Low-Waste Wedding Planning Tips and Ideas for Environmentally Conscious Couples
Over the past year, we've really been making an effort to make our event planning more eco-friendly in order to reduce our environmental impact. We know that weddings can produce a significant amount of waste, but it can be daunting and somewhat overwhelming to consider sustainability when planning a wedding celebration - especially when you're bombarded with so many beautiful pictures and ideas for your big day! We've shared a few simple swaps that you can do to make your wedding more environmentally friendly - without compromising on quality or aesthetics.
The great news is that whilst it may take a little extra creativity, there's plenty of ways to say I do whilst still being environmentally conscious.
Swap round tables with linen for rustic benches
The amount of linen that gets used at your average wedding is significant - and it all needs washing afterwards! Tables without linen can be equally as beautiful - think rustic wooden benches adorned with foliage, plants or flowers. These also tend to be narrower, which means you need fewer decor items to make them look full and stylish.
Swap paper invitations for a wedding website
Wedding websites are super popular nowadays, and not as taboo as they used to be. Not only are they easy to set up, but they give you unlimited control over the design, which means you can match them perfectly to your scheme. They give you the opportunity to share much more information with your guests (we love reading about couples' proposal stories!) and make it easy to maintain communication throughout the process. Not only this, but it means not printing and sending hundreds of items of wedding stationary, which will eventually be disposed of.
Swap fresh cut flowers for plants in pots
We LOVE fresh flowers. Don't get us wrong - there's nothing like walking into a room full of beautiful arrangements, but the impact of cut flowers on the environment is HUGE. Flowers are grown all over the world and shipped hundreds of miles to the UK, so they have a significant carbon footprint and often go to waste afterwards.
Think about repurposing your bouquets by putting them in vases on the top table, and consider adding plants in pots to the guests' tables. Foliage is a great eco-friendly wedding swap - you could use succulents in teracotta pots, or herbs in mini baskets for a mediterranean feel. These will also make great eco-friendly wedding favours which guests will enjoy for months afterwards.
If you really do want flowers, make sure you're choosing seasonally appropriate blooms, and look at containers that don't require you to use oasis or foam.
Swap an extravagant 4-course menu for a grazing table
Leftover food is one of the biggest contributors to waste when it comes to events and weddings. Often, we offer our guests a huge, 4 course meal which they struggle to finish - not only is this a waste of resources, it's a waste of your money too! Consider something lighter such as a grazing table or buffet - this can still be presented beautifully, but people can help themselves to what they want and graze throughout the afternoon. Many venues will also offer to donate leftover food to local charities who will distribute this for them to better causes.
Alternatively, if you do want a sit down meal, source a caterer that uses locally grown food suppliers (we have plenty on our books!). You should always be aware of where your food is being sourced from - we have a range of caterers that we use because we know we can rely on them to find the best quality, local and seasonal ingredients.
Choose a nearby venue and local suppliers
When choosing your venue, think ahead to how far guests will need to travel to get to your wedding. If you're hosting it outside of a big city, it's likely that many people will need to drive. Encourage lift sharing, or even better, arrange transport such as coaches or mini buses which can get guests safely from A-B. Your suppliers will also have an impact on this, make sure you are using local suppliers to cut down on fuel milage. This is likely to also save you money which can be better spent elsewhere! You might also be interested in: How to choose the perfect wedding venue
Swap your expensive gift list for experiences or donations
It can be easy to feel pressured into putting together an expensive gift list for your wedding - even though times have changed and most couples already live together, some relatives insist on buying you a gift. This can often end up with you asking for things you don't need to replace things you already have. Instead, ask for experiences or donations to a charity of your choice. People will feel like they've contributed to your new life together, and it will give you something to look forward to after the big day.
Swap your brand new wedding dress for one that's second hand or vintage
The second hand wedding dress market is HUGE. We're certain you will be able to find the dress of your dreams at a considerably lower price, and you could consider donating it or selling it afterwards too. This means that a dress can be used for several weddings rather than just one, which is much better for the environment. You could also consider upcycling your dress by changing the straps, or perhaps adding new details such as beads or broaches to make it more unique. Save your 'something new' for something else!
All of the above tips are simple and straightforward changes that you can make to your wedding without much effort, and often can improve the whole feel of your special day. If you would like to find out more about how to make your wedding more environmentally friendly then we'd love to help!
You might also be interested in: Reducing the environmental impact of your corporate events