Is there such thing as a sustainable wedding?! It’s summer and finally weddings can take place in the usual way, but how can we have a wonderful celebration without costing the earth in more ways than one?
For all of the couples getting married this year it must be a huge relief that restrictions are over and celebrations can go ahead as planned.
It’s the most magical day for everyone! I have met so many lovely people who are conscious about not being wasteful and trying to make their wedding is as sustainable as possible. When my husband and I got married some 24 years ago, we did quite a lot of it ourselves, less waste and less money spent too! From the wedding cake to table decorations we made them, it was quite a lot of fun too.
Top sustainable tips
Here are some of my top tips for reducing waste for your big day:
For wedding invitations I recommend thinking about using seeded paper for a great alternative. Many seeded papers come with wildflowers embedded which your guests can then plant as a long lasting memento of your special day. I use a company called Alakart Creations for my seeded paper options, as they have a choice of types of seeds, so you can pick the ones you like best.
Shop for wedding dresses and suits with rewearing or reusing in mind. There are some lovely options that are perfect for rewearing, or you could look at getting the dress altered after the wedding so that it would make a great occasion dress. Or consider a two piece instead, that way you’ll have more uses for them afterwards. Look for sustainable fabrics and makers. Preloved options are great, and there are often lots of places to look including your local groups and charity shops. Again a local seamstress will be able to make any alterations to a preloved dress.
Shoes are also a great item to find preloved, we often don’t wear shoes out before we get rid of them, online shops such as Vinted offer a great selection, plus your local charity shops often offer hidden gems if you’re willing to take a bit of time to look.
Choose local grown flowers for bouquets and buttonholes or you could even consider some beautiful wildflowers. If you’re up for the challenge of making yourself, you could ask friends and family to bring a selection of home grown flowers to be used on the day. A beautiful hand tied bouquet is such a great natural, sustainable alternative. Or chat to a local florist to see what options they have, with sustainability in mind.
Table decorations which last – consider beautiful flowering plants which you can then either take home or gift on the day. A local plant shop will be able to help you to source something suitable and to tell you when flowering will be. Our local shop Fern and Ivy were super helpful when we were choosing plants for the shop, so ask for advice to help you choose something that will make the impact you’re looking for. Glass jars of all sizes make great candle holders, and if you collect a wide variety, you’ll be able to create a stunning glow, perfect for evening decor!
Wedding favours – edible options are great for a low waste option, biscuits or jams and chutneys make great gifts. If you don’t fancy making or baking then gifting flower seeds is a great way to encourage all of your guests to be more eco! I’ve also seen some beautiful vintage napkins personalised with guests initials, used as additional gifts, less waste on the day and they make a gorgeous gift to take home too. That’s if you have the time and the creative skill to make them. You could make elderflower cordial or sloe gin for favours, utilising jam jars or bottles and reusing them! See our top tips section for some recipes for both.
Consider a vegetarian or vegan menu! And if you are providing alcohol yourself you can’t go wrong with choosing a sustainably minded supplier, such as Woodchester vineyard in Stroud, who really think about their sustainability journey as part of the making process. They also do wine tastings, so you can try it beforehand. If your venue is providing wine, then chat to them about your preferences before you book.
I’d always recommend chatting to your venue if you are using one, about your less waste/sustainable goals before you book, that way you can encourage them to think about this as well and work together on it. If you’re celebrating at your own venue, then you can make great choices like renting glasses and plates instead of using plastic ones. Or if you need single use, you could opt for bamboo plates and cutlery as a more sustainable option. Choosing a sustainable venue, can be tricky, but they are out there and more and more venues are becoming more sustainable in what they offer. We were recommended to South Place Hotel, where a friend got married, and this is a great place to look if you’re interested in finding out more about sustainable venues.
Paper decorations and fabric bunting is a great way to have a more eco friendly setting and some stunning looks can be created. Hobbycraft have some lovely paper decorations and other wedding decor, so this could be a good starting place if you haven’t found anywhere local to source from. I’d recommend looking at the local businesses near you to see if there is anyone who could supply you. Or if you’re creative you could make your own! We also have some lovely hack packs which are pre-cut allowing you to make your own colourful decorations, these come from the off cuts from the printing industry.
The other main item you’ll want for any wedding are the wedding rings. There are so many more sustainable options now, including recycled gold and silver options. I’ve found an amazing small business who has launched a fair-trade collection of sustainable jewellery. Anne Michelle takes commissions as well, so it is worth having a chat about sustainable rings options.
Using local suppliers is a really great way to cut down on travel miles for products, and it supports the local economy too.
Travel offset – consider how you could make it easier for people to travel to the wedding, could you offer a group travel offer or hire a bus to take people from venue to reception, for example. Or ask everyone to offset their travel by using a tree planting scheme, there are lots around.
If you already have a home together and don’t need much then you could consider asking for virtual gifts, or asking guests to gift to local wildlife trust or woodland trusts.
I’d always recommend putting together an ideas board, that way you can share your ideas afterwards with other couples too, place like Pinterest are a great place to find inspiration from.
Whatever ways you find to cut down on waste, your wonderful day is going to be all the more special.
Share your success
Weddings are a huge market and often everything related to a wedding is more expensive, so if you find any great ways to save waste and money, get sharing, you’ll be helping the planet and other couples, so it’s a win win situation! And if you want to add to our top tips, send us a message on social media or via email and we’ll update the blog to include them.