27th March 2022

11 Simple Sustainable Wedding Solutions

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Having a sustainable wedding might not be at the top of your list when it comes to wedding planning. However, weddings are responsible for a staggering amount of pollution. Indeed, the industry as a whole has truly devastating environmental consequences. For example, the average wedding produces over 400lbs of rubbish alone! Not only that, but the estimated Co2 output of just one wedding is 63 tonnes. That’s more than 5 people produce in a whole year. (Source: The Green Bride Guide).

This article is not intended to guilt trip wedding planning couples – it is not fair or realistic to expect that every couple will have the means to have a completely sustainable wedding. Instead, we hope to simply raise awareness of things you can do to lower the environmental impact of your special day without compromising on what you want. There are actually several super simple swaps you can make during the planning process to offset some of the waste.

Hopefully this list can show planning couples what greener options are out there. If all couples who read this chose to implement just one or two of these sustainable swaps, the overall impact on the wedding industry would be huge!

 

Choose Local

Destination weddings are all the rage, particularly after the limiting years of Covid isolation. However,  the environmental impact of a destination wedding is huge. Before deciding on a wedding abroad, you might want to have a look around local venues first. The level of what is available in the UK is huge, so they might surprise you!

Think about it: Couples from across the globe often want to travel to the UK to marry in one of our unique stately homes or historic castles, so why not keep these options in mind for yourself.

There are so many benefits to marrying locally. A local wedding venue negates the extra Co2 costs of flying or long travel. It will also result in a more budget friendly wedding. Thanks to the lack of flight and accommodation costs,  you will be guaranteed to have everyone you want in attendance. People won’t be put off coming by the distance. You can also avoid the added stress of trying to liaise with suppliers in another country who may not speak English, or are in a different time zone. A sustainable wedding doesn’t have to mean complicated, it can often be much more stress free.

 

Choose a Sustainable Venue

sustainable wedding venue

Sustainable wedding venues are becoming more and more common, and the competition means that they are all vying to be the best. Thanks to this competition there is a huge range of sustainable options from the traditional to the truly unexpected.

The classic sustainable wedding venue options are things like glamping in woodlands or farms; eco mega-venues like the Eden project; or environmentally conscious dedicated wedding venues like converted barns or purpose-built grand designs style eco structures. There is such a broad range that it is really down to you what your sustainable wedding looks like. You can execute your vision without compromising on any of the luxurious touches that you normally expect from a wedding.

There are also more unexpected sustainable venue options which have been cropping up across the country. If you know where to look, there are glamorous eco hotels, and even stately homes with an eco focus. These venues can boast carbon offsetting, renewable energy and environmentally minded menus all included in their wedding packages.

 

Champion Local produce

A sustainable wedding feast wouldn’t be complete without a broad array of beautifully prepared local produce. This is a fantastic way to ensure that your wedding feast is kind to the planet. Locally sourced ingredients have a very low carbon footprint, whilst also having the added benefit of being incredibly fresh. It’s a win win in our eyes.

Another sustainable food option is to offer more plant-based options. When plant based menus are locally sourced they will boast an even lower carbon footprint than local meat and dairy.

For dessert you don’t have to compromise on sustainability. There are many bakeries which offer sustainable wedding cakes. Choose from plant-based offerings to bakes made with locally sourced ingredients and plastic free cake toppers.

Using ingredients from the local area is a fantastic way to celebrate and honour the area in which you are getting married.  It is also a sure fire way to enjoy a well-cooked bespoke menu! A great way to avoid boring wedding food.

 

Limit Paper Use

Re-thinking invitations is the most simple way to ensure you’re having a more sustainable wedding. Not only is it better for the planet, but it is simply more modern and convenient to take the majority of the wedding lead up online. It might feel like something you have to do, but sending save the dates and invites is really optional when an email will do. Plus, the paper, envelopes, and postage miles can really add up.

We would suggest an emailed save the date and RSVP form. Then you can feel free to splurge on a fancy paper invitation if it is something you care about.

Limiting paper use doesn’t stop before the wedding either. Things like name cards and individual menus can really add up, in costs to the planet and to your pocket. You can limit this by only having one printed menu per table, or better yet a handwritten menu on rented blackboards or mirrors. You can get creative here with a really beautiful presentation that still fits your wedding theme.

If having paper invites is really important to you, then there are still ways to minimise their impact. Why not choose to purchase invitation and stationary suites made from recycled materials? These can still be utterly luxurious, and a little more guilt free.

 

Rent Your Outfits

This concept can be a hard sell, but if you think about it you don’t actually need to buy a wedding dress. While we have grown used to the idea of purchasing the most expensive garment of our lives and only wearing it once, there are other options that are much more budget friendly and planet kind. Unless you are completely set on keeping your dress as an heirloom, there is no reason to buy one to keep.

Wedding dress rental is a huge industry, with thousands of options ranging from bridal classics to designer gowns. With the lower costs associated with renting, and the scope for trying different things, the possibilities for your wedding looks are almost endless. You could even rent multiple dresses for your wedding day if you want that real wow factor.

If renting isn’t for you there are still so many sustainable options for your wedding look. You could consider repurposing a gown you already own, or purchase one second hand. And if you are dead set on buying yours new? Then go for it! There is no wrong way to have a wedding.

 

Think Outside the Box with Florals

You may be surprised to discover that flowers are not so green! In fact, they are the aspect of traditional weddings with the poorest green credentials. The amount of energy, water and fuel that it takes to create a fresh bridal bouquet is huge. This is even more true for arrangements using out of season or exotic blooms.

You can limit the environmental impact of your wedding flowers. Begin by choosing local, seasonal flowers. To get more mileage from your arrangements, you can even donate them when you’re done! There are many organisations such as care homes and hospitals who will come and pick up your floral arrangements after the event, so donating them couldn’t be simpler.

An even more sustainable option is to use dried floral arrangements. These use much  less water, and can be bought and stored beforehand. You can even re-use them for years to come!

For centrepieces and venue décor why not consider potted plants. These can be re-used after the wedding, be given to guests as gifts, or be donated on to a loving home. They also bring a really nice, rustic look to a wedding.

 

Be Considerate With Décor

It is really easy to throw together a few decorations and realise that you have just purchased a whole load of non-recyclable plastic. Traditional decorations like confetti and balloons have a high plastic content and huge environmental impact.

A great sustainable wedding option is to choose alternative confetti. You can either use rice or dried flower petals. This way you can be sure your confetti won’t harm local wildlife, while still enjoying the romance of being showered with confetti!

If you are keen to have an instagrammable wedding with plenty of beautiful decorative tableaus, there are lots of ways to do this sustainably. Instead of balloon arches or flower walls, create thrifted arrangements from draped cloth and found objects, borrowed mirrors, or rented props. I would also recommend looking into your chosen venue’s background appeal, as the right venue shouldn’t need any more décor than some strategically placed candles and a potted plant or two.

 

Choose Recycled Wedding Rings

sustainable wedding rings

Wedding rings are the one aspect of your wedding day that you will continue to use for the remainder of your marriage. Despite the longevity of the item, many people treat them as an afterthought in the wedding planning process! Our recommendation is to budget properly for your rings. This way you can buy a good quality piece of jewellery that you truly love.

We are passionate about sustainable jewellery. The impacts of precious metal and stone mining on the environment can be catastrophic. Because of this all of our wedding rings are made with recycled precious metal. We can also offer single mine origin gold if requested. We also ensure that all of our diamonds are Kimberly Process approved, meaning that they are completely conflict free.

 

Give Back With Your Registry

Most modern couples who have decided to get married have already been living together for quite a while by the time they tie the knot. Because of this, the traditional wedding registry of china sets, toasters and bed sheets may not be so necessary. If this sounds like you why not consider an alternative wedding registry? You can go for a honeymoon fund, or a registry with a charitable focus. There are so many charities that offer this as an option now that you can go for any cause which is close to your heart. On the sustainable theme however, a great way to carbon off-set your wedding is to go for a charity which focuses on planting trees.

 

Realise Favours Are Unnecessary

While it can seem like a good idea at the time, that personalised wedding coaster or beer sleeve that you are gifting to every guest at great expense is more than likely to be discarded immediately after the event. Yes, personalised favours look great and can feel really exciting. However, wedding memorabilia is likely to only have long lasting meaning to you and your closest family. Favours like this are really expensive, and usually made from unrecycled plastic.

A better option for wedding favours is to go for something edible like a beautifully iced biscuit, or the traditional sugared almonds. This way you can ensure they won’t be wasted and you won’t have contributed a lot of non-recyclable waste to landfills. You can also choose to give personalised seed packets, or a charitable donation in each guest’s name.

 

Honeymoon at Home

There is no more sustainable way to honeymoon than by sticking to your home country. This is a huge way to lower your carbon footprint, and will keep your wedding wastage to the minimum.

Let’s face it, lots of couples spend the majority of their honeymoon holed up in their hotel room anyway. Why not choose a cosy local hotel or a flashy trip to the capital, and use the budget on room service and champagne rather than long-haul flights.