We love weddings. Like, really love them. (Can you tell?) But even we have to admit that they can be pretty wasteful affairs. Planning a sustainable wedding might sound daunting, but we promise it’s not as tricky as you might expect – so have a think about whether or not you can find a place for something green (and something borrowed!) alongside your something blue. Here are our top tips to get you started.
Of all the items of clothing you own, we bet that whatever you wear on your wedding day will have the most sentimental value. But if you can bear to part with it, consider selling it on or handing it down to someone else. It’s an easy way to make a little cash back while reducing your wedding’s impact.
Want 10% off when you sell your wedding dress? Head over to Stillwhite, the world’s largest second-hand wedding dress marketplace.
Your wedding stationery is one aspect of your wedding you just can’t cut. At the end of the day, your guests need to know where to go! But there are loads of eco-friendly alternatives that don’t end up with piles of wasted paper. For example, there’s no reason that e-invites can’t be just as gorgeous as traditional stationery! Why not email your guests a link to a personalised video of you and your other half or set up an awesome wedding website?
Having an eco-friendly wedding doesn’t necessarily mean getting married on a farm or in a field! Travel can be one of the most significant contributors to a wedding’s carbon footprint so if you want to go green, try to pick a venue that’s within easy reach of you and your guests. You might want to think about choosing somewhere that’s accessible by public transport too.
If lots of your guests are coming to your venue from the same place, you could organise a wedding coach to take them all there and back in one go. It’s an easy way to make sure everyone turns up on time too!
Encourage your guests to travel together where possible and help them sort out carpooling arrangements. Ask your guests to let you know if they’ll have a free spot in their car when they RSVP, then match them up with another guest in need of a lift. It’ll likely save your guests a little on fuel costs too!
Remember, it’s not just you and your other half who will be buying an outfit for the wedding. Everyone in the wedding party from the best man to the flower girl will most likely be wearing something special. A great way to be a little greener – and to save a few pennies! – is to opt for pre-loved items from a vintage boutique or charity shop. Another alternative is to explore hiring any dresses or suits needed for the wedding party. After all, they’ll probably only wear them once!
Like your wedding invitations, little details like place cards and table numbers can quickly end up meaning mountains of paper, card and plastic left over after your big day. One easy option is to look for recyclable or biodegradable materials when choosing your designs. If you have a little more cash to spare, another idea we love is doubling up your place cards with your wedding favours so that your guests have a keepsake to take away with them, rather than something to be thrown away.
But our favourite idea? Edible place cards. Order cookies with your guests’ names written on them in icing. We can guarantee there’ll be nothing left at the end of your big day!
We know, we know – it’s hardly the most romantic thing to think about, but it’s important to be conscious of the impact your wedding and engagement rings can have on the planet and its people. Diamonds and other gems are often sourced unsustainably and unethically, as are many precious metals. To avoid participating in a potentially problematic trade, make sure to look for conflict-free materials, investigate vintage or recycled options or look into lab-grown options.
Your electricity bill might be the last thing on your mind on your wedding day – and rightly so, in our opinion! – but considering energy-saving strategies is an easy way to make your big day a little more sustainable. Try turning off unnecessary lights and lighting your venue with candles instead. On top of being eco-friendly, it’ll create a gorgeous, romantic atmosphere! Just make sure you check that your venue’s happy with open flames.
Why not switch out some of your products for cruelty-free, zero-waste or locally produced alternatives? We’d never recommend trying something new for the first time on your wedding day so this is definitely one you’ll want to plan ahead. If you’re having your makeup done professionally, ask your makeup artist whether they use any sustainable products or quiz any makeup-loving friends on their cruelty-free recommendations.
Flowers play a big role in almost every wedding and aren’t something we’d ever recommend skipping out on! But they can have an undeniable impact on your wedding’s carbon footprint, whether that’s because of how they’re disposed of or how they’re imported. Our top tip is to prioritise flowers that are a) local and b) seasonal where possible. It’s a often fab way to save some pennies too as your flowers have less far to travel.
Whether you go completely vegan or just opt to reduce the number of meat dishes on offer, exploring eco-friendly options for your catering is an easy way to go green. And don’t worry – it’s not 2003! Going veggie doesn’t mean limiting yourself to mediocre mushroom risottos and sad stuffed peppers. Nowadays, there are loads of caterers offering fabulous vegan and veggie options. If you do still want to serve meat, try to prioritise local and organic produce where possible to decrease your wedding’s environmental impact.
An easy eco win is to check if your florist uses flower foam in their designs. This foam is much like single-use plastic and can be harmful to humans and animals through prolonged contact, especially if it seeps into water supplies. Our advice would be to avoid flower foam where possible and look for eco-friendly alternatives.
Buying decorations made out of biodegradable materials is an easy way to lower the environmental impact of your wedding. This is especially important when it comes to wedding staples like confetti, as well as balloons and lanterns.
Confetti is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to the environmental impact of weddings. Fortunately, there’s loads of biodegradable options out there, as well as more traditional eco-friendly options like rose petals or rice. For extra green points, you could even gather flowers from your own garden (or a friend’s) and dry the petals yourself.
And, as much as we love them, balloons and lanterns are potentially very harmful to the environment if not disposed of correctly. If you do want a lantern display, be careful to look for biodegradable materials and be careful of where you release them.
Not only are wedding decorations often un-environmental, they’re also expensive! Why not hire your decorations? You can be sure they’ll be reused time and time again while also saving some cash yourself. Plus, hiring your decorations often means being able to afford higher quality pieces, adding a little luxury to your day!
While we always love a wedding favour, they’re not at all a necessity! Being invited to your wedding is gift enough for your guests! So why not think about making a charity donation with the money you save? If you really do want to buy favours, you could explore options that let your guests make a positive impact on the environment themselves. For example, you might gift them with a packet of seeds to grow their own flowers.
There you have it – some amazing green wedding ideas for a gorgeous, environmentally-friendly wedding!