By Tina Tharwani
15th June, 2020
We love protecting the environment as much as we love planning weddings. you can strive to make ethical and eco-conscious choices and you might just inspire other couples to do the same!
It's no secret that airplane and automobile emissions are among the top contributors to environmental damage, so it's a good idea to think about how you and your guests will be travelling to the wedding venue. A destination wedding means lots of air travel, and a venue in a remote location means lots of car travel. We're the first to say that you should get married wherever you want, but if you're torn between a few options, take a second look at the guest list and figure out which requires the fewest plane and car journeys.
Environmentally-minded folk often suggest you forgo cut flowers on your wedding day in favour of potted herbs and plants but if you're as obsessed with flowers as we are, you won't want to ditch them entirely. Depending on the time of year, your florist may be able to source locally-grown flowers, suggest some seasonal alternatives or provide living plants. It's also worth having a chat with them about what happens to the arrangements after the wedding - they may be able to arrange for them to be donated to a local hospital or hospice.
Whether your venue is providing the wedding meal, or you're hiring a separate team, you should be able to find a catering company with a sustainable ethos, who source organic, local, Fair trade and ethically-produced ingredients where possible. A vegan or vegetarian menu would also reduce the environmental impact of the wedding meal, but if that's too drastic for you, aim for a menu that's 50% vegetarian at least.
When it comes to wedding decor, some trends have a larger impact than others. As much as we love them, balloons and sky lanterns can be quite harmful to the environment, and to local wildlife, depending on how you dispose of them. For an eco-friendlier wedding, you should try to focus on recyclable or reusable items like glassware, bunting, macramé, ribbons, books and vintage candlesticks, some of which you can hire.
If you haven't already, try adding some cruelty-free, zero-waste or locally-produced products to your pre-wedding skincare routine. You can also ask your hairstylist and makeup artist if there are any cruelty-free substitutes that they're happy to use on the day.
We love the idea of charity wedding favours and we've seen lots of couples asking for charitable donations instead of gifts, too. There are lots of environmental charities who could use your support. You could also encourage your guests to plant a tree with seed wedding favours. For an eco-friendly wedding, look for plantable favours like potted saplings, herbs or succulents. If a lot of your guests are traveling, keep in mind that they probably won't want to pack a pot of soil into their suitcase, so consider biodegradable seed packets if you're committed to the plant route. Or, go edible. Look to local businesses like coffee houses for a bag of their signature beans, candy shops for chocolate bars (easy on the paper wrapping) or jams in reusable glass jars from an orchard. Another idea? Send your guests home with your wedding flowers—have an attendant ready to arrange your florals into individual bouquets for friends and family to enjoy for a few more days in their homes.
Millions of trees are toppled every year to make paper products, and the process of producing these items pollutes the environment. Now more and more couples are trying to help by making eco-conscious invite choices. We do recommend old school mail for the wedding invitations, but for save-the-dates, going paperless and digital is becoming more and more common. You can also reduce the inserts in your invitations by directing people to your wedding website for any extra details. For your invitation, keep an eye out for stationers who offer recycled paper products and vegetable-based inks. Some paper products are even plantable—yes, plantable! Paper from certain companies are embedded with seeds, so guests can plant them in their backyards and the paper turns into flowers, plants or herbs instead of ending up in a landfill.
Food is the centre of any celebration, and going green doesn't mean you have to sacrifice taste! The farm-to-table movement is in full swing, meaning it's more accessible than ever to source healthy, earth-friendly food. When you're budgeting, keep in mind that organic foods may cost more, but asking your caterer to source from in-season, locally-grown products will help keep the cost down and guarantee the freshest finds. And since the food is coming from a shorter distance, less fuel is needed to transport it. Really want to impress your guests? Supplement your table decor with herb plants in terracotta pots, like basil or cilantro, that guests can add straight to their dishes.
Many food banks across the country will pick up chilled leftovers of unserved food from your wedding celebrations. Speak with your caterers in advance so they can make the necessary arrangements. If they have done this before, they may know just who to call. Most hotel chains today have a leftover disposal plan in place but it’s always good to check.
Consider using naturally available structures at the venue and try incorporating them in your decor.