Southampton, UK

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How to Have a Sustainable Wedding

Do you believe now that a zero waste wedding is possible? I sure hope so! But don’t forget that a low-waste wedding might be good enough for your situation.

Every year, weddings seem to grow “bigger and better” with couples spending more and more money on their big day, inviting a larger number of guests, and just getting more and more extravagant.

Did you know that the average UK wedding produces a third of a metric tonne of solid waste and 14.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide. That’s a whole extra UK resident’s average carbon footprint for a year and a half, in one day.

Anyone who has ever been involved in planning a wedding will know that it can become a very wasteful experience — from the disposable decorations to the excess food; from the paper invites to the wedding favours. Not only is there a lot of waste created for one day, but all of these things add up to cost you a small (or large) fortune.

The goal is to recycle, reuse, compost and otherwise keep anything from becoming trash in a landfill. Whether or not couples succeed in reaching the Zero-Waste goal, “they’re certainly more conscious of the ecological impact of what they do, and are aiming for something as close to that as possible.

Why not do your pocket and the planet a favour by opting for a low waste wedding in-line with your lifestyle? I have collected some great ideas for you below.

1- Eco-friendly wedding venues

If you’re using caterers, talk to them beforehand about your plans to reduce rubbish and see if they can accommodate you by composting food scraps, saving leftovers, working with a charity that collects food waste and avoiding cling film, for example.

Hire furniture, linens, tableware and cloth napkins if the venue doesn’t have them. Choose cloth napkins, and authentic tableware, glassware and plates, rather than disposables.

2- Your wedding dress

Who says you have to purchase a brand new wedding dress? Consider a second-hand or vintage dress, or even a family heirloom! An alterations expert can work miracles with an older dress to make it more modern.

If the idea of wearing a second-hand wedding dress or outfit is simply not for you (that’s ok! You are perfectly allowed to have your own feelings about this) looking for brands with a sustainable fashion ethos.

3- Sustainable floral options

Think about it!

·* Choose locally grown, seasonal flowers, “certainly from a carbon-footprint perspective if not a waste perspective

· * To cut back on waste, make sure your florist isn’t using foam in centerpieces and other arrangements. “It’s one of those products that is non-biodegradable and is totally unnecessary

· * Are they shipped from abroad and could you opt for flowers sourced from a local farm or use ethically sourced wildflowers instead?

· * Could you use potted herbs, succulents, or other plants that can be re-planted after the wedding?

· * What about providing ways for your guests to take flowers home so they can be enjoyed for a week or two after your wedding day?

4- Eco-friendly wedding invitations

If you want actual invites, try using recycled paper that can be easily recycled again (no glitter!) or recycled wildflower seed paper that can be planted.

5- Food and beverage

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. Sourcing your alcohol from local wineries, distilleries and breweries is another great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Some questions to think of when planning an eco-friendly wedding.

Do we really need it?

Can we hire or borrow it?

What is it made from?

Where will it end up?

Being environmentally conscious is hard and can sometimes feel like a full-time job. If you’re clever, though, you may just find that choosing eco-friendly wedding items not only makes you feel good, and, contrary to what you might believe, it could help you to save some money too.

Weddings are not one-size-fits-all, so you can follow some or all of these suggestions — or come up with even more ideas of your own! Do your best, but don’t cause yourself extra wedding stress.

Contact me for eco-friendly wedding and event ideas,