“We are not above nature, we are a part of nature.” – Jennifer Nini
There are an estimated 2.5 million weddings a year, with the average wedding producing nearly 200kgs of rubbish and 63 tons of CO2. Being kinder to the environment is at the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment, especially within the wedding industry, with couples seeking out different ways to make their celebration greener than before.
Hosting an eco-friendly wedding can be quite a challenge, but by going back to basics and considering each element of your day with sustainability in mind it is certainly possible. Eco friendly does not mean low key.
One of the best ways to plan an eco-friendly wedding is to book suppliers who share a strong environmentally-friendly ethos. Whether it is your venue, florist or wedding photographer. By working with sustainable businesses you’re not only improving the green credentials of your special day but you are also creating a positive ripple effect.
From your stationery through to your styling, here’s how you can make your wedding more wonderful and less wasteful.
Picture Courtesy: @organicconcept
Tilt for tent – Rather than hiring a whole venue, why not opt for tents! The clean and polished look of this tented wedding set up by Organic-Concept is simply gorgeous. Though very minimalist and simple in its construction, it looks stunning and is a great option for an eco-friendly wedding.
Pictures Courtesy: @botanicalpaperworks
Use plantable papers or go digital: Save-the-dates, invitations, programs, menus, and thank-you cards can quickly add up to a whole lot of paper. Our advice is to go digital. If you’re opting for paper, go for recycled ones or plantable wedding invitations which are printed on seed paper that grows wildflowers or herbs when planted in soil. A pretty cool way for guests to recycle your invite with zero wastage that not only will enhance their gardens, but also do their bit for the bees.
Planner: @tanarievents / Pictures Courtesy: @josiahalter
Opt for seasonal blooms – A major part of your wedding and unfortunately another big polluter. Chemical pollution from the agrochemicals used in short-cycle production affects the soil, air and water supply. The carbon footprint to import cut flowers is substantial. Environmentally-minded folk often suggest you ditch cut flowers in favor of potted herbs that have a ‘second life’ after your wedding. However, if you still want to incorporate them, the source locally-grown flowers depending upon the season. Taking a step further, make sure they are VeriFlora-certified. This means that they haven’t been grown with chemicals or in harsh working conditions.
Picture Courtesy: @cheersbabephoto
Embrace Your Inner Minimalist- Tiny pieces of plastic that are impossible to clear up and will 100% end up in a landfill, or being and eaten by small animals if your wedding is outdoors. Prioritize what’s important for you and cut down on the waste wherever you can. Single-use anything is not good for the environment so check out websites geared toward renting decor and equipment. Opt for linen, bamboo, or macrame for the most eco-friendly fabrics.
Ditch the rice toss and foil confetti with biodegradable petal confetti or dried leaves. Bird seeds are also a smart option for throw offs as birds can eat them later. Say no to sparklers. Although they look great in photos, they are certainly not a good option as they cause air pollution.
Pictures Courtesy: @horchow & @wholesomestef
Go farm-to-table & use edible cutlery – You can beautifully echo the seasonal in your food and décor. Going meat-free is a huge contribution to reducing the impact as we know meat is one of the biggest culprits of CO2 output. Sourcing your food directly from local organic farms and producers will allow you to save unnecessary packaging, while also supporting the growers in your community. Instead of using plastic spoons/forks, opt for edible cutlery ( yes, you can eat the spoon too after your meal). They’re usually made from wheat/rice/etc or even chocolate for desserts. You can also get them in flavors.
Picture Courtesy: @hollyshankland
Organic makeup products- Make sure your beautician and hairdresser use cruelty-free, natural products with minimum wastage. There are countless options these days from high-end makeup brands to haircare, skincare and beyond. If you want to know about the best organic, cruelty-free brands to choose for your wedding, head on to Cruelty Free Kitty for detailed information.
Something borrowed- An estimated 16% of brides are now choosing a dress they can re-wear – great news, as extending the life span of a garment by nine months can reduce its carbon footprint by up to 30%. You can be chic and eco-friendly at the same time by embracing vintage fashion choices. Upcycling a gown used by someone in the family or a close friend into something unique that is fit for your wedding is a great option. If the idea of wearing a second-hand wedding dress or outfit is simply not for you, source your dress an ethical designer like Wear Your Love & Leila Hafzi. For your wedding ring, you can opt for an heirloom option or go vintage.
This gown worn by Princess Beatrice on her wedding day in 2020 was a vintage piece that belonged to her grandmother making her the first-ever royal bride to opt for a second-hand wedding gown. What a wonderful inspiration to embrace sustainability!
Picture Courtesy: @stephfowlerphotography
Gift that grows- Save yourself time and effort by ditching the gift-wrapped decorative tchotchke that the guests would not even probably care about. Why not give them something meaningful like a potted plant that grows or seeds as a remembrance! Ethically sourced soaps, scents, jams, honey bottles or mini succulents are a popular choice when it comes to eco-friendly wedding favors.
Picture Courtesy: @twigandolive
Insider’s Tip: Consider giving a charitable donation to an Earth-friendly charity at the end of your ceremony to close it with a bang! Also, you and your spouse can plant a tree on your wedding day commencing the start of your relationship that is something eternal and just like a tree, it signifies the base of any relationship – a sense of ‘giving…’
Feature Image Credit: @earthmarkphotography