We know tradition calls it a white wedding, but what if you want your wedding to be green? Planning a sustainable wedding allows you to your special day and also know that you have not done anything to hurt the environment in the process. Protecting the environment is important to a lot of couples and luckily it’s becoming easier. As sustainable weddings become more popular, eco-friendly options are becoming easier to find.
If you and your partner are planning an earth-loving celebration, you will be happy to know that there are plenty of ways to do so. From biodegradable materials to reusable decor and waste-free weddings. We have tips for every aspect of your big day. Here are a few ideas for making your theme green and having an environmentally conscious wedding.
Choosing a Sustainable Venue
There is no question that for any wedding green or not, choosing the venue is one of the biggest decisions. The venue you choose will have a major influence on the sustainability of your overall event. Choosing the right venue will tone down your stress considerably.
Eco-Friendly Sustainable Venues
You can control a lot of the elements of your wedding, but your venue choice also makes a lot of the decisions for you. When you are choosing your venue there are a number of things you should keep in mind. Does the venue have a renewable energy source? Do they have water conservation measures in place? How do they deal with the waste generated on-site. Are waste reduction measures in place? Make a list of questions to bring to your venue choices.
Consider Smaller Venues and Fewer Guests
The smaller the venue, the smaller the guestlist – meaning less of an impact on the environment. Be strict when deciding on your guest list. Fewer guests mean less energy, less water and any other resources that would be consumed. For smaller more intimate events, fewer people have to travel which will lower your wedding’s overall carbon footprint.
Stay Close to Home
Consider a location that will require the least amount of travelling. The closer the venue the smaller the carbon cost. If you do decide on a venue that is farther away, recommend to your guests that they can carpool. You can also provide transportation for your guests in busses or larger cars where they can travel in groups. This reduces the number of vehicles on the road and therefore the amount of fuel being consumed.
Work with your Venue to Make Greener Choices
Are you getting married outdoors?
Consider if you will be able to enjoy celebrating outside without wasting excess energy. Patio heaters and other outdoor heating are terrible for the environment. Work with your venue to find a suitable arrangement, maybe celebrating outdoors and moving the party inside as it begins to get colder in the evening.
Having an inside celebration?
Older venues will have less effective insulation meaning more heating will be needed, while newer venues will have been built with more damaging materials. Regardless of what one you choose, think about your energy consumption. Bring your concerns to the venue and work together to come up with a solution.
If you are responsible for decorating the venue yourself you have a great opportunity to really show your guests what you can create while still loving the environment.
Search online and in thrust stores for pre-used items and make them a part of your wedding decor. You could be surprised at some of the things you could find. Second-hand items can be upcycled and made into beautiful centrepieces or other elements of your decor.
Rent Reusable Items
If your venue doesn’t include it, many companies let you rent non-disposable decor. You can rent linens, plates, utensils, chair covers and much more. The cost for the cleaning of these items is usually included in the price too. Consult with your wedding stylist, they will know the best option for you to rent your decor.
Opr for Potted Plants
Instead of using cut flowers in your decor, choose planted blooms that will live on past your wedding day.
Sustainable Wedding Stationary
Weddings can be wasteful when it comes to paper. To counter this, try sending e-vites rather than paper or card invitations through the post. Not only is this good for the environment it will help save you money too. If you are set on sending paper-based invites be sure that you choose recycled paper and avoid using any non-recyclable items like glitter.
Sustainable Wedding Attire
There are many eco-friendly options for wedding attire. If you have the skills you can purchase eco-friendly fabric and make your own. You can also get a seamstress to do this. Another option is to choose vintage or pre-loved options. Or make a statement and choose from an ethical designer. If you don’t want to purchase or make your own wedding attire renting is an option. But keep in mind when you are renting your wedding attire that many of the options available are made from non-biodegradable materials, embellished with a lot of plastic beading.
Sustainable Wedding Rings
Engagement and wedding rings come at a huge cost, not only financially but also to the environment. Consider rings that are made from recycled materials. Vintage rings are also an option for rings set with ethically sourced stones. You will have peace of mind that your stone has ethical origins and nobody has been harmed in its sourcing.
There are many things to take into consideration when trying to choose a sustainable option for your floral arrangements. You may choose not to have flowers at all, or you could rent reusable faux flowers. Keep these options in mind when choosing your flowers:
- Seasonal, locally grown flowers
- Organic wildflowers
- Dried flowers as an out-of-season option
- Work with your florist to reduce plastic packaging and floral.
What we eat makes up on average one-fifth of our personal carbon footprint. So the food you choose on your wedding day plays an important part in the sustainability. Some venues will have their own vegetable and herb gardens. Include these as much as you can in your wedding venue. If that is not an option, choose locally sourced organic produce. Support ad many local, small scale independent producers as you can. At the end of your reception, you can donate any excess food leftover so that it does not go to waste.
Eco-Friendly Wedding Favours
Instead of giving your guests wedding favours that will be eventually forgotten about and thrown away, there are a few ethical options that will also make your wedding stand out.
- Donate a small amount per guest to a charity.
- Give homemade jams or bakes from local producers.
- Give them favours that they can actually make use of when they go home like eco-friendly candles.
Throwing confetti over a newly married couple is a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. It symbolises the wish for a fertile marriage. But a lot of modern confetti options contain plastic that cant be recycled. The best option for natural confetti is all-natural confetti made from dried petals. Many churches and venues will allow for petals to be thrown as they don’t harm the wildlife and will naturally biodegrade away on their own.
You may know a lot about taking care of the environment and how to make sustainable choices, but your guests may not have as much knowledge. When making your gift register you can steer your guests in the right direction and encourage them to give you a sustainable gift by only registering for sustainable and eco-friendly items. If you have no need for any more physical gifts you can also ask them to donate to a charity.
After holding your sustainable wedding, you can also opt for a green honeymoon. Your honeymoon is a special holiday for you and your partner to celebrate your love. But why not also celebrate your love for the earth. You can minimise your impact on the environment by choosing to have a staycation rather than using air travel to go to a different country. Just like choosing your wedding venue, you can also choose eco-friendly accommodation for your honeymoon.
Is Sustainability More Expensive?
The average wedding costs around €30,000. But it is possible to spend much less by choosing more sustainable options. You can take a DIY approach to many of the elements of your wedding day, choosing environmentally friendly materials. Up-cycling old items and incorporating them into your decor is a great way to save money and the environment. There is a wealth of items available pre-loved or second hand that you can get for much less than buying brand new. Also by keeping your guestlist short, not only are you reducing the overall carbon footprint of your wedding but you are saving money.