The question has been popped, the date has been set and you have decided on an eco wedding. But, how can you make sure your day is as wonderful for the planet as it is for you and your guests? We’ve got you covered! We’ve put together our best tips for an eco wedding in our Eco Wedding Guide.
Your special day should have a positive impact on your and your guests’ lives. But it could also have a huge negative impact on the environment.
- On average, weddings produce over 4,000 tonnes of waste each year
- There were 243,795 marriages in the year before the lockdown. The average cost of food wasted at a wedding is £488. If each one wasted even half that amount of food, that is a whopping £57 million worth of wasted food!
- 10% of couples throw their wedding cake away – that’s over 23,000 cakes that end up in the bin
- And, according to reports, 99% of brides who have real flower bouquets, chuck theirs in the bin when its past its best
Scary statistics when you think about them in terms of the damage that just one day can do to the environment. Not to mention that some of this waste is doing major damage to your finances! Ensuring your wedding is an eco one not only helps protect the planet but if you are canny, can help protect your pocket too. Read on to see how to reduce the impact your day has on the environment without reducing the wow factor . . .
The venue you choose sets the tone for the whole day. Of course, it can be decorated the way you want it etc., but, it is the basis for the atmosphere. If you want to hold an eco wedding, your venue needs to be on board with the idea too. How do you know that the venue you have set your heart on is truly eco friendly?
Local is best
Firstly, if they use seasonal, local produce, that means they are making the most of what’s on their doorstep. This is a good start as this cuts back on menu-miles for the food. And it helps the food they serve be more sustainable because it is seasonal. Buying from local suppliers also means they care about their community by contributing to the local economy. Here at Venachar Lochside, we try to always use local, seasonal produce and even offer a foraged menu for that extra eco touch.
As you’ve seen, weddings can create a lot of waste. And, even with eco weddings, there will be some. So, secondly, check what the venue you are looking at does with any waste that is produced. And ask what their suppliers do with theirs.
For example, here at VLW, we recycle absolutely everything we can. With the little food waste we have, we donate what we can and then compost the rest. And we never use single-use plastics. Our list of suppliers is carefully vetted and we work closely with our waste disposal partners to continuously improve.
Other questions to ask when you meet with the venue:
- Are they open to your ideas?
- How much support do they offer?
- Are their suppliers local and are they as committed to being eco friendly?
- How much experience do they have helping to plan and deliver eco weddings?
And an excellent final question is to ask what their why is. Why do they offer eco weddings? Their answer can tell you whether they are doing it because they believe in it, or they are just paying it lip service.
It’s all about the dress
Well kind of anyway! Of course, the bride’s dress is an important part of the day and it can help make a real statement about your feelings on sustainability. But how?
You could ensure the clothing for your wedding party comes from a supplier that offers only ethical, environmentally-friendly sources. A quick Google search brings up lots of options like the Natural Wedding Company which offers a directory of ethical suppliers or River Elliot which makes ethical wedding dresses and bridal wear.
Or there are companies like Brides do Good. This company has partnered with designer brands to donate a third of their profits to charity projects working to end child marriage. A great option if you want to ‘change the world with every step down the aisle’!
Or you could go down the pre-loved route, helping to save the planet and money at the same time! Some of our favourite options are:
eBay is a great place to look for some gorgeous, pre-loved and vintage wedding clothing. There is so much to choose from so, narrow down your search by using ‘pre-owned’ and set the distance you are willing to travel in the filters.
Another great place to look. On Etsy, there’s a plethora of vintage and handmade dresses and clothing on here so, you’re sure to find one that fits your style, budget and size.
Oxfam has some amazing pre-loved wedding clothes in its online shop, as well as some great vintage finds. And, of course, buying from Oxfam means you are helping to raise vital funds at the same time. Winner, winner!
You can also keep an eye out in the classified ads in your area – online, on notice boards or in the local press. Your perfect wedding dress may just be waiting for you to find it!
Eco wedding décor
The décor you use at your venue and ceremony can really clinch the eco wedding deal. So much Décor is single-use and is disposed of after the last dance has been danced. It’s literally like throwing your hard-earned cash straight in the bin.
Choosing seasonal, local flowers and foliage to decorate your venue is a better choice than things like balloons etc. And can really add a touch of elegance to your day. And, it will smell amazing! You can use fresh, local flora for everything from the bridal bouquet to the button holes, table decorations to corsages. Dried petals make wonderful, biodegradable confetti too.
Use Google to find local florists who use seasonal, local flora. Or ask your venue if they have someone on their suppliers list who can help. Some venues, like us, will also have the option of locally foraged décor and bouquets – a truly eco friendly option! You could use living plants too. You could buy, or hire, some wonderful potted plants of different sizes to decorate.
You could donate everything to a local hospice or care home afterwards. That way, your wedding décor can go on to make someone else’s day very special too.
Savvy research skills
Some savvy research skills will help you if you do want balloons and other forms of décor though. More and more companies are offering biodegradable, single-use décor as couples opt for more eco friendly weddings. You also have lots of choice when it comes to other products for decoration. It’s quite easy to find handmade bunting, garlands etc., that are made from responsibly sourced materials. Companies that hire decorations out are also becoming popular.
Don’t forget that if you do buy these kinds of decorations, you will have the option to sell them on after the event, helping to recoup some of the money you spend. Or maybe you can find a home for them in your home, giving you a lovely lasting reminder of the day.
Traditionally, wedding favours were 5 sugared almonds. With the slightly bitter taste of the almond and the wonderfully sweet taste of the sugar coating, these were meant to symbolise the bitter-sweet taste of life. And the reason there were 5 was to represent the wishes of health, wealth, happiness, fertility and longevity. In terms of an eco friendly favour, sugared almonds aren’t too bad. If you want to stick to traditional and give sugared almonds as your favour, make sure the boxes or bags you put them in are biodegradable, reusable or recyclable. Do bear in mind, however, that sugared almonds can be a bit of an acquired taste and that some may end up in the bin so, why not go with a different option?
Sowing the seed
How about tree-planting kits or seed packets? These can serve as a wonderful reminder of your day when planted. And they have the added bonus of helping our bee and pollinator populations to thrive. (Oh, and while we are on the subject of bees, seeds etc., have you thought about invitations made from paper infused with seeds?) Wildflower seeds in a lovely, biodegradable packet with your guest’s name written on the by hand make a lovely little gift.
If edible favours are a must for you, why not go for something a bit more palatable like chocolates, truffles or cupcakes? You could even go for homemade treats if you wanted. Take a look at this fab recipe for homemade truffles.
Bubbles are also a wonderful thing to give as a wedding favour. Especially if you have children at the wedding. (Big or small of course!) Just make sure the bubbles aren’t in plastic bottles of course.
How about using the money you would have spent on favours and donating it to an eco charity on your guests’ behalf? Very eco friendly and charitable into the bargain!
The point is, you can use your favours to really help the environment as opposed to harming it. All it takes is a little creativity.
The power of the ring
Even the rings that you say I do with can be responsibly sourced and ethical. The precious metal industry is rife with child labour and exploitation. So, for a truly eco wedding, you will need to consider how the gold gemstones are mined. Why not make your own? You could book a romantic weekend away and spend the time making your very own wedding rings. Making your own means you get to choose the materials and style, creating something truly unique.
Or you could go vintage and spend some time scouring antique jewellery shops together. Again, eBay, Etsy and the classifieds are great places to find pre-loved rings.
There is so much you can do for a wedding that will help it be eco friendly. Our list above touches on a few of the main aspects but, we have a huge amount of experience in planning and delivering eco weddings. So get in touch to start planning yours!