What is a sustainable wedding?
A wedding should always be a wonderful day of joy and celebration, as family and friends come together to celebrate the union of a loving couple. As we grow increasingly conscious of how our actions impact on our environment, however, more of us are making eco-friendly lifestyle choices. If you’re planning your wedding day, how can you make your festivities more sustainable?
Breaking bad habits
Traditionally, weddings generate significant amounts of non-biodegradable waste. This includes non-recyclable plastics, which take years to break down naturally, and are harmful to nature and the environment. Frequently discarded items include plastic cups, confetti, decorations, balloons, and gift bags. Weddings also result in high levels of food waste, such as uneaten favours and wedding cake. When considering your suppliers and making your plans for the big day, the following tips will help you reduce the amount of waste produced and limit your wedding day’s carbon footprint.
Making sustainable choices
If your ceremony and reception are in the same venue, you will minimise travel for your guests, as they won’t have to get from one location to another. And if you hold your celebrations outdoors you’ll be able to maximise daylight and save on electricity usage. If yours is a summertime wedding, the warm weather should avoid the need for heating.
To reduce CO2 emissions, organise group transport for your guests. This could be anything from a characterful London bus to horse-drawn carriages.
Choose an eco-friendly wedding outfit. An increasing number of wedding dress designers issue collections made using sustainable materials. Consider renting your outfit rather than buying – that way it’ll get worn again, rather than being consigned to your closet! You’ll also probably save money if you pursue the rented option.
Opt for an ethically sourced ring. Many diamond retailers choose to avoid materials sourced from conflict zones – speak to your jeweller about this. Alternatively, you could choose a vintage ring or a family heirloom.
Hire glasses, jugs and crockery – instantly more attractive than their disposable counterparts, they are reusable, so reduce wastage. Use compostable bin bags for any rubbish.
Use local suppliers
Hire a local photographer and local musicians for your entertainment. You’ll be providing work to the local community and avoiding emissions caused by long-distance travel.
Look for a caterer who uses locally sourced organic ingredients. This supports the local farming community, and encourages a reduction in the use of harmful pesticides. Ask your caterer what plans they have for leftover food; they should distribute it to a local food bank or charity.
When choosing your flowers, opt for seasonal and locally grown choices, rather than blooms that have been flown in from abroad. Let your guests shower you in confetti made from natural flower petals instead of synthetic materials.
Involve your guests
Ask your family and friends to choose Fairtrade and local suppliers when buying wedding gifts, and to wrap them with compostable paper. Or dispense with gifts altogether, and instead ask your guests to make a donation to a charity that is close to your heart.
It may take a bit more thought, but making your wedding more sustainable will grant you peace of mind – and allow you to enjoy your big day to the fullest!