Sustainability is not a trend, but nearly-weds are increasingly placing a level of importance on the eco-consciousness of their wedding.
The events industry is never going to be 100% sustainable - it is not possible - and this is an important factor to remember…
This makes it all the more crucial that we work to make each and every event as sustainable as possible. There are always little steps to be taken toward making your wedding more eco-conscious, and some are even budget-friendly!
Below, we have listed 5 tips for making your wedding more eco-conscious.
1. Venue and Catering
Your choice of venue can have a massive impact on the footprint of your wedding. Is it local to you/your guests to reduce the overall distance people have to travel? Do they have policies to ensure they are doing their bit for the environment?
When considering potential caterers, are you thinking about whether or not they are using local and sustainable ingredients? Do they cook seasonal dishes, or a selection of vegetarian and vegan? Do they take responsibility in reducing food wastage? Do they avoid using single-use plastics, or do they substitute in biodegradable/compostable products? Are you hiring tableware, rather than using single-use items?
Don't be afraid to question the venue and caterers on their commitment to sustainability before you book them. Let them know that this is something of importance to you as a couple - and any good supplier will work with your requests.
2. Decorations and Favours
When looking for decorations, try to hire as much as possible. This will reduce the amount of waste post-event. Alternatively, there are Facebook groups for second-hand items which (largely) will have just been used once or twice and can be purchased for a fraction of the price! This is not only great for the environment, but also the wallet.
You can also look to be using decorative items that are made from natural or recycled materials, like florals, and favours that are sustainable and not ‘throw-away’.
A great idea for favours could be something to eat (meaning there’s no waste) or something for the environment, like flower bombs or bee survival kits.
3. Flowers and Confetti
When picking your florals, you want to try and opt for arrangements made with local and seasonal flowers. As previously mentioned, using a local and small business is going to be beneficial when reducing trying to minimise mileage.
One thing I hate to see at weddings is unnatural confetti. Paper, card, plastic are all wasteful and harmful materials to be throwing into the environment - and they, often, look cheap. I find it hard to believe that people would rather those options than dried flower petals, or something of the sort. Whether you buy individual packages for each guest, or buy a large bag from which guests are invited to grab a handful, the effect is amazing. Adding beautiful colours to your pictures (of course, tailorable to your colour scheme) and leaving no negative trace on the environment, dried petals really are a small yet significant difference you can make.
4. Invitations and RSVPs
To be brutally honest, most of your guests are not going to cherish your wedding stationary in the way that you will. Once you have come to accept this, the ‘unglamarous’ e-vite becomes more appealing (not to mention the price difference).
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t print any invitations at all. It’s great to have one for you as a couple for a keep-sake, some for photographs on the day and some for your close friends and family. If you opt for this, look into using recycled paper and a conscious printer.
If you have your heart set on physical invitations (there's no shame in this at all!), printing on seed paper has become increasingly popular and is widely accessible. Not only does it add some interest to the texture of your invitation, but it involves the guests from the word go.
Whether you opt for an e-vite or physical invitations, utilising electronic RSVPs can make your wedmin that little bit easier: One simple online form can collect all the data you need (name, attending/not, food options, allergens etc.).
5. Wedding Attire
When searching for your wedding dress and/or suits, consider buying a pre-owned wedding dress. As people often only wear these outfits once, it may just be that you need to take it to a tailor to get the perfect fit from it. Or, if you don’t want your wedding outfit to be taking up storage space, collecting dust for years to come, you could consider renting it. There are amazing bridal rental services out there, allowing you to be more conscious in your choices (and possibly even giving yourself the opportunity to explore multiple wedding outfits).
If you do opt to buy your wedding outfit new, but don’t want it to sit in storage for years, why not consider selling, donating or recycling it. There are some super talented tailors around that could repurpose your outfit and turn it into something that has more wearability.
For the wedding guests out there, we absolutely recommend hiring your wedding outfit… especially if you’re guilty of wearing something for one occasion and then letting it sit in the wardrobe until it doesn’t fit you anymore (it’s me, I’m sorry). There are amazing shops and apps that let you hire outfits for a period of time, saving you so much hassle and guilt.
Whether you’re hosting a wedding close to home or not, there are things you can do to limit the number of cars travelling on the day. Whilst some couples are happy to book group transportation from their home area to the venue (e.g. a coach), others may want to encourage guests to carpool or take public transport.
It’s not uncommon, however, for venues to be off the beaten path and, as a result, not easily accessible by public transport. This may be something you want to keep in mind when choosing your venue, or considering guest logistics.
Group coaches are a great idea if the majority of the guests are travelling from one area. Not only is it a simple way to reduce vehicle emissions, but it gives the guests a chance to meet, mingle and get to know each other from the get-go. It also shows them that you have thought about them whilst planning your wedding, increasing the feeling of inclusion in your big day.
It is important to remember that no wedding is going to be 100% sustainable, but being conscious, taking steps and making small changes can go a long way in changing the way our industry works.
Doing your best to make your wedding sustainable can be so rewarding and lets others know that the changes don’t have to be huge and life-altering, but consistent and conscious.
It's important to remember that your wedding can still look how you've always imagined; it's just about being conscious of the footprint you leave behind.
I encourage you all to implement these changes in your own weddings, or the weddings of which you are a part and feel free to share some more ideas of ways to make your wedding more sustainable in the comments below.
Written by Siobhan Tinnion
Events & Marketing Manager
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