within their lifetime. More than just pressure on the wallet, weddings can put a huge strain on the environment, with the externalised costs involved often overlooked. Everyone loves a celebration, but what better way to celebrate than knowing you’re playing your part in treading as lightly on the planet as possible. Here we explore some eco-conscious alternatives available when you’re planning for the big day.
First of all what exactly does eco-friendly mean?
By now, many of us are familiar with environmentally focussed terms such as ‘eco-friendly, ‘sustainable’, ‘carbon-neutral’; ‘eco-friendly’ can be defined as products or services that are less harmful to the environment than similar products or services, designed to have ‘little or no negative impact on the environment – as defined by Cambridge Dictionary. Even within this definition, there’s still some room for interpretation. What about other eco-conscious, ‘green’ terms such as compostable, renewable, or cruelty-free? Many of these are used interchangeably and relate to ‘eco-friendly’ practices overall. So how can a wedding be planned in a more environmentally conscious way?
Planning for an eco-friendly wedding.
Weddings are often wasteful affairs, from the travel required to gather everybody together, the choice of menu and potential food waste, the outfits often worn only once and all the extras; supplies for the reception alone often range from the table plan, place cards, table numbers, menus, cake boxes, table runners, centrepieces, confetti, candles, flowers, decorations, favours, and garlands! The list is seemingly endless… According to dothegreenthing.com there are approximately 14.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere during the course of an average British wedding; when you consider that the average British person’s carbon emissions are approximately 9.1 tonnes for the whole year, weddings really do have the potential to be a huge event, both in sentiment and environmental impact.
After the immeasurable ways our behaviour has shifted through the pandemic and with our attention now drawn to the climate crisis, eco-alternatives to single-use products such as cups, cutlery, plates and packaging are becoming increasingly necessary. So, if you’re looking for a low-waste, low-impact wedding, food, and packaging is a great place to start.
How can I make my wedding eco-friendly?
Consider an eco-conscious menu
By now, it’s no secret that plant-based diets are best for the planet. If you’re not quite ready to ditch the dairy, sourcing organic, local and ethically produced ingredients will all contribute to lowering your carbon footprint and lighten the impact of your celebration on the planet. Even opting for a 50% vegetarian or vegan menu will reduce the environmental impact of the menu, as – according to the Good Food Institute – going plant-based can slash emissions by up to 92%. Purchasing alcohol from local wineries and distilleries can also help to lower your food miles! You really can incorporate more ‘green’, eco-friendly practices across the board.
Engage with eco-conscious wedding venues.
When you’re seeking that perfect venue for your big day, be sure to ask about their own commitment towards the environment and efforts to stay eco-conscious. Ask questions such as:
- How do you dispose of food waste?
- If the meal is being catered, where do you source your ingredients?
- What is your policy on plastic waste?
- What cleaning products do you use?
- Are you a part of any environmental or charitable initiatives?
Thoughts on eco-friendly stationery
To avoid paper waste and the time and effort invested in paper correspondence, many couples now use the digital world to make most of their correspondence online. If you prefer to send out a paper invite, ask your stationer if they can print on recycled materials and have a think if you could incorporate any custom/hand-crafted items.
Eco-friendly cake boxes
Uneaten wedding cake is one of the biggest culprits of food waste. It might seem surprising that more than one in 10 couples admit to eventually throwing their wedding cake away and 37% of edible wedding favours are left untouched by guests. While the vast majority of people are unaware of this, you can encourage guests to take away cakes and treats from your big day while utilising simple eco-friendly packaging solutions. When it comes to wedding cake handouts at the end, try to focus on finding an eco-friendly cake box supplier. Our shop of trays, boxes and cake boxes is a great place to start.
Consider buying a vintage /pre-loved / second-hand dress
While brides are passionate about their dresses, most wedding dresses will only get worn once; as the fashion industry is the world’s second-largest polluter – with each kilo of new fabric producing 23 kilogrammes of greenhouse gases – there are many ways to make a more-eco-conscious choice. Check out second-hand, preloved wedding dress suppliers to help make your wedding both more sustainable and more affordable.
Ask your florist to source local
Locally grown flowers, seasonal substitutes, or even live plants may be available from your florist depending on the time of year. It’s worth thinking about what happens to the arrangements after the wedding; suppliers may be able to donate arrangements to a nearby hospital or hospice, or you may wish to have the flowers saved, dried and re-purposed as confetti, decor or ornamental mementos for the future.
Consider how you source those exciting little extras when dressing your ceremony
Some trends in wedding decor have a greater impact on the industry than others. As much as we love them, balloons and sky lanterns can have a negative impact on the environment and local wildlife if they are not properly disposed of. Glassware, bunting, macramé, ribbon, books, and vintage candlesticks can all be rented for an eco-friendly wedding if you want to save money on disposable items. Non-toxic candles and biodegradable confetti and glitter should also be procured for the big day.
If done thoughtfully, no matter what your budget, you can maximise your chances of having a low-impact eco-friendly wedding with no expenses spared: great news for you, your guests and for the planet!