With so many people rightfully looking for ways to live more sustainably, it's only natural to want your wedding to be as eco-friendly as possible. Traditionally, weddings take a massive toll on the environment, with huge amounts of single-use plastic and food going to waste at the end of the event. With many common elements of a wedding being less than optimal for the planet, there are luckily plenty of alternatives for those wanting a wedding that is both extraordinary and eco-conscious.
For your convenience, we’ve rounded up five key steps to a more mindful and sustainable wedding.
1. Opt for natural decorations
Decorations made from plastic are some of the biggest sustainability offenders at weddings. Balloons, confetti, banners and paper products such as menu boards, invitations and name cards are often non-recyclable. It’s extremely difficult and time consuming to pick up every piece of plastic confetti from the floor when it’s thrown outdoors, and as a result, the local wildlife and environment can suffer. Look instead for sustainably-sourced flower petal confetti, which can simply biodegrade and won’t harm the environment. As an added bonus, it looks absolutely beautiful too.
Recycled paper decorations are a much-preferred choice over personalised printed items, that are often created with non-sustainable resources. There’s also no real need to go overboard with your paper items, as you can use creative solutions to minimise both your carbon footprint and your expenses.
Consider writing your own name cards with recycled cardstock, and noting your guests' dinner choices on the reverse to avoid having excessive paper items on your tables. You could also write your seating plan on a chalkboard, rather than having it printed professionally on a single-use plastic or cardstock board.
Pictured: Wedding decorations that can be recycled and used for many events to come at this bright and beautiful Dickie Bow customers' wedding. Groom wearing Harrison bowtie. Photograph Credit: Le Ray Images
2. Choose low-impact flowers
Opting for exotic, non-seasonal flowers for your wedding may sound wonderful in principle, but in reality, purchasing such blooms can contribute to a worrying increase in CO2 emissions. This is due to their need to be grown in greenhouses and irrigated, as well as being transported long distances. Look instead for locally-sourced seasonal blooms that will complement your eco-friendly aesthetic.
Low-impact seasonal flowers are a lovely way to seamlessly tie the season to your event.
Cheerful daffodils are easy to grow and make great centrepieces. Alternatively, you could opt for tulips for a twist on your spring wedding flowers.
In summer, you have the pick of the bunch when it comes to seasonal flower choices. Peonies, sunflowers and roses can be found in abundance and all make stunning bouquets. If you’re a keen gardener, you could even grow a flower bed of wildflowers to pick freshly for your special day.
Pictured: Making use of natural seasonal flowers for your wedding day like these Dickie Bow customers using a sunflower field as a photo backdrop. Groom wearing blush pink Tallulah bow tie.
The fun pom-pom style of dahlias and delicate bundles of hydrangeas bring a touch of elegance to any autumn wedding. Try mixing locally collected orange foliage or pampas grass for a warm and cosy feel.
Pictured: Natural autumnal wedding bouquets with dried flowers and pampas grass. Wedding party wearing burnt orange tweed Charlie ties.
For those who love the Christmas vibe, the bold red of poinsettias make a romantic addition to your wedding day. Hellebores are also a great choice for a winter wedding, and look wonderful surrounded by candles as the daylight fades.
Succulents look earthy and effortless on a dining table, no matter the season, and they double as excellent wedding favours for your guests as well. Foliage such as eucalyptus, ivy and ferns are another good option, as they tend to be more sustainable than cut flowers.
Pictured: Beautiful Christmas wedding using lots of seasonal foliage, such a great time to take advantage of the lush green arrangements. Groom wearing soft grey Amelia mens wedding tie.
3. Consider a minimalist approach
Minimalism offers a timeless charm, and can elevate the entire look of your wedding. The best part about a minimalist wedding is its effortless beauty and class – as well as your potential savings.
As a colour that symbolises purity and innocence, white is usually the base colour for most weddings. But it doesn’t need to be boring – by adding a splash of colour in a very deliberate and reserved fashion, you can create an ethereal looking wedding that promotes both your planet-loving values and your love for each other.
If you’re having a traditional wedding breakfast, much of the table will be covered with cutlery, glassware and plates – so avoid over cluttering the space between your guests to encourage a relaxed atmosphere.
Pictured: Personalised & handmade signs that don't cost the earth and add a unique touch to your wedding. Photo Credit: Camilla Andrea Photography
4. Research your suppliers
There’s a big difference between buying mass-produced, plastic-heavy items from overseas and responsibly-sourced, ethical products from your local area or country. When it comes to planning a sustainable wedding, it’s important to consider the values of your chosen suppliers so that you can be sure they align with your own.
Look for suppliers who give back to the planet and are conscious about their carbon footprints. Whether they plant trees, use recycled materials, use low-emission delivery systems or send their products with minimal packaging, these are all good signs that they are a responsible and eco-friendly supplier.
5. Be fussy about your food
A recent study discovered that around 10% of food is wasted at a typical wedding. But there are ways to lessen this number, and some eco-conscious couples even manage to have zero-waste weddings. Accurately knowing your numbers and ordering the correct amount of food goes a long way towards preventing your catering company from over-ordering. You can also ask your guests to choose their meals in advance, and be mindful of how much food you are providing.
Made-to-order food trucks are a great option for evening food, as it’s harder to predict how many of your day guests will want another meal or snack after their three-course meal. Again, look for local suppliers that prioritise sustainability when sourcing their ingredients.
Offering your guests takeaway boxes is a great way to ensure that your dessert options and wedding cake aren’t left behind at the end of the night. Encourage your guests to take food home with them by putting the takeaway boxes by the venue exit or at the end of each buffet table.
Having a sustainable wedding is easily achieved with a little careful planning. Remember to stay mindful when purchasing items for your wedding, and be sure to ask your suppliers questions regarding their ethics if you are unsure of their processes. With these helpful tips in mind, you’re sure to have a magical and memorable day without creating a negative environmental impact.