Something Green – 10 Tips For Planning A Sustainable Wedding Day
To celebrate the North London Waste Authorities ‘Something Green’ wedding fair, we take a look at why weddings create so much waste and the 10 tips for planning a more sustainable wedding day.
Why is it important to make sure your wedding is environmentally friendly? A green wedding day should, first and foremost not harm the planet. However minimising its negative impact doesn’t have to come at the cost of the dreamy wedding day you’ve been picturing in your mind. It will actually enable you to save money and reduce waste too. At the end of the day, it’s a celebration of the bond between two people and the community of their loved ones. This feeling of loving support should extend to our environment too.
Following their mission to support people to live more sustainably, NWLA (the North London Waste Authority) hosted the Something Green Wedding Fair. The virtual green wedding fair took place in March 2021. According to Cllr Clyde Loakes, Chair of North London Waste Authority: “During the pandemic we have seen the speed of progress on environmental issues slow down, so it’s really encouraging to see that the next generations of newlyweds are keen to prioritise the environment when planning their big day.” The aim was to help all those planning a green wedding, but it also gathered eye-opening insight on what is now fast becoming a more widespread lifestyle choice. The trend for eco-weddings is spilling over from an increase in everyday sustainable lifestyle choices. 46% of those who are considering the environmental impact of their upcoming wedding say they make green choices in their everyday life already.
Couples looking to tie the knot now search for ‘something green’ as the trend for eco-weddings gathers momentum. In fact, 2 in 5 people planning their nuptials in the next five years say that making their wedding as green as possible is a key priority. Further to this, the next generation of newlyweds is twice as likely to make green choices as those already married.
Avoiding Post Wedding Day Food Waste
According to the report, one in four married people said they felt guilty about the amount of food wasted at their wedding. That’s not surprising when a tenth of all wedding food – equivalent to a food waste bill of almost £500 for an average celebration – is thrown in the bin. By making greener choices, this next generation of newlyweds will “avoid a layer of post-wedding guilt”. Did you know that a typical UK wedding generates around 18kg of plastic waste? In fact, one in five spouses felt guilty about the amount of single-use plastic involved. Almost half said they would make their wedding day more environmentally friendly if they had their time again.
Don’t Waste Your Wedding Dress
Bridal clothing is one of the top single-use items at weddings, with 28% of those already married saying they have kept their outfit but didn’t wear it again. At the same time, trends seem to be moving in a more sustainable direction. And it’s all thanks to lockdown! Only 18% of people who have married under Covid-19 restrictions said they had bought something new. 22% purchased a second-hand or vintage outfit, 13% rented their outfit, and 11% made their own.
Without even realising it, we can produce a lot of waste on a single wedding day! Plastic cutlery, balloons, confetti, but also gift wrapping paper, food and paper for items such as invitations, menus, name cards etc. The list goes on. For ideas on how to plan a more sustainable wedding day, check out our ‘Something Borrowed’ guide.
Enjoying this article?
Then you'll love our Newsletters. At the beginning of each month, we send you the low down for the month ahead, featuring news and our favourite responsible products and brands you need to know about. And whats more, you receive all of this direct to your inbox before anyone else.
10 Tips For Planning A Sustainable Wedding Day
How to have a more sustainable day, according to the North London Waste Authority
Make It Local
Celebrate what your area has to offer. By choosing local produce and working with local suppliers, you’ll support the community and reduce food miles at the same time. Ask your wedding planner or venue to recommend good growers, makers and sellers.
Choose seasonal British flowers. Currently, 90% of cut flowers in the UK are flown in from overseas and that’s bad news for the environment. Have a plan for what to do with them afterwards. Maybe give them to your guests or to local hospitals or nursing homes where they can continue to spread joy. You can also dry your bouquet or floral crown and keep it as a reminder of the big day.
Speak with your caterer about portion sizes to reduce risk of waste at the end of the night. You don’t want your guests to be too full to dance the night away! Be generous and offer doggy bags. Ask guests to bring a reusable container or provide your own so that you can be sure leftovers don’t go to waste. Guests will be grateful for it the next day when they don’t have to cook after a late night!
Make Ethical Choices
Think about who makes your outfit, what the fabric is made of, and where your shoes come from. There are lots of ethical bridal brands available these days. They are thoughtful about how they source their materials, produce their products and support the community they operate in. For example, you may find a designer that uses reclaimed fabric and a socially responsible manufacturing process. The Sustainable Bride customise and upcycle fabrics to make a wedding dress unique to you.
Did your Mum or Gran keep their wedding veil for you to use? If not renting your bridal accessories as well as your dress is an exciting and cheaper option than buying new. Do you know people who can lend you chairs, tables, tablecloths, etc for the wedding reception? For a unique dress code, why not ask your guests to only wear vintage, preloved, borrowed or rented?
Think of smaller, organic producers or fresh-pressed juices – you’ll find something funkier than lemonade that’s made with real passion. Try juices and cordials made with surplus local fruit or English wines that will reduce your carbon footprint? Ask your venue to make sure that glass bottles are recycled at the end of the night too.
Why not go digital and help reduce paper waste by sending out a unique electronic invitation? If you do want to send a physical invite, wedding websites are helpful for guests that need information and reduce the need to send out large packages with invites. If you want physical menus or name cards for the day, consider using eco-friendly stationery or seed paper that your guests can plant afterwards. Many printers also offer eco friendly printing inks that don’t contain toxins and can be returned to the earth easily.
Cut down on single use plastic
From décor to confetti, balloons to party favours, there is so much plastic involved. Go natural with dried petals instead of confetti, they’re more beautiful and romantic. And how about giving flower seeds or championing local craftsmanship when it comes to wedding favours? We also love edible favours like biscuits and tiny bottles of local liquor.
Reuse and repurpose where possible
Old jam jars or milk bottles make great vases or lanterns. Hiring in props so you don’t have to buy in anything new can help you get creative. You can also reset a family heirloom into a wedding band, use upcycled materials to decorate, or create your own fashion items by upcycling old but loved fabric to create pocket squares or bow ties.
Deciding on your venue is key to the environmental impact of your wedding. Don’t be afraid to ask about their sustainable practices and how they reduce and handle waste. How do they reduce energy and does their supplier use renewable sources? Choosing a beautiful outdoor venue like a nursery or botanical garden will reduce the need for decoration and artificial lighting too.
For more guidance, download the Something Green Wedding Guide for free.
Disclaimer: The people and models in the images featured are not associated with The Vendeur and do not endorse it or the products shown. This post may contain affiliate links.
Did This Put A Smile On Your Face? Why Not Subscribe?
If you enjoyed this then theres plenty more on our email newsletters that you'll love. Whether you're a sustainable newbie or an eco conscious pro, our bi monthly emails will inspire you to live sustainably and ethically.