HOW TO MAKE YOUR WEDDING SUSTAINABLE
While weddings are beautiful occasions, the waste that can be left behind is anything but. If you’re conscious of the environment and reducing your carbon footprint, then you may wish to consider ways of making your wedding more sustainable.
Some ideas may only seem small, but they can have a big impact!
Elope instead of having a big wedding
If being eco-friendly is very important to you, then choosing an elopement over a traditional wedding may be the best choice for you.
Without any (or many) guests, you’re cutting down on waste caused by sending invites, decorating tables, serving food and making wedding favours.
Skip paper invites
Invitations can cause a lot of paper waste, and with so many people now online, it can be more eco-conscious to send digital save the date and wedding invites.
If you did want to send a physical invite, then use more eco options, such as plantable paper, paper made from recycled materials, or limit the stationary to only one piece.
Use local providers and produce
Opting for local and seasonal produce and products – from the food and drink to the flowers – plays a big part in reducing the carbon footprint of the big day.
Plus, by choosing local, you’ll also be helping to support the small businesses and the local economy.
If you’re having a destination wedding, then you may be unsure of the food, flowers and decorative extras available locally. This is where hiring a wedding planner can be particularly useful, as they can source local and sustainable items for your big day.
For example, if you were having your wedding in Spain, you should select regional carnations, chrysanthemums, and roses for your flowers.
You could also consider making your wedding attire more sustainable by choosing locally sourced fabrics from fair trade companies.
Choose a plant-based menu
Meat consumption is a big contributor to climate change. People have been encouraged to cut down on meat intake to help the environment. If you are eco-conscious, then you may wish to choose a plant-based menu for your wedding, eliminating meat and dairy products from the food you serve.
In addition to environmental benefits, it can be nice to choose a plant-based menu as it will be inclusive of most dietary needs, meaning all of your vegetarian, vegan and dairy-free wedding guests will naturally be catered to without needing to adapt the menu.
Avoid single-use items
Single-use glasses, plates and cutlery can offer a cheap and easy way of serving food and drink at weddings, but their use is definitely not the most environmentally friendly.
Instead, opt for reusable porcelain plates, crystal glasses and metallic cutlery that can be reused for another event afterwards. There are companies that can rent you the tableware for the day, or for rustic, boho or vintage wedding themes, you could source mismatched plates and cups from secondhand stores.
Have a sit down meal
Sit down meals, like a seated banquet with a set menu, will use fewer dishes and less food than if you opt for a buffet meal or different corner stations at your wedding reception.
Buffet-style wedding reception meals run the risk of guests heaping food onto their plates and then leaving lots of uneaten food when they become full. It also uses up additional serveware, which can create waste.
Having servers bring plates of food to each guest helps to limit waste and the amount of dishes that need to be washed up.
If your heart is set on having a buffet meal, or different types of dishes that guests help themselves to, then sending any leftovers home with guests is a fantastic way of reducing food waste.
You may be able to arrange with your caterer for guests to take home things they haven’t been able to eat, and any fresh leftovers.
Be creative with flower choices
Opting for cut flowers for bouquets and decorations can be beautiful, but may not be the most sustainable choice. Depending on the time of year and flowers you choose, some florists will import out-of-season blooms. Plus, cut flowers don’t last very long and can cause further waste.
If you want fresh cut flowers, then be sure to choose ones that are locally grown and in season. You could even opt for wildflowers or ones grown in your own garden to make things as eco-friendly as possible.
Choose live potted flowers instead of cut flowers so that they can live on past your wedding and improve the environment. These could be taken home by guests as favours or donated to community groups who would enjoy planting flowers.
Alternatively, you could opt for dried flowers, paper flowers or succulents and herbs for a more sustainable floral arrangement.
Pick a beautiful location
Avoid the waste that decorations can cause by choosing a ceremony location that is naturally filled with its own beauty and charm.
Not only will this help the environment, but it can really help to reduce the costs of your big day.
If you do want to add some decorative elements to a venue, then consider more sustainable options, such as lighting by candlelight or LED bulbs, instead of using energy-consuming lights.
Organising group transportation, such as a bus to take all your guests to a location, helps to reduce the impact of the travel.
It can also be beneficial to choose a venue that can host both the ceremony and reception to reduce the need for transportation between locations.
Let bridesmaids pick their dress
Let your bridesmaids choose their own dress – give them a colour palette you’d like them to follow, but they can choose the style and design that they love, making it more likely that they’ll wear the dress again, rather than it be a one-time outfit.
Sustainability is more important than perfection
It may transpire that your ‘dream’ wedding options are not sustainable, so you may need to consider what is more important to you. Remember that your wedding does not have to be completely perfect, especially if it means choosing a sustainable option over something less eco-friendly.
Make sure your honeymoon is ethical too
Plan an ethical honeymoon by using locally owned hotels and restaurants, as well as avoiding activities that exploit animals or promote animal cruelty, such as elephant riding or taking pictures with sedated tigers.
We hope that this has helped to inspire ways to make your wedding more sustainable. For further help with organising your wedding, take a look at our blog or get in touch with Natalia, our expert wedding planner, who can help you with each step of your wedding journey!
Talk to you soon, weddingmates!
Hugs and kisses.
All images: Natalie J Weddings
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I am Natalia, your luxury wedding planner in Barcelona, a down-to-earth girl who has one distinctive quirk: I love weddings. We will work side-by-side. I will listen to you and offer you the help you need, whether the details of your dream wedding are already set in stone, or you need a comprehensive plan for the event.