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How to plan an eco-friendly wedding day that is elegant and environmentally friendly

Zoe Burke, a leading wedding expert and editor of Hitched shares her tips for a green day

Shot of a happy newlywed couple standing close together outside
Katie Daly
Lifestyle Writer
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When planning a wedding there are many factors to consider. Who will you invite? Where will you tie the knot? Have you found your dream dress? But have you considered the environmental impact of your day? 

It is becoming increasingly common for prospective brides and grooms to not only consider what the day will look and feel like, but what hosting a typically large group of family and friends will have on the environment. 

brides laughing signing marriage register© Getty
Factor sustainability into your wedding planning

Though a destination wedding is a style that you would traditionally associate with a carbon footprint, there are always ways to reduce the environmental impact of your UK-based wedding. We might not all know where to start in terms of creating a more eco-conscious day but luckily we have an expert on hand to give us the 411. 

Speaking with ethical jewellery brand Sacet, Zoe Burke, a leading wedding expert and editor of, tells us if you are factoring sustainability into your big day, you're not alone. 

smiling bride© Getty
Various aspects of your wedding day can be made sustainable from venue to dress

"Our latest National Wedding Survey has shown that couples are increasingly prioritising sustainability and eco-friendly elements for their weddings," the expert says. "A quarter of weddings last year included sustainable decor or eco-friendly elements, up from 19% the previous year." This demonstrates a growing awareness among couples regarding the long-term impact of their wedding choices." 


She says to start by choosing a venue that isn't going to be a long car drive or even a flight away from where you are based. "An important thing to consider is the location of the venue. A venue that’s far for you and your guests to travel to will ultimately result in your wedding having a higher carbon footprint, as more fuel will be required to transport you," Zoe tells us. 

A huge event tent covers long dining tables.© Getty
Go local and hire a marquee

"You'll want to find a venue with a track record of prioritising sustainability or which is sustainably accredited, as they will have access to sustainably focused suppliers who can make suggestions and support across everything from catering to decor."

Pared back leafy aisle © Getty
Pare back your decorations and embrace the beauty of the outdoors


On the subject of decor, it can be tempting to ship in all your table settings from cheap online sites. Though, of course, you work to your means in terms of budget when planning such an expensive occasion, Zoe says that hiring products can be a way to create execute a more eco-conscious day without breaking the bank, or leaving yourself with a load of place settings to store or throw away at the end of the day.

Lush floral garland with white roses hangs over the stylishly served white tables on the spacious terrace.© Getty
Hire place setting accessories to save money and the planet

"While renting certain things like venues and decor and entertainment is entirely normal, the number of additional elements newlyweds can hire or borrow these days, such as fashion and accessories, is growing by the day, the weddings editor explains. 

From raw cotton to cedar planks accessorised tables© Getty
Many venues will have place setting details that you can hire included in the price

There are so many great wedding businesses out there that hire out everything you can think of, from the tableware for your wedding breakfast to the decorations for your party. By hiring these items, you’re giving more life to something that might just be discarded if it was bought new for a single purpose, and you’re supporting small businesses, too. It’s a win-win!”

Location, location, location

When you are searching for a venue which has sustainable credentials, be careful not to go to far afield if you are committed to a green wedding. "Guest experience is the biggest factor for couples when wedding planning," Zoe notes. 

Rustic wedding ceremony venue© Getty
Opt for a venue that is close to home

"The majority of couples last year (68%) made sure that their big day was easy for guests to get to by choosing a destination no more than 30 miles away from their own base. With less distance to travel, you reduce the carbon footprint of guests travelling to and from the event. 

Rent your look

wedding dresses in dress shop© Getty
Go shopping in a second-hand dress shop

When it comes to the dress that most brides will only wear once, why not reduce the environmental impact of your dress? "Search volume for the term 'wedding dress hire' has grown by 50% since last year, and 'hire wedding dress' has grown by nearly a third (30%)," the expert tells us. 

bride fitting a wedding dress in a boutique© Getty
Find a pre-loved dress as a more eco-conscious choice

DISCOVER: 8 wedding dress rental websites to know about in 2024 - plus expert tips on the best rental websites 

"And it's not just the happy couple who are now able to rent their outfits, as you can rent just about anything you could need for the wedding party, too. From bridesmaids' dresses and accessories to bouquets, buttonholes and more. Renting really is the easiest way to make your wedding as sustainable as possible."

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