Eco-friendly weddings are becoming more and more popular but going down the sustainable route doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing quality or luxury.
Charlotte Ricard-Quesada, owner of bespoke event and wedding planning business, La Fete, shares her top tips for throwing the perfect sustainable wedding celebration.
Sustainable Wedding Tips
Venue & decor
An eco-friendly venue doesn’t necessarily mean getting hitched in a field or forest (though this is of course an option!). Consider venues that actively work to reduce their energy consumption, with solar panels for example; and preferably opt for a ready built structure, such as a barn, hall, castle, etc, in order to avoid the large scale transport necessary to bring in a marquee. If you want a tent feel, why not opt for a luxury yurt? There are companies offering hand crafted yurts made from sustainable materials and whose mission is to leave the nature around them untouched. However, your eco-friendly wedding doesn’t need to look rustic: it can be as luxurious as you like, but sustainable through the quality of materials you choose to decorate with, recyclability of items and attention paid in reducing overall waste, for instance, hiring as much as you can as opposed to buying.
Catering & wedding cakes for a sustainable wedding
More than ever, caterers are offering sustainable options to their clients. Produce used to compose wedding menus is seasonal, organic and sustainably farmed, with an emphasis on local items. Also, why not consider a vegetarian or vegan menu? Removing meat and/or animal produce will cut down on your overall costs, as well as reducing environmental impact. Speaking of which, make sure not to have any plastic or non-recyclable disposable tableware on site. Prefer glass and ceramic, or for the party, if you want to avoid smashed glasses on the dance floor, there are companies that create fully recyclable eco-cups.
As for your cake, you can either opt for an organic bakery or theme your cake around seasonal fruits. More and more companies also offer vegan, gluten-free or dairy-free cake options, so do shop around to find the right fit for you.
Transport tips for a sustainable wedding
In order to avoid guests driving themselves to your venue, why not organise a coach for them? There are many options for you to choose from, either vintage with an old school double decker bus, or more modern with a sleek luxury coach. Our advice would be to have a maximum of two to three pick up stops, in order to minimise time on the coach and any schedule confusion among the guests. As an alternative, you can also organise hybrid cars and electric taxis to get your guests to the venue. For the evening returns, consider a rolling schedule of minibuses to get your guests back to their hotels/homes available for when they’re ready to head off: your wedding planner can make sure that they are full before leaving, in order to minimise the backs and forths.
Sustainable wedding dresses & jewellery
If you are keen to plan a sustainable wedding, then why not consider this extending to your wedding dress and jewellery?
There are many sustainable bridal gown companies out there, specialising in using ethically sourced fabrics and supporting safe and fair work conditions (think slow fashion), as well as vintage and pre-loved gown retailers. For your wedding shoes, you can either opt for a pair you already have that you know are comfortable, saving you from buying a new pair, but if you do want to treat yourself, think of vintage or even vegan bridal shoes.
As for your rings, there are now designers offering rings made from recycled materials, and ethically sourced or vintage stones.
Favours & wedding gifts
With your favours, there are a million and one options that you could go for. Consider personalised biscuit place cards, local products such as honey or jams with custom labels, handmade soap/scent, lavender bags, candles, personalised seeds, small potted plants, personalised illustrations of your guests (on recycled paper of course), etc. Just make sure that your favours include no plastic or wasteful materials in their packaging. As for wedding gifts, consider donations from your guests towards your honeymoon (or carbon offsetting it), as well as donations to a charity of your choice. You can of course go for a traditional wedding list, but consider the items you are selecting carefully.
Flowers for a sustainable wedding
For us, a wedding isn’t a wedding without flowers: just think of the bridal bouquet! However, there are things you can do to avoid your stunning blooms going to waste after one day. Firstly, consider choosing seasonal and local flowers, as this will drastically reduce the transport cost and environmental impact. Avoid foam in your centrepieces, as it isn’t recyclable, ask the florist to avoid using plastic for transportation, opting for glass instead and if you want to avoid cut flowers, decorate your reception with potted plants (these can also double as favours). You can also organise to donate your flowers post-celebration, to ensure that they don’t go to waste. Also ask your florist if they can provide dried flower petals as a confetti substitute to throw post-ceremony.
We love stationery and the impact a beautiful save the date or invitation can have. However, if you want to be conscious of your paper consumption, you can do everything digitally with e-vites or use recycled paper. Our advice would be to send a digital save the date, designed in theme with your wedding, followed up by a paper/card invitation. Be mindful of the paper used as well as the ink: there are plant-based options available. For your on-the-day stationery, there is of course recycled paper, but why not consider using a projector, black boards, calligraphed wooden crates and edible options (such as the place cards).
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