With so many different things to consider while wedding planning, the environmental impact of your choices may not always be one of them. But let’s face it – as wonderful as weddings are, they can end up being incredibly wasteful when you consider the single-use decorations, food waste, and even carbon footprint of guests travelling to the event. Environmentalism was such a concern to Princess Eugenie when planning her own nuptials that she strived to make her royal wedding an "anti-plastic" affair, and it’s something more couples than ever are considering during the wedding planning process. Here are just a few ways to make your wedding more eco-friendly…
Send e-vites and create a wedding website
Wedding stationery not only means lots of paper, but it can also prove expensive. Save money and do your bit for the environment by sending out email invites instead, or create your own wedding website where guests can get all the details and RSVP in one place. There are loads of sites where you can create designs every bit as special as printed invites, and the benefit is that they won’t just end up in the bin afterwards. Gettingmarried.co.uk is just one example of a site that allows you to share details of your day, manage your guest list and even post photos afterwards, all for free.
Say yes to the (ethical) dress
To many brides, the wedding dress is one of the most important elements of their wedding day, but it can also prove one of the most damaging to the environment, when you consider the materials used, production and air miles they may travel just to be worn once. However, it is possible to be more eco-friendly and still get the dress of your dreams. A number of bridal designers are committed to being more ethical and using organic, sustainable materials, while sites like StillWhite and Preloved may help you to find a second hand gown or possibly a designer bargain from a fellow bride who no longer needs or wants it.
Use seasonal flowers
This is one element Princess Eugenie factored into her royal wedding, to stunning effect. Rob Van Helden decorated St George’s Chapel with seasonal foliage and flowering branches that created a breathtaking entrance for the couple’s visitors, and it’s an easy way couples can make their weddings more environmentally-friendly, too. Not only will it reduce the carbon footprint of flying in out-of-season blooms, but it will also save you money.
For a spring wedding tulips and daffodils are in season, while peonies, sunflowers and roses make beautiful additions to a summer wedding. Calla lilies and Dahlias are the perfect seasonal blooms for autumn, while a winter wedding can be decorated with berried ivy, jasmine and poinsettia. Beautiful and eco-friendly – win-win.
Eat local, seasonal produce
Just as you should consider using seasonal flowers, creating a menu using seasonal produce is another way to make your wedding more environmentally-friendly. This is something that both royal weddings in 2018 had in common – Prince Harry and Meghan were keen to showcase seasonal British ingredients on their wedding day in May, with elements such as a lemon and elderflower wedding cake and produce grown on the Queen’s estate.
Use local suppliers
It makes sense to use local suppliers for so many reasons, not just to reduce your carbon footprint and be more environmentally-friendly. You’ll cut down on travel and support local business in the process, what more could you want?
Avoid disposable cutlery and tableware
Even though many places are becoming more responsible when it comes to giving out plastic straws and cutlery, it’s definitely worth doing your research about your venue’s policy ahead of your big day, as waste from plastic cups and other disposable tableware could soon mount up between a wedding party. If you’re planning an al fresco teepee or marquee-style wedding consider hiring these items instead to reduce waste.
If your dream wedding décor requires you to splash out on numerous elaborate centerpieces and accessories that will be used once and never again, consider hiring them instead. This is another way you may be able to save money as well as saving waste. Sure, you may think they’ll make a nice souvenir from the day, but what are you really going to do with ten oversized candleabras or vases?
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