Now I'm sure it won't come as a shock to you that weddings don't always have a great impact on the environment. There can be a lot of waste when it comes to decorations, food, clothing, energy and SO much more.
One fact I came across whilst researching this suggests that a wedding can produce as many CO2 emissions as five people would in an entire year! Ouch!
There are ways of planning an incredible wedding which not only have a low impact on our environment, but also might help it! How cool would that be?
Before we go into some of the ways you can plan a sustainable wedding. It's worth mentioning that you don't have to be perfect. Don't put too much pressure on yourself researching if your ice cubes came from a recycled plastic ice cube tray. Anything you do is going to have a positive impact compared to if you hadn't thought about it at all.
So enjoy, have fun, and check out top 10 ways to create a more sustainable and eco friendly wedding. Which not only looks gorgeous but will be unique and beautiful too.
1. Ditch all plastics!
Yes I mean it. Those little bottles of water that go on everyones chair, the single use fans, billions of plastic stirrers and straws? No No No.
Turn to using metal straws, put seeds in little paper bags as favours, have enamel mugs or glass jars that people can fill their drinks up with.There are so many ways of doing everything for your wedding without any single use plastic at all. It just requires some thought.
2. Choose in Season & Locally produced food.
Not only is this going to be so much more delicious and nutritious, but it is going to add heaps of personality to your wedding. You could have a local seasonal dish, or maybe food could be sourced from local markets or farms. This is something that you will need to think about when planning your wedding, as it may affect your venue and what time of year you choose to get married.
Personally, I love foraged wild food. Living in the Lake District, we are fortunate enough to have heaps of wild food available, so I would invest in a supplier who could provide this.
What type of food means something to you? How would you want to incorporate this into your wedding?
3. Choose a Venue which is on board with your Eco plans!
There are some venues who advertise themselves as super eco conscious, whilst others keep this under wraps (beeswax wraps. hehe). So don't be afraid to have a conversation with the owner to suss them out a bit.
Ask questions about recycling policies, utilities to their venue (lots of venues now have solar panels..yay!) and how food waste is managed plus so much more.
Don't assume venues are careful with food waste/ recycling. You would be surprised how many pubs and restaurants do not do any recycling at all.
4. Research Your Jewellery
We have all seen blood diamond right? It's a real thing!
According to Brilliant Earth, gold mining causes global mercury pollution, pollutes rivers with sulphuric acid and ravages landscapes. In addition to the dangerous work for employees, modern gold mining creates 20 tons of toxic waste for every gold ring. The business of diamond mining isn't any better. Irresponsible diamond mining practices have caused soil erosion, deforestation and in extreme cases, it has caused entire ecosystems to collapse.
You can make eco-friendly choices by choosing recycled stones and metals, vintage pieces or responsibly sourced wedding jewellery.
I have seen SO many incredible and inventive ways of decorating weddings using sustainable decorations. Sticks and branches in the local area can be wrapped in solar powered fairy, turning the whole venue into a total fairytale wonderland.
Though first seek permission from the land owner, and ensure you're taking from the floor and not hurting any living plants.
In my Lake District Eco Styled Elopement Shoot , Lauren from Bluebird Creative used root vegetables hung from the ceiling, moss on the tables, solar powered fairy lights, and linen dyed with wild blueberries. It was stunning!
Other ideas include: tipis made from branches, conker bunting, dried flowers hung from the ceiling, pebbles used as place names, recycled glass jars for flowers vases, beeswax tea lights and even eco-glitter sprayed pumpkins.
You've guessed what I am going to say here, go local and in season! Some florists even grow wild flowers themselves.
Choosing a specific coloured flower which isn't in season or native, often means it will need importing, adding to your weddings carbon footprint. Plus the non biodegradable plastic coverings used to protect them...Yuck!!
Top Tip: Using natural petals for confetti makes a MUCH better photo than using paper. You can also use dried lavender or wild flower seeds too!! (choose seeds such as poppies, dandelions and meadow grass which will self seed and the bees will love).
7. Finding your Dress
There are some incredible wedding attire designers out there which either up cycle pre loved wedding gowns or make weddings dresses out of sustainable materials.
For example Sanyukta Shrestha makes an incredible dress out of milk. Yes! Using a war time method fibres are spun from sour milk. It's incredible! And don't worry it doesn't smell at all!!
I used one of their dresses in my eco styled shoot, the fabric was so unbelievably soft and light the wind picked up the fabric and made for some pretty epic shots.
Alternatively, I've seen brides embrace their creative side; transforming an already loved dress into something bespoke and beautiful.
One of the biggest causes of pollution is vehicles. Since everything from food to out-of-town guests will require transportation to get to your event, a large amount of emissions can be emitted.
Organise shuttles or car pools for your guests to avoid separate journeys. You can also try to arrange your ceremony and reception in the same place to avoid extra travel.
You can also reduce your carbon footprint by scaling down the guest list. While it might be great to have the extended family together on your big day, you can cut down on waste from food, garbage, transportation and more by simply inviting fewer people.
9. Source a Hair and Make up Artist who use Natural Products
Using natural, vegan hair and make up products are not only heaps better for the environment, but they are so much better for your gut and skin too. Berkeley scientists found that the average lipstick user ingests about 24 milligrams of product a day, which means about 1/16 of a pound per year. So many lipsticks contain lead and that's not what you want in your system.
10. Plan out a purposeful gift list!
This can be a bit of a touchy subject when it comes to weddings. If your guests have had to travel a long way to your wedding, or paid out for expensive accommodation, then they might not be planning to get you a gift as well. However, if your guests do ask if they can get you a gift for the wedding, you might want to ask for them to contribute some money to a pot to avoid getting gifts you won't need, or already have. Tell your guests what they are contributing towards. Maybe a vegetable garden to live a more sustainable life, a contribution to some solar panels for your home, or maybe even a generous donation to your favourite charity.