There's one thing you simply can't ignore about Weddings: they generate a LOT of waste. And though you might be excused to thinking it's only one day, when you consider how many weddings are happening every day, up and down the country and around the world, you start to realise actually how big an issue this is. We're seeing a huge increase in couples wanting to make better, eco choices for their day and having a "green" wedding is definitely the trend for 2019 and beyond.
There are lots of small ways for you to make your wedding more Environmentally friendly. Here's our favourites:
GO PLASTIC FREE
Gin Bottle Wedding Flowers, Image by Victoria Somerset Photography
I can see those of you scratching your heads as to where, exactly, plastic factors into a wedding. One of the biggest areas is within the floral arrangements. Many wedding florists use Oasis, also known as Floral Foam, in their table centrepiece designs. Oasis is used to form a water resevoir and to hold the flowers in a fixed arrangement. But Oasis is made of plastic that's not biodegradable and it has some hazardous components, namely: Formaldehyde, Carbon black, Proprietarty Acid Catalysts, Proprietarty Sulfactant and Barium Sulfate. Not only can it not be recycled, but once used it goes into landfills and doesn't break down for over 100 years.
So how can you avoid using floral foam? The answer is surprisingly simple: vases with water! You can reuse old glass bottles (if you're like me and go through Gin like it's water, it won't take long before you have a selection of beautiful Gin Bottles to use), or use a selection of old glass vases for a vintage feel.
THE WEDDING DRESS
As we know, a wedding dress is traditionally only worn once, and in a world where we're becoming more and more aware of the impact of fast fashion is having on our environment, the need for a more conscious approach to wedding fashion is much needed. But some boutiques, such as The Conscious Bride in Cheshire, are leading the way into change.
"We are passionate about artisans being paid fairly for their creations, supporting women, considering our environmental impact and making women look and feel naturally beautiful. We give a portion of our profits into projects that empower girls and women across the world and sustainable projects. We stock the luxurious and eco-friendly Sanyukta Shrestha, and we are the only NW stockist, free spirited and fair trade Celia Grace, and we are the only UK stockist, and boho beautiful gowns by Rembo Styling. We know the story of our gowns and look forward to sharing the story of your gown with you."
Sanyuka Shrestha supports sustainability, fair trade, women’s equality and an ethical workforce.
Celia Grace designs dresses and jumpsuits made from sustainable materials, such as bamboo & cambodian silks, which can be worn after your wedding day, giving them new life after your nuptials.
Rembo Styling has a stunning collection of bohemian dresses.
Most wedding planners will tell you that the wedding favours are the most talked about table item for Brides & Grooms, and yet often forgotten or un-noticed by the guests. So in truth, you could forgo these entirely and your guests wouldn't bat an eyelid. However, as a fan of the humble favour, I prefer the approach to make these wonderfully environmentally aware instead.
Succulent wedding favours, image by Joshua Zuckerman Photography
"Watch our love grow..."
Opting for a live succulent plant for each guest which can double up as their placecard is a wonderful, thoughtful and eco favour idea. These mini cacti can be taken home and kept as a long lasting reminder of your wedding, and those forgotten by guests and left at the venue can be gatehered up and made into a cacti/succulent garden for you to keep yourselves, so you can watch them grow and flourish alongside the years of your marriage.
The tossing of confetti is a beautiful moment, and though paper confetti does biodegrade very quickly, there are still ways to make this more eco-friendly.
PETALS & FLOWERS
Dried flower petals are another lovely way to avoid paper and add a pop of colour to your day.
Olive Leaves make a great green confetti shower, and the leaves fall beautifully in photographs.
Seed confetti, either bird feed or wild flower seeds which are popular for bees,
are an excellent way of making a positive environmental impact.
REDUCE THE CARBON FOOTPRINT
There are several ways to reduce your wedding's carbon footprint ( the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the wedding).
Image: Antony Turner Photography, Venue: A field in Burley, New Forest
The choice of venue is very important - opting for a location which can be easily accessed by public transport and requires the smallest distance to travel for most of your guests. Having a joint venue for the ceremony and reception would be even better.
If opting for two seperate venues of the ceremony and reception, it might be better to opt for a bus to transport all your guests together. Not only will this mean fewer cars travelling to and from each venue, but the journey becomes part of the wedding day experience.
Few couples consider how the Wedding Menu as a way to be more eco-friendly, but the food miles can easily add up. Choose a menu which utilises local food sources - fish or meat which is farmed locally or a speciality for the region - and opting for organically growth vegetables where possible.
As a wedding stationer, I am incredibly aware of how my business impacts the environment and so I have made steps to be as eco friendly as possible and reduce waste wherever possible. There are several options when it comes to the paper components of your wedding day:
All my envelopes use recycled paper, but most people associate recycled paper as being dull and with an unsightly texture. However, modern recycling techniques mean than recycled paper stock now is almost identical in colour and texture to non-recycled stock. However, it is only available as a smooth finish rather than the more decorative textured stocks.
FSC APPROVED PAPER
"FSC" paper is approved by the Forest Stewardship Council, who access whether the paper is not only renewable, but that they come from forests that are managed responsibly. A responsibly sourced forest guarantees that the trees that are harvested are replaced or allowed to regenerate naturally. Here at Vanilla Retro, ALL of our cardstock is FSC approved as we only use printers who print on this stock, such as Tintoretto Gesso, our most popular paper choice.
Seed paper is handmade paper with flower seeds embedded into the mulch. It can be printed onto for your invitations (though a light ink design is recommended) and then planted outside for a patch of wild flowers to later bloom.
AVOID FOIL, GLOSS & LAMINATION
Though we have seen a trend in recent years to add foil to wedding stationery, this unfortunately often makes the invitation un-recyclable. Though some foils can be recycled, many UK councils do not have the recycling facilities to accept paper which has been foiled, laminated or glossed. To ensure your invitations, envelopes and all the paper from your day can be recycled, it is best to avoid these finishes entirely.
SUSTAINABLE PAPER ALTERNATIVES
Some might opt to avoid paper altogether, and though a daunting idea an first, this can be easily achieved:
Opt for digital or e-invites
Have a wedding website for all your wedding details and rsvp information.
Use a mirror or chalboard for your seating plan (many stationerys, myself included, will hand calligrapher onto a mirror or board for you)
Opt for non-paper placenames, such as pebbles or shells with guests names calligraphered onto them.
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If you have a great suggestion for making a wedding more environmentally friendly
and would like adding to the article, drop me a message here