Planning Advice // Five Ways to Plan a More Eco Friendly Wedding
Up on the blog today is my handy tips on how to have a more eco friendly wedding. If we are friends or if you know me at all, you will be aware that I am quite the eco ambassador. I have always been very conscious about the environment, even from a young age. I try to avoid single use plastics, when I travel I offset my carbon footprint and I have religiously used a Keep Cup for years. I was that very annoying friend at university that made sure we had one bin at the house party for recycling and one for rubbish. Even half intoxicated I was always aware that we needed to make sure our beer bottles ended up in the right place.
This is when it dawned on me. If I was thinking about the environment, perhaps there would be couples planning weddings that might be thinking the same. How can I make my wedding more eco friendly? After Blue Planet II aired there has defiantly been an increase in exposure on the war against plastic. So here are my top five tips for you if you are trying to plan a more eco friendly wedding.
SAVE PAPER AND EMISSIONS BY GOING PAPERLESS WITH YOUR INVITES
Many people love stationary. I am a self confessed lover of sending handwritten letters to people in the post. Getting a wedding invite or handwritten thank you card is wonderful. But when you think of the cost to the environment each letter and note can have, you might think again. One of the most eco effective way of sending out invitation is by going paperless. There are lots of online companies that offer wedding invitations and paperless options for your wedding day. I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Emma from Paperless Wedding, who is a business in the UK that offers wedding invites, websites and save the date options for your big day. You can see our interview up on her blog here. Having a paperless wedding means that you can keep track of your RSVP’s and create useful wedding websites that can host information about your plans and keep guests up to date with details. There is also no carbon footprint for the printing of paper and sending out both your save the date and invites in the post.
BE MINDFUL ABOUT YOUR WEDDING FLOWERS
I am an absolute LOVER of wedding flowers. I love bouquets, button holes, the arrangements – EVERYTHING. I am very drawn to botanical and natural looking arrangements. I feel that you do not have to decide not to have flowers in a bid to stay eco friendly. There are many options to make your wedding flowers kind on the environment. When picking a florist you can look into businesses that use sustainable floristry such as flowers that are homegrown or in season. I have had the pleasure of working on a wedding with Chloe from Bare Blooms who uses home grown and locally sourced flowers in her wedding floristry.
Florists who source locally grown flowers have less ecological impact on the environment. When enquiring with a florist it might be wise to ask whether they use biodegradable or recycled products. Many florists use a foam packaging to place flowers into called oasis. It is non-biodegradable and filled with toxic chemicals. Choosing a substance like moss or a recycled material to house your flowers can be extremely beneficial to to environment when planning a more eco friendly wedding.
Foraging or using natural elements with your wedding florals can be really rewarding. I remember watching an episode of Gardeners World and Monty had grown sweet peas for his son’s wedding. Growing your own flowers can enhance pollination for bees and for wildlife. It is surprising how easy it is to grow sweet peas and they are so fragrant and a wonderful addition to a bouquet. Perhaps growing your own flowers could be something to consider when investing in an eco friendly wedding.
CONSIDER GETTING MARRIED OUTDOORS
This year I have had the most outdoor weddings that I have ever photographed. The year of 2018 will go down in my business history as ‘The Year Of Outdoor Weddings’ and I am absolutely over the moon about it. Not only is it a wonderful [if not risky, especially in the UK] way to get married but it is also an eco friendly way to say ‘I Do’. Getting married outdoors in a woodland, farm or a vineyard is a unique experience for you and your guests but also saves on emissions. There is no heating or electricity required and your guests get to relax in the great outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature.
If you do not fancy your chances with an outdoor wedding, holding your reception and ceremony in the same place is also a fantastic way to follow the eco friendly route. Amy and Ruth were married at Inkersall Grange Farm this year. They have a wonderful tipi venue hire with a bohemian feel with ample outdoor space. It is a great help to the environment as all your guests are in the same place all day. There is no travelling between venues as you and your guests are in the same venue for the whole day. This means that you do not have to think about alternative transport or all of your guests driving to the venue and then from there to the reception. You are all in one location all together for the entire day.
YOUR WEDDING DRESS
If you decide to wear a wedding dress on your big day, it is one of the most important decisions. You want something that makes you feel amazing and comfortable. Whether you choose a classic style dress, boho or a bridal jumpsuit, when considering to make your wedding more eco friendly there are some alternatives to consider. A big part of being eco minded is the saying ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’. This this in mind there are a couple of tips that you can apply when choosing your wedding dress.
To reduce the need for new material you could let your wedding party all choose dresses that they already have in their wardrobe. I have had brides who gave the brief to her bridesmaids to wear dresses within the colour pallet or the theme of the wedding. They all picked their own and they looked stunning all together on the big day. Reducing the need to buy more dresses helps your wedding become more eco friendly immediately. My bride from two years ago used a dress that she already had in her possession as her wedding dress, which can also be an option.
Reusing and recycling wedding dresses is another way that you can help have a more eco friendly wedding. There are lots of wedding dress sites where you can purchase pre-worn gowns for a reduced price. The site Still White is an online platform where you can buy pre-worn dresses or alternatively buying from a charity shop like Oxfam where they have specialised wedding shops is always an option. Buying vintage dresses is another way that you can help reuse wedding gowns. You can pick up very prestigious designers and walk away with the dress of your dreams for a cheaper price with the knowledge that you are reducing your cost to the planet with resources and emissions. Reusing a gown that has been in your family is another way to keep your wedding dress eco friendly. My cousin wore the dress that my grandmother has been married in for her wedding, with a few little modern alterations and it was such a sentimental gesture.
If you do not feel comfortable with wearing a pre-owned wedding dress, which is totally fine. It is not everyones cup of tea and you should not feel pressured to do something you do not want to. To have a more eco friendly wedding dress you need to look for a sustainable designer. When buying a new dress look for a designer who is sustainable with their materials. Such materials would consist of organic cotton and fabrics like silk or hemp. Recently a bride wore a Stella McCartney wedding dress who famously uses cruelty free and sustainable materials in her production of clothing. You can see her policy on sustainability on her website here.
FIND WEDDING FAVOURS THAT DO SOME GOOD
Everyone loves a wedding favour. They brighten up your table decor and it is a lovely way to show your wedding guests your appreciation for them being part of your day. In the news at the moment there is a lot of focus on the decline of the bee population in the UK and around the world. You could have compostable flower bombs or wild flower seed packets as favours for your guests to take home and plant in their gardens or in flower pots. This not only helps the bees and the planet but is a lovely gesture to your guests. Giving back to nature is a wonderful gift. Reusing bottles as vases on wedding tables is a trend that I love. Not only are you recycling the bottles, but you can also let guests take them home as a favour which means less flower wastage and it is a gorgeous gift too!
Wedding favours do not have to be beneficial for the environment to be eco friendly. You could as a couple make a donation to a charity in the names of your guests. This gives back to a good cause and it means there have been no emissions or materials used in the making of your gift. Connecting with a local business is also a wonderful way to create a more eco friendly wedding. Reaching out to a small business to provide something for guests to eat or use promotes local trade and the carbon footprint is reduced as the company is near to you. Edible or drinkable favours are a wonderful way of making sure that there is no wastage.
Sometimes not having favours but investing in someones talent is a great way to interact with your guests experience. Perhaps consider investing in an entertainer like a magician that can wow your guests with their incredible skill. There is no impact on the environment and you are able to again invest into a small business. I had the pleasure and amazement of witnessing the magician Jack Brister at Anna and Ross’s wedding. He managed to do a trick that still has me thinking and was a wonderful addition to the wedding day entertainment. What ever way you choose to display or pick your favours, there are many ways that you can make your choices more eco friendly.
I hope that my five tips for creating a more eco friendly wedding has helped your decision making.
There is no pressure to do all of these things as they are all small suggestions that can make your wedding more eco minded. Even one small gesture to make your wedding more eco friendly is a step in the right direction. If you have found this advice useful perhaps check out my top tips for wedding confetti at your wedding here.