As we all become more eco-friendly and waste-conscious, it seems natural to wonder how to minimise the environmental impact of your wedding day. So much waste comes out of the hospitality industry, it may seem like an impossible task to reduce our carbon footprint. However, there are a few tips I can give you to have a greener wedding day!
1. Location, location, location – this is a trickier one, but when planning your wedding, if you can choose a venue close to you and your guests, you will be cutting down their transportation needs and limits their carbon emissions.
2. Support eco-friendly suppliers – probably quite an obvious one… but you can do this by e.g. buying ethical wedding rings, requesting caterers turn your food-waste into compost, buying eco-friendly stationery or use e-invites, asking your florist to avoid floral foam, working with eco-conscious hair and makeup artists.
3. Source local suppliers – this reduces the distance suppliers need to travel to provide you with your items, and can therefore limit their carbon emissions. Also support those suppliers who work with local producers so you’re supporting multiple businesses in your area!
4. Find a second-hand or vintage dress – this option isn’t for everyone, but there are some amazing second-hand bridal stores with stunning, clean dresses that have only been worn for a couple of hours in total. This idea can also save you some money -bonus! While we’re on the subject of dresses, you could also let your bridesmaids wear their own dresses to your wedding and perhaps just choose a colour scheme for them to follow.
5. Buy seasonal – with your flowers and food, you can reduce the carbon footprint by buying seasonal produce which comes from the UK, rather than needing to be flown in from abroad.
6. Compost or preserve your flowers – you spend all that money on gorgeous flowers but when the wedding is over, if they’re not going to friends or family members then they end up in the bin! Make sure they’re composted or even take them away to be preserved. There are many companies now that turn your flowers into jewellery or home decorations. Another great way of reusing your flowers is to donate them to a local hospital or charity after your wedding day – let other people enjoy your stunning flowers when you’re done with them.
7. Avoid single-use plastics and paper – buy biodegradable items where you can, and when buying fun décor and treats for your guests keep in mind whether they are single-use plastics or not (e.g. bubble blowing tubes, balloons, straws). Hire items where you can rather than buying them too – this helps reduce waste!
8. Reuse your wedding décor – this is also a money-saving tip I give to my couples. If you can make your wedding décor items at least double-use then you’ll save money as well as reduce waste! For example, your table plan could include your guests’ place-cards on it for them to take away to their seat and after act as favours!
9. Confetti consciously – it’s always best to use real flower confetti if you want to limit your impact on the environment. Some confetti says ‘biodegradable’ but isn’t! Natural confetti is the best way forward, and I think it looks prettier too.
10. Gifts – when registering for gifts, if you’re doing so, think about perhaps asking for non-material gifts such as vouchers or experiences. This cuts down on the amount of plastic packaging you’ll end up with after the wedding!
Becoming more eco- friendly isn’t about having to do all the above suggestions all in one go, it’s about trying to make the simple, achievable changes to our mindset and everyday activities to have less of an impact on the environment. I hope you manage to use at least one of these tips for your big day! Happy days for you, happy days for the planet.