Eco-friendly weddings are going to be more than a fad going forward. I am so pleased to see more couples planning their wedding day around their personal ethics, values and beliefs for the planet. It’s a vital step and also one filled with opportunity. Planning an eco-friendly wedding is no longer the challenge it was just a few years ago. From the invitations to the dress, the food to the transport, couples are insisting on a big day that puts the planet at the heart of the ceremony.
Where do you begin?
It’s important not to be put off the idea of an Eco-friendly wedding, becuase you are not able to ‘do it 100% right’. Every little change, every couple who makes any effort is making a difference. It may not be possible for you to be off-grid, for example, but you might be able to find a venue that uses a green energy provider. You may struggle to find the suits you wanted in a fabric that is environmentaly sound. Consider hiring one instead.
The first things to consider are which elements could be made more eco-friendly that you are able to embrace and organise. A good place to start is:
Venue – keep it local to support the local economy and reduce travel. Make sure they use local suppliers. Ask who provides their energy and whether they have a policy for recuding their impact on the environment.
Travel – How many guests arrive at weddings with two empty seats in the car? Ask friends to share car journeys. Let them know why this is important. Choose a venue that is close to good public transport links to encourage your guests to use alternatives to a car.
Gifts – If we are really going to impact the environment, then ‘enough’ has to be a big part of our way of life. Saying ‘we have enough and don’t want you to bring gifts’ is a big statement. It might be that, rather than gifts, you’d like help towards a large purchase to make your lives greener. A couple I recently worked with asked their guests to help them get off grid. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!
Consumables – from food to drinks, confetti to wedding favours, consider the impact and how you could approach them in a way that reflects your care and beliefs about the planet. Do you want to consider petals rather than paper for confetti? Could you use a local micro brewery for your drinks to minimise travel and also support a small, local business. And think about planting a tree for everyone or giving them seed bombs to plant at home, rather than trinkets that will end up in the bin.
Clothes – you don’t have to say no to the big dress. You just have to think more about who is making it for you and where they get their materials and supplies. There are so many new designers creating from ethical fabrics and not using the bleached finishes. Suits too can be made in more sustainable ways and renting, which has always been popular for suits, is now more widely available for dresses too.
Size matters – Consider the footprint of a big wedding. Could you think small and beatiful? Intimate weddings and elopements have the added bonus of being so much better for the planet. Explaining to family and friends that your plans were to be a more eco-friendly wedding and you’re having a party at a later date, they may be more supportive.
Get creative with eco-friendly alternatives
Invitations don’t have to be in physical form anymore. I know they can look gorgeous but so do online options and you can even create professional looking designs thanks to sites like Canva. Why not ask friends and family to confirm that they are happy to have their invite by email, whattsapp or even in a private group on another platform. And explain that your reason is to create a more eco-friendly wedding. They will support you.
Who said you have to use the flowers for the ceremony only once? I have had couples ask their florist to make the displays in the chapel or ceremony venue work for the meal too. Table centres from bridesmaid boquets look fabulous! And think more seasonal too. Local flowers means not only supporting a local business, but also reducing the impact of flying flowers overseas.
Confetti is always a controversial conversation! Many venues ask you not to use it, while others are okay with ‘green choices’. Make sure you know what they are and have a supplier who is approved by the venue in advance. It can be worth sending a sample to the venue for their approval. I’ve seen confetti made of petals, seeds, dried herbs and even shredded paper.
Food can be another hot topic and whilst I would not encourage you to try to ‘convert’ any of your guests to your personal way of eating, there is no reason you can’t introduce them to some of your favorites. Vegan, alchohol-free and vegetarian weddings are becoming more widespread. And faith can also influence what you choose to serve.
Eco-friendly wedding venues are becoming easier to find
Take the trouble to look at the Carbon Footprint your wedding will create. There are a couple of places to look, and one of my favorites is here: https://lessstuffmoremeaning.org/weddingfootprintcalculator/ If you’re serious about having an eco-friendly wedding, these are the kind of steps that make a real difference. Once you see where you could save on carbon, you’ll be happy to simplify or adapt your plans in the places that make the most impact.
I would also suggest you ask every vendor you are planning to work with, from your Celebrant to your Florist, venue to dressmaker, to share their environment policy or philosophy with you. What have they done to decrease their own carbon footprint and do they offer any services to help you achieve an eco-friendly wedding that they might suggest?
Have you come across any suppliers who have impressed you with their eco-friendly approach? I’d love you to share their details in the comments. And I’d love to know how you’re working towards an eco-friendly wedding.
From my heart to yours,
If you’d like to talk about your wedding plans, of anything else you’re hoping to celebrate, I’d love to talk to you. Arrange a zoom and coffee, there’s no charge, in my calendar here.