Something Borrowed – Tips For A Sustainable Wedding Day
Image: Luminosa Events
Your wedding day is one of the most special in your life, but it is just that, a day. The amount of money spent and waste created can be overwhelming. Here are our tips to creating the ultimate Sustainable Wedding Day.
When hosting a large number of people for a celebration, the amount of waste produced can be quite overwhelming. According to 77 Diamonds, roughly 3,625,000 tonnes of gas is emitted by 250,000 weddings a year. However it doesn’t end there. The website goes on to state that; balloons, confetti, exotic flowers and decorations all have negative impacts on the environment. However, all is not lost. With just a few hacks, you can make your wedding day a happy and environmentally kind one. We spoke to some industry experts to find out how you can make a few simple and often money saving decisions. We guarantee they will make it a day to remember for all the right reasons.
Louise Ord of Loulabel Floral Designs recommends finding an eco florist who understands your vision. Request seasonal and local arrangements. ‘We have lots of gorgeous local growers in the UK and for me as a florist there is nothing better than going to my local flower farms and cutting beautiful blooms,’ Louise told us. Not only will this limit the blooms carbon footprint but it will also support local business. Plus, we think that seasonal blooms will give your wedding a unique twist. Why not try plants instead of cut flowers for your arrangements, that way they will have a longer life. Don’t forget to look into what will happen to your arrangements after the big day. Don’t leave them to rot. Louise advises to ask your florist about repurposing your flowers. ‘I often suggest that the table centres are given as gifts to guests to enjoy the flowers and reuse the vessels time and time again.’
Wedding & Bridesmaid Dresses
Buying a dress (or sometimes two) to wear for just one day seems pretty unsustainable to us but we know that every Bride wants her dress to be special. Fear not, there are plenty of options to suit any taste and budget. We love vintage dresses as they are always unique and special to you. Especially if you utilise a bridal personalisation service. Whatever your size or style there are a lot of options available. Why not rent your wedding dress or to have a family member or friend’s old dress altered for you? However if you are set on buying one new, we have put together a handy guide to the best Ethical Wedding Dress brands out there.
Whatever you do there will always a lot of cake left over, especially if you also serve desserts at dinner. To avoid waste, why not offer several smaller cakes in different flavors or serve cupcakes instead? Find a local baker who can create your cake close to your venue to cut down on transport. While your at it, enquire if they can use local, organic and seasonal ingredients. When it comes to toppers, try fresh or dried flowers. We also love biodegradable paper pieces or an edible sugar ornament to cut down on plastic waste.
For something that just gets chucked on the floor for the sake of some photos it’s upsetting to learn that confetti is usually made of plastic, not paper. This makes it a big no no for a sustainable bride. What could be prettier than sustainably sourced dried petals instead? For this we love Shropshire Petals. They grow and dry the petals themselves, and they are totally natural and biodegradable. Adam Apple also offer biodegradable paper options as well as biodegradable Snowfetti for Winter weddings.
‘Ask your florist about floral foam. Now classed as a single use plastic, it’s a big no-no for the eco -conscious bride. By using new techniques and clever designs, in most instances it can be avoided.’ – Louise Ord of Loulabel Floral Designs
Image: Tiffany Sage / Noa Griffel Photo
Invitations and Wedding Stationary
When it comes to your invites, it pays to think outside the box. Utilise a paperless service like Paperlesspost. Not only do they have an varied and stylish array of designs but their service allows you to track your RSVP’s in one place. A wedding website is also a great option to reduce the need for lots of inserts in your invites. If you have your heart set on posting a physical wedding invitation then companies like Papertree offer pretty options printed on recycled and FSC Certified paper. A quirky alternative option is seed paper. The Botanical Paper Company will print your Save the Dates on seeded paper that can be planted to produce a beautiful tree or flower. Don’t forget the ink! Make sure to ask about vegetable or soy based inks as they are less toxic.
‘I am a firm believer in a 70/30 attitude. Don’t ruin your day and miss out on something you feel desperately passionate about. If we all did our 70 per cent the world would be in a much better place.’ – Amy Powney Creative Director of Mother of Pearl
This is often the hardest part to get right as hosting a large number of people is bound to result in a huge use of energy and generation of waste. The simplest place to start is by using one venue for the ceremony & reception. This means that transport between venues isn’t needed, especially if the venue is local to the majority of your guests. If you are getting married in the Summer, why not hold it outdoors? This will negate the need for a lot of lighting or heating etc. Green Hotels are a no brainer because all the details have been thought of for you. For more ideas, we found this directory from The Natural Wedding Company very helpful. And you can also check out our favourite eco retreats in England.
When thinking about your venue, look for somewhere that has natural character and won’t need lots of decorating. Try hiring what you need so nothing is wasted. “It’s also worth scanning the internet for pre-used wedding bits and bobs,’ Miriam advises. ‘There are so many couples out there selling on almost everything needed to style a wedding. That can cut costs quite significantly but also means everything gets a second, third…. Life.’ Sell My Wedding is a big favourite, you can find all sorts here if you have the time to look. Also look at biodegradable options. Floral arrangements are always a great way to go (see Flowers above) as well as plants. Candles make a romantic alternative to lighting your venue. They are also beautiful centerpieces for your tables.
‘We work very closely with our caterers and use some of their leftovers like onion skin, squashed up berries, avocado pips etc. to dye our organic, unbleached calico napkins. This way it’s a full circle and nothing goes to waste.’ – Miriam Dembach of Luminosa Events
According to 77 Diamonds, on average £488 of food is wasted at a wedding, with 15% of guests only eating 2-3 courses. Why not try large sharing bowls for your guests like Lucinda O’Connor?. Less food is wasted and it creates a less formal, communal atmosphere. Miriam Dembach of Luminosa events recommends choosing your caterer carefully. Again, locally sourced, organic and fair trade ingredients are preferable here and we are sure your caterer will be glad to support local farms and businesses. ‘Have seasonal and local ingredients which cut out airmiles and pollution dramatically. Also, working with the seasons means produce is at it’s best and cheapest,’ Miriam tells us. As meat is such a large polluter, try to make a few if not all dishes vegetarian. It will cut your costs too. Buffets can often be wasteful but discuss how you can get around this with your caterer. Rent your dinnerware and cutlery to avoid waste. Steer clear of single use plastics like straws in favour of metal ones (these could also make thoughtful favours for your guests!).
Image: Lucinda O’Connor / Photographer Dave Watts
This is often the biggest carbon footprint of your wedding. Can you find a venue local to the majority of your guests? This can help cut down on travel and fuel. If not then encourage your guests to offset their travel if they can. Maybe this could be their gift to you? If your guests do have to travel, why not organise a bus to transport everyone to the venue. It makes for a fun pre party and allows guests to get to know each other. Carpooling between guests will also help reduce energy and fuel too.
‘Brides-to-be planning a wedding with a sustainable heart should try to avoid feverish consumption and ‘must haves’. Even the smallest wedding can grow uncontrollably. Most of the excesses won’t contribute to your wedding day – and especially not your marriage.’ – Charlotte Argyrou, Botanical Illustrator
Instead of sending your guests home with wasteful or forgettable favours, why not try something edible? Surprise them with local chocolates, honey, or gin etc. Ask your caterer or venue for ideas. Get smart and double up by making your favours your place cards too. The Kitsch Hen uses local and fairtrade ingredients to create their scrumptious personalised biscuits. They can be iced with each guests name to create a unique place card. Another popular idea is a charity donation in your guest’s name. A lot of charities will provide a small token for each donation you give. Wildflower Favours provide beautiful seed packets with each charitable donation.
It’s no secret that there is an huge amount of things to think of when planning your wedding. We hope these tips and tricks have made it a little less scary and inspired you to make more conscious decisions along the way. Award winning Botanical Illustrator Charlotte Argyrou advises investment in longevity. ‘Can you ask for gifts that will last a lifetime? How much are you buying for your wedding day that has a single use?’ But above all, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your team are probably far more willing to help you achieve a more sustainable day than you realise. After all, making your wedding day kind to the planet is in everyone’s best interests in the long run.
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