As we become more conscious of our impact on the planet, bringing eco-friendly practices into life and occasions like weddings has become more and more essential. But saying ‘I do’ to an eco-wedding doesn’t have to be a burden on the big day – and it doesn’t have to cost the earth, literally! We take a look at ways to organise an unforgettable wedding day that lessens your impact on the environment.

Credit: Ben Rosett via Unsplash

From food to venues, there are several ways to make your wedding that bit more eco-friendly. We spoke to wedding expert Lisa Forde of stationery favourites Tree of Hearts who offers a guide to nuptials for couples with a conscience.

Eco-friendly Weddings: 7 Things to Think About This World Earth Day

“The importance of having an eco-friendly wedding is being embraced by more and more couples during the planning of their big day,” Lisa explains.

“The sustainable movement is all about reducing the use of single-use materials and opting for products and materials that are better for the environment.

“If you’re looking to plan your own eco-friendly wedding there’s lots of things to think about – from wedding party outfits to confetti to your honeymoon.”

Here are seven things to think about when planning your eco-friendly wedding.

Use Eco-friendly Stationery Suppliers

Eucalyptus Garland Save the Date Cards. Credit: Tree of Hearts
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You might think that sending your invitations online is an easy way to eliminate waste but it’s not actually that much more eco-friendly. Did you know that around 120 emails equates to 1,652 g CO2e?

Nothing beats traditional high-quality stationery, eloquently styled and designed, printed on high-quality sustainable paper and personalised to your day and a keepsake for your guests forever.

Tree of Hearts stationery offer beautiful products are made from carbon balanced paper that are also widely recyclable.

Consider the Wedding Party’s Outfits

Molly’s vintage gown is available to rent for £350 a day on By Rotation

Choosing outfits when you’re trying to be eco-friendly can be difficult, as you don’t want to compromise on style and want something that will really suit you.

Look in second hand and vintage boutiques to find pre-loved dresses or renting on sites like HURR and ByRotation, with endless beautiful styles for a fraction of the cost of buying a brand new dress.

More and more brides are also choosing to wear their mum’s wedding dress for their special day. You can then have alterations made if you’re looking for a more modern style.

For the groom and groomsmen, consider renting suits. This is a great idea as many men will never wear their wedding suit ever again, and it will just sit in the wardrobe gathering dust.

Choose Your Wedding Make-up Carefully

When choosing your wedding makeup, be sure to avoid single-use products, such as fake eyelashes and makeup removing wipes. Look into products that are eco-friendly, sustainable, organic and not tested on animals.

Make sure to discuss this with your make up artist ahead of time so they can choose makeup that is in eco-friendly containers and packaging, and stay far away from plastic.

Research Your Venue

Eden Project, Cornwall. Credit: Alan Law Photography

Choosing a local venue is very beneficial for the environment, as all of your wedding guests won’t have to travel as far. If you’re focusing on eco-friendly, it pays to keep it simple and outdoor ceremonies are undoubtedly the best for this – drastically cutting energy consumption and providing a beautiful location where you can tie the knot.

From beaches to forests, taking your vows outdoors is certainly special – just ensure you have a backup plan nearby in case you’re unlucky with the weather! Or, you may want to choose a venue that is already beautiful, such as a castle or a church, as then you won’t have to spend as much on decor.

If you do want to use more decor to add to your venue, you can then reduce your waste by using eco-friendly decor, or choosing an eco-friendly wedding venue.

Live plants make beautiful decorations, and can be kept long after your special day. Candles also make beautiful, sophisticated decorations, and are available in lots of eco-friendly materials, such as beeswax. If, like most brides, you’d like flowers at your wedding, speak to a local florist and consider choosing homegrown or local varieties over rarer types. For a beautiful and unique twist, you could even pick wildflowers to complement other natural decorations.

Think About Food Waste

Farm to table food
Credit: The Social Pantry

Having no food waste after a wedding can be difficult as often people struggle to finish their meals. To reduce food waste, why not opt for a buffet instead of set meals? People will take as much food as they want and so will probably eat more or less than they would at a set meal. The leftover food can then be taken home by guests or donated.

Aim for locally sourced, organic ingredients to keep the carbon footprint to a minimum and caterers who are known for their eco-credentials. With these ingredients, and a knowledgeable catering team with the same passion for this cause, you can design a delicious seasonal menu that avoids imported products.

You can also reduce the environmental effects of food waste by sourcing local food, and opting for reusable cutlery. Serve drinks in glasses rather than single-use cups is another easy way to stay environmentally-conscious – and make sure any empty bottles get recycled!

And whilst a big wedding cake may look lovely, it’s unlikely the whole thing will get finished, so perhaps choose a smaller cake.

Set up a Gift Registry

Married couple gift list
Credit: The Wedding Shop

Unfortunately, gifts are another way that a wedding can become wasteful, especially if you’re receiving things you never asked for or wanted.

You can prevent waste by setting up a gift registry. This means that you will only get gifts that you really want and need. You may also want to ask your wedding guests to wrap your gifts in eco-friendly wrapping paper, or not to wrap them at all.

If you do receive any gifts you know that you won’t use, then you can resell them or donate them to a local charity. Alternatively, lots of our couples are now asking for charity donations or money as a gift, or contributions towards their honeymoon fund.

Opt for Eco-friendly Wedding favours

Honey wedding favours

Choosing wedding favours with natural ingredients is a great way to reduce waste. There are lots of natural handmade favours you can also make, including soaps, bath bombs, and jam.

Make sure that your packaging is either made from paper, glass, or another more eco-friendly alternative to plastic. Many couples choose not to give out favours at all, and this is completely fine!

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