So why should you go green? The impact of the wedding industry is undeniable. There are almost 28 thousand weddings every year in the United Kingdom alone. When you consider that the average wedding creates 14 tons of carbon dioxide, they add up to a lot of waste! Luckily for the modern bride, going green is easier than ever before.
Small eco-friendly choices can decrease your wedding’s impact on the environment without sacrificing style or elegance and can save you money, too. With the average wedding cost hovering around £24,000, the potential to save up to 40 per cent by going green is another incentive to make eco-friendly choices.
Whether you pick just one or two green options, go for an entirely eco-friendly affair or land somewhere in the middle, you’ll be making a difference for the earth and increasing the joy of your day.
Start With the Right Suppliers
Choosing the right vendors is a key component of a green wedding and a great place to start your planning. But how do you know which vendors to trust when so many are greenwashing? Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions, finding vendors who share your values and beliefs is essential to pulling off a successful green event.
Find an Eco-Friendly Location
More than half of the total cost of a wedding can be spent on the reception alone, and choosing an environmentally friendly venue can have a significant impact on the carbon footprint of your celebration. Some venues are dedicated eco-friendly to take care of things.
Consider holding your ceremony and reception at the same location, which will eliminate the need to provide transportation between locations and will cut your costs. If you can’t avoid have two locations, consider renting an alternative-energy bus or some other form of group transportation to reduce the overall emissions.
Consider the source of your rings
Your engagement ring and wedding bands symbolize your love for each other, but much of today’s jewellery, beautiful though it may be, has a violent and environmentally destructive past.
Metal mining is a filthy, dangerous business that creates tons of mining waste and releases toxic metals into the environment. Diamond and gemstone mining can fuel civil war and is sometimes done by enslaved children. According to Amnesty International, the sale of “blood diamonds” has contributed to 3.7 million deaths in Angola, Sierra Leone and the Congo.
Check out companies that specialize in custom fair-trade and ethically produced gold, silver, platinum and diamond jewellery. Some jewellers offer gorgeous modern designs in bridal jewellery made from recycled gold and ethically mined or lab grown diamonds and gemstones.
The best option by far, though, is to purchase an antique ring, which decreases the demand for newly mined metals and gems. A family heirloom is a wonderful option because it is eco-friendly and has special meaning.
Cut Down on Paper
Invitations set the tone for your wedding. Unfortunately, traditional papermaking creates a large amount of waste and uses harsh chemicals. Beautiful and chic invitations can be found through companies that use recycled and postconsumer wastepaper, tree-free paper or biodegradable materials.
Some eco-friendly paper companies offer a one-piece option for the invitation. This style has a tear-off RSVP card, reducing the amount of paper needed. Using a Web site to post-event details further reduces the amount of paper used and saves you money!
Go Local and Seasonal
Perhaps the simplest green option is choosing local and seasonal food and flowers. Choosing a caterer that serves local, seasonal foods has a huge impact on the carbon footprint of your wedding.
Even better, your meal will taste fresher and will be more delicious. You can also serve local beer, wine and other beverages. The same goes for your flowers — local, seasonal blooms don’t have to be kept fresh as they travel hundreds of miles to get to you.
Rethink the Wedding Dress
Contrary to popular opinion, a wedding gown can be elegant and beautifully made and still environmentally friendly and cost-effective. Most wedding gowns are single-use dresses made from heavily pesticide cotton dipped in bleach and other toxic chemicals, but there are several greener options for the eco-chic bride to consider.
Incorporate Personal, Eco-Friendly Touches
Recycled or repurposed items and do-it-yourself projects add a unique and irreplaceable quality to each wedding — and save money. Scour consignment stores for vintage items such as mason jars or vases to repurpose as centrepieces.
Embellish small pieces of wood found outdoors to create name holders or handmade signs to add to the decor. You could also personalize photo frames you already own and decorate your wedding venue with photos of your courtship.
For bridesmaids’ gifts, you could craft satchels or purses with leftover material such as tablecloths or vintage fabrics. For sentimental value, add special details, like flower petals that were used during the ceremony.
Memories of your wedding day will last a lifetime, so it’s important to have a photographer you trust to document every aspect of your big day. Digital photography is becoming the most popular option at big events and is a paperless and chemical-free option.
Green photographers go digital and beyond by posting proofs online; using rechargeable batteries, non-toxic inks and 100 per cent postconsumer wastepaper; and by employing environmentally friendly general business practices in their offices. Ask photographers you are interviewing which of these eco-strategies they use.
The wedding gift registry often presents a challenge to eco-friendly brides. Some feel compelled to add things to their registry even if they don’t need them. If you do choose to register, consider doing so with local eco-friendly organizations that can help educate your guests on the benefits of going green.
You’ll also be supporting local green companies. An alternative registry is an especially good option for a couple that already has basic household goods. In place of wedding gifts, donations can be made from each guest to a charity of your choice. Here are some great Ethical wedding gifts ideas.
Rethink your Favours Ideas
How often have you brought home a useless trinket from a wedding? Eventually, most of these items end up in the trash, so keep this in mind when you decide on your wedding favours.
Gift your guests with something that will grace their homes as a reminder of your day, such as a potted plant or a tree sapling. Edible favours like chocolates or homemade jam are a sweet reminder of your special day. Another wonderful favour alternative is a donation to your favourite charity, made in honour of your wedding guests.
Whether you incorporate a few earth-friendly elements or you decide to make your wedding as eco-friendly as possible, remember that every green choice makes a difference. More than 2.5 million small, eco-friendly choices in a year could add up to a big impact! Your beautiful and sustainable wedding will be the perfect start to your beautiful and sustainable marriage.