10 Easy Ways to Plan a Gorgeous Sustainable Wedding
Calling all earth lovers who want to plan a Sustainable Wedding!
I was staggered to learn recently that a typical British wedding will produce one third of a metric tonne of solid waste in just one day, not to mention 14.5 tonnes of CO2 (that’s 1.5 times more than the average UK person produces in an entire year!) Multiplied by an estimated 278,000 weddings that take place in the UK each year, we can’t deny that weddings can be pretty wasteful occasions, with wasted food, guest travel arrangements, single-use décor and unwanted gifts.
But I believe that weddings don’t have to be wasteful and that couples shouldn’t feel pressured into have a zero-impact wedding either. It is totally achievable to include a few thoughtful, eco-friendly ideas, without compromising on all the things you love – beautiful invitations, a stunning venue, gorgeous florals and a beautiful dress and ring.
Fortunately, there are also a great number of suppliers like me, who actively seek to do their bit for the planet. So my top tip is to put your money where your eco-heart is and look for suppliers who share your belief. Here are 10 easy ways to plan a gorgeous and sustainable wedding…
1. Choose your venue carefully
Naturally, you should get married wherever you want, but if you have a few options on the table, you might consider the location of your venue and how far you, the majority of your guests and suppliers will need to travel in order to get to your wedding – we all know that planes, trains and automobiles are top emitters of greenhouse gasses.
The way your venue operates can also play a big part in how sustainable your wedding is. Great questions to ask your venues relate to where they source their ingredients (if catering), do they offer vegan food options, what their plastic and recycling policy is, how they dispose of their food waste, and whether they are part of any sustainability initiatives.
Choose a venue with a beautiful setting
You might also consider picking a venue which is set in, or overlooking gorgeous gardens or countryside, or perhaps a hotel with decor which reflects your vibe. This way you can utilise the natural charm of the venue as the backdrop for your big day without too much effort; be it a walled garden, woodland glade, coastal views or city chic hotel. Glasshouses can also make the perfect venue, whereby the planting inside creates all the atmosphere that you could wish for, without the need for lots of additional floral design.
2. Select an eco-conscious wedding stationer
The invitations are the first impression that your guests have of your Big Day, so most couples don’t want to skimp on this tradition. Although some couples do choose to go entirely paperless for their wedding invitations, most do want to send a physical invitation. However, eco-conscious couples may be wondering how sustainable it is to send out invitations. Here at Flamboyant Invites, we believe couples don’t have to compromise on having beautiful wedding stationery, whilst doing their bit for the planet too. We want to make it an easy choice for our clients, which is why we work with sustainable print partners who use carbon-neutral papers, sustainable print processes, packaging and waste recycling. This ensures that we do offer sustainable stationery our clients.
We’re also happy to work with clients to make their stationery work harder, by creating double-sided items which perform different functions. On the day items could include personalised menus, which eliminates the need for separate place cards, and creating a single sign to keep guests informed on the day’s events, instead of printing multiple guest programmes.
But perhaps the best part is that Flamboyant Invites plants a tree with every order! Each of our clients is gifted a tree through @onetreeplanted and what better way to begin married life together, knowing that your love is helping to shape our future too…one tree at a time!
3. Make full use of rental companies
If you need to dress your ceremony and reception spaces, it is better to rent, than to buy and then bin (unless of course you’re going to incorporate those items into your home after the wedding). Many wedding venues can supply easels for your signage and will usually include tables, chairs, table linens and tableware too, so you don’t have to think about shipping these in. However, for blank canvas venues, or for all those other little details that you might like, such as statement tableware and glassware and special props, there are lots of rental companies out there, covering all sorts of budgets, that you’ll be spoilt for choice. By picking one that is local to your venue will help to reduce your carbon footprint too.
4. Pick an eco-conscious florist
Many eco-minded folk might suggest forgoing cut flowers altogether, in favour of potted greenery or herbs, however if you’re flower obsessed then you absolutely won’t want to ditch them entirely! The main tips to remember here are to book an eco-friendly florist, who is local to your venue, and who focussing on locally-grown and/ or seasonal flowers, wherever possible. Many such florists also don’t use floral foam because it’s toxic and doesn’t biodegrade, favouring other imaginative methods and re-useable vases to create their floral displays. An eco-conscious florist will also often re-purpose the florals used in the ceremony room to add to vases and table decorations for the wedding reception.
Some couples may choose to forgo cut flowers in favour of potted greenery or herbs, or rent faux florals, whilst others may use potted plants to style their wedding tables, which can also be given away as gifts, or taken home afterwards. Couples who prefer cut flowers could choose to donate their flowers to places like nursing homes and hospices, so that their flowers can be enjoyed by others after the big day. Also, for the all important confetti shot, you can use real petal or biodegradable confetti, ribbon wands or bubbles to celebrate the newly-weds – just ensure that bubble pots and wands are recyclable.
5. Support sustainable and ethical bridal designers
When it comes to the dress, bridesmaid dresses or groomswear, you could choose from the growing number of amazing designers who specialise in sustainable and ethical bridal wear. Alternatively, you could hire, opt for a vintage wedding dress, or source a second hand one, and rewear, repurpose, resell, swap or donate your dress after the big day! For the bridesmaids, you might consider specifying a colour range and allowing your bride tribe to pick their own dresses. That way, they are more likely to wear their dresses again, rather than it being a one-time wear!
6. The ring
When it comes to choosing your ring, you could go vintage (or create something modern from the gemstones of a vintage piece of jewellery). Alternatively, you might opt for a conflict-free/ ethical jeweller, or lab-grown diamonds. Lab grown diamonds are identical to those found in the earth, but have been created in a lab, rather than mined. Diamond mining is notoriously damaging to the environment and energy intensive, so by going lab-grown or vintage stones, you will be choosing a more ethical and environmentally friendly option.
7. Select a locally sourced menu
Whatever type of catering you will be providing for you guests, the most sustainable option would be to source caterers, suppliers and artisans who specialise in locally sourced ingredients. If they are local to your venue, this will help to cut out the many food miles often associated with weddings. It’s also a great feeling to support local businesses near your home or venue!
Many wedding favours get left behind by guests, or quickly end up in the bin, which seems like a waste, so many couples decide to forgo these altogether. Alternatively, you can look for imaginative ways to create escort cards that can double as favours, such as personalised cookies, or using name tags on potted herbs as part of your table décor, which guests can take home afterwards. Personalised seed packets also make a nice gesture, which actually give back to the environment once planted!
9. Create a fundraising gift registry
Have you ever thought of incorporating charity fundraising into your wedding day? Couples who already have all that they need, or who don’t necessarily wish to set up a traditional gift list, often ask for charitable donations instead of gifts. By registering for donations to favourite charitable organisations, or creating a crowdfunding page, you can request that guests donate to charity instead of buying unnecessary gifts.
10. Plan a responsible travel honeymoon
Your honeymoon is definitely a fabulous opportunity to splurge out and enjoy a bit of luxury and adventure. With a host of responsible travel agencies out there, and with a little bit of research, it is possible to plan an eco-honeymoon with all the elements that you desire, and with relative ease these days! That way, even your honeymoon can be an opportunity to create a positive impact on the world!