To the disappointment of couples and their families everywhere, it’s been a long stretch of wedding postponements and cancellations. But as we hope to move to a post-lockdown world, weddings will be on the horizon!
Before you dive head-first into a pile of fabric swatches and catering brochures, take a few minutes to consider adding a few green twists to your wedding. Eco-friendly additions will not only make your special day really unique… both your budget and the planet will thank you for it!
1. Location, location, location
People will probably have to travel to attend your wedding – but you can keep the transport impact down by choosing ceremony and reception venues that are close together.
Or, ideally, in the same place. Environment aside, the day will likely run much more smoothly when there’s less logistical stress – and guests will appreciate the easy saunter to the bar!
2. Downsize invites
Maps, programmes, accommodation information, “things to do” guides, not to mention the invite itself. Wedding invitations are getting thicker and thicker every year. To minimise your impact, go for recycled paper, and help save all those lovely trees by minimising the number of inserts you include in each mailing.
You could also direct guests to a single website that contains all the info about the big day. And why not use online invitations for related events like stag and hen parties? Or you could really go for it, and use online wedding invitations – and keep all your RSVPs and other communications completely virtual, too!
3. Make the most of friends and family
Now, we’re not saying take advantage of your loved ones’ good natures – but if they’ve got a skill that could be useful to your wedding, make the most of it! Cake-makers, seamstresses, DJs, photographers, crafty types... you won’t get more locally-sourced goods and services than those of your nearest and dearest. And chances are they’d love to play a key role in your special day.
4. Something borrowed
The idea of buying a second-hand wedding dress is all well and good – but, the reality is, lots of brides want their gown to be brand new. So if you really can’t get on board with a vintage or pre-owned dress, consider at least donating yours after the big day.
After all, you’re probably not going to wear it again, right?! Or you could choose a style that can be altered at a later date, to create an outfit you will wear again.
When it comes to other bridal party outfits, you can be a little more flexible. Most fellas are happy to hire or rent a suit, while bridesmaids dresses come in all styles and colours. So if you’re buying them, make sure they’re versatile enough (and the bridesmaids like them enough!) to warrant future outings.
5. Use seasonal flowers
Source flowers from local producers, and opt for blooms that are in season – as out-of-season flowers are usually shipped in from abroad. Wildflowers are an increasingly popular wedding choice, as they’re both beautiful and plentiful.
Alternatively, ditch the flowers altogether and use other materials. Get creative with anything from buttons to brooches for your bouquets! Check out these Pinterest boards for some inspiration.
If you do use flowers, make the most of them, by using them at both your ceremony and reception venue. Just ask someone to set them up while you’re having your post-ceremony photographs taken.
Your flowers should still be in good condition after your big day, so think about ways to put them to good use, instead of turfing them in the bin. Could another wedding party make use of them, or would a nursing home or children’s centre appreciate them?
6. Rethink the favours
Favours – little tabletop gifts designed to thank guests for attending – often take the form of disposable novelties. But while things like miniature plastic champagne bottles might be fun, they’ll just end up in the rubbish.
Instead, give your guests something they’ll actually use. Local jam or chutney in a cute, recyclable jar, for example, or a little pot of seedlings, adds a bit more elegance, and does the planet a favour, too. Avoid the temptation to give your guests something plastic simply because you’re supposed to give them something.
7. Go digital
When was the last time you got a roll of film developed? Ages ago, right – so why should your wedding photographs be any different? Choose a photographer that specialises in digital photography.
Not only will your pictures be better quality, but you can view them online first, before committing to printing them. Plus, less paper and fewer chemicals is better for both the environment and your wallet!
8. Think outside the traditional wedding box
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with wedding planning – and with the trend for conventional white weddings, with glitzy place-settings and lavishly-decorated reception rooms, it can be hard to break the mould. But think outside the box and you’ll not only create something truly unique, that your guests will remember for many years to come, but you’ll be reducing your environmental footprint, too.
Who says place settings need to be printed on card? Why not use pebbles stamped with a guest’s initials? And you don’t have to print up scores of programmes. Instead, commission a local artist to paint up some programme chalkboards to hang around the venues.
You could even repurpose “found” items as table centrepieces. Think antique lanterns, charity shop finds, or even an arrangement of beautiful live plants, which could be given to your guests as a keepsake afterwards. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
9. Offset the impact
The average wedding creates a whopping 14.5 tonnes of carbon. Which is nearly a third more than the average person creates in a year1! So reduce the footprint of your big day, by offsetting some of the impact. Make a donation to a carbon-offsetting scheme, or ask your guests to do so, in lieu of gifts.
Take into account any flights you might take for your honeymoon, too. Nowadays couples often ask for financial contributions towards that instead of homewares – so build some offsets into your holiday budget.
10. Plant a tree
Once the big day is over and you’re busy enjoying newly-wedded life, why not take an afternoon out to plant a tree together? It could be in your garden, at the wedding venue, or just somewhere that’s special to the both of you. It makes a great wedding present to the planet – and it will serve as the ultimate symbol of your growing love over the coming years. Aww!