Top 20 ways to plan an sustainable wedding
As 'sustainability' is one of the key wedding trends to watch out for this year, we thought that we would help you on your way to planning the perfect eco-friendly wedding without compromising on style. The average 130-person wedding produces 400-600 lbs of waste and 62 tons of CO2, which is a fair amount by anyone's standards!
If this is something you are interested in then we hope you find some interesting inspiration for creative ways to cut down on your wedding waste and have a sustainable wedding day below!
(Image Credit elenapopaphoto venue and styling Wickerwood farm)
Here in the UK much of our jewellery comes from conflict zones or unethical sources. For a more ethical choice, pick a jeweller that use conflict free diamonds and certified fair-trade gold and silver; Ingle and Rhode or Audrey Claude are good places to start! However, if you want something really different why not have a look at Eco wood rings who create wonderful wooden ring sets with sand, shells, rose petals and gold! Alternatively, for those brides on a budget, choosing a vintage ring or repurposing existing jewellery into a new piece can be a brilliant sustainable option.
Food at weddings can be one of the tricky areas to navigate in terms of staying sustainable. A large amount of wedding food often goes uneaten and can end up in the landfill, not to mention the vast amounts of resources and air-miles that have gone into its production. A way around this is to source a local catering company that will serve local and seasonal produce. This will massively cut back on your wedding foods carbon footprint! Also, don't feel like everyone has to sit down for a million courses, a reoccurring trend for this year is a more DIY dining experience where guests can help themselves! Some good companies to have a look at are Oystercatcher Catering, Ginger Snap Smokin Blues and Fresh and Lush which are all good starting points.
If you are vegan or veggie and want to have a more sustainable approach to your wedding food many caterers now offer this as an option! Just don't forget to consider the air miles of many foods when putting together your menu!
(Picture Credit - Avlon Events)
Top Tip: possibly consider donating food that hasn't been touched to a local charity or food bank? Contact your local one to see if they will accept this.
For the bar, many venus are now providing steel or cardboard straws which is brilliant! Other good ways of cutting down on waste can be to have a personalised mason jar for someone to keep throughout the night rather than multiple paper/plastic cups (this can also double up as a favour). Choosing local beverage companies can also be a good way of cutting down on travel and supporting local businesses in your area - you can even ask them to only use metal straws!
Many people are now opting for self service homemade bars for more of a rustic feel!
To make your invitations a little eco-friendlier, consider sending e-invitations instead of the classic paper invite. This can also help with getting everyones home address, as people tend to move around a lot more these days. Also, don't rule out setting up a Facebook event to invite people, especially if your wedding is more casual and laid back - this can be an easy way of cutting down on costs!
If you still would like a more traditional invites there are some lovely invitation companies that now use seed paper for wedding invitations like Wildflower Favours that guests can plant afterwards in the garden!
Flowers can be a big expense with an estimated 10% of the overall budget going on floral arrangements, bouquets, petals and posies. The sad thing is many of these gorgeous blooms end up being thrown away after the big day or soon after. Cut down on wedding waste with either potted plants on the tables, or using dried flowers instead of fresh!
Another option for country weddings can be using wheat sheaves instead of flowers like our country garden wheat sheaf pictured below. These are long-lasting and can be enjoyed after the big day has passed! Other things to consider are choosing locally grown flowers that were grown in the UK or fair-trade flowers.
7. Place cards
For an eco-friendly twist on your place cards why not use leaves or fruits? This can cut down on cost and are easily disposed of (or eaten) after! Another sweet idea, is to combine the place cards and the favours. Using personalised crystals or even making little homemade soaps with people's names on can be nice ways to combine the two!
(Picture Credit - Etsy)
The dress can be a contentious issue and not the place that most of us would want to cut corners or compromise on style! Still White and Nearly Newly Wed are two places where you can source eco-friendly dresses that are also stunning! For a simpler dress make sure you have a look at Reformation who make beautiful simple wedding dresses that are also quite affordable!
(Picture Credit - Reformation)
9. Wedding Cake
For the wedding cake consider if you really need one if there are other puddings available for guests? This can be a good way of cutting down on cost! Otherwise, maybe ask your baker if they can source fair-trade ingredients or incorporate seasonal fruit into the recipe!
10. Bridesmaids dresses
If you are on a budget, don't be shy about asking people to wear their own or buy their own dresses. This sometimes can be better as it will allow your bridesmaids to pick something that they love (as long as it keeps in with your theme). There is also the option of renting the dresses on websites like Rent The Runway.
For the location, try and think about where most of the guests will be travelling from and see what lovely venues are available close by! Alternatively, if you are planning a wedding abroad then why not combine with your honey moon or offset the air miles?
One of the key ways that many brides are choosing to make their weddings eco-friendlier, is by choosing a more conscious venue. This can range from somewhere with good eco credentials to somewhere that you can rent all the décor. There are quite a few to choose from out there at the moment to choose from, some of our favourites are The Natural Wedding Company and Green Union.
13. Table décor
The trick with eco-friendly table décor is to create something beautiful that can be reused instead of thrown in the bin. Some top tips for reducing waste is firstly to hire if you can! You can even borrow items from your friends and family which can create a lovely vintage feel, or upcycle what you already own.
Another tip is to use double duty décor, like place cards that double as favours, or favours that double as table décor! This can also help cut down on cost and scratch something else off that long old to-do list! If this is not for you, some other things to consider are linen and cotton table liners, making sure you use soy candles or choosing living or 'forever' flowers for your centre piece!
(Photo Credit WhimsicalWonderlandWeddings)
Weddings cost a lot of money and waste a lot of food and resources, so be strategic with your guest list! Choose those who you love and want there on your big day and plan the list strategically.
15. Makeup and hair
16. Wedding registry
So, you want to make an impact with your wedding register? Why not ask people to donate to a charity or cause that you are passionate about? This is a brill way to help your wedding make a positive impact in the world! My Registry along with The Good Beginning offer registries that are set up for the charity of your choice. If this idea isn't for you, why not compile a list of things you really need or ask for money towards your honeymoon?
For the favours consider having none! Not many of us will keep wedding favours and they often get left or discarded. If you want to give people a little something, chose a useful item that they will use every day or something that people NEED. Personalise it with their name instead of yours and you can also use it as a table setting!
For the groom's men, why not rent their suits or buy something second-hand? This can help cut cost and help the environment! Some good places to rent the suits are Moss Broshire, Youngshirewear and Vintagesuithire to name a few. This helps cut down on waste as the fast fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters second only to oil.
Choosing eco-friendly wedding accessories for you and your bridesmaids can also be an important area. Many of the accessories that we buy for weddings never get used again leading to more waste! Try instead to choose things that everyone will want to use and wear again!
After the big day is over, the honeymoon can begin! Choosing an ethical or eco-friendly trip can be a great way to spend all or some of your time on your honeymoon. Choosing a staycation in the UK can be a great way to save on those air miles, but if you have your heart is set on getting some sun there are a few options for making your honeymoon eco-friendlier.
Multiple travel companies now offer eco-friendly options with stays in eco retreats in more environmentally friendly venues.
Why not also spend some time volunteering while your away? This can be an amazing way to spend part of your holiday helping others and giving back to the country you are visiting supporting amazing causes.
If sustainability is something you are interested in then we hope this post has given you some good ideas! The most important thing is not to stress and remember that nothing is perfect; maybe you want to try all of these ideas maybe just one, it is up to you!
For more inspiration make sure you have a look at our Pinterest board here.
Love As Always SP XX