Updated: Aug 11
So during this crazy time in our lives and world feeling like it has come to a halt due to global pandemic, it has really got me thinking.
Did you see the pictures of the clear waters in Venice and the dolphins? You almost felt like the air was cleaner. With everyone stopping, it was like a reset and reminder for us to look after our planet, as well as each other.
With all of that, it got me thinking about ways in which we can make weddings a little more sustainable and eco friendly.
Where can we reuse, borrow, recycle and be a little more conscious?
According to The Green Bride Guide : " the average wedding produces 400 lbs of waste and 63 tons of CO2. With an estimated 2.5 million weddings per year, that is about 1 billion lbs of rubbish and as many emissions as approximately 4 people would produce in a year, in just one single day. And those numbers are most likely on the rise when you look at what today's weddings look like." Crazy isn't it!
So let's jump in to ways you can make a difference with you day. Remember you are not expected to be a martyr, small changes make a difference. So do what you can and what works for you. Every little helps.
So when it comes down to the food, the things I would suggest remembering are, think sustainable, locally sourced produce and waste.
Have a conversation with your caterers. What type of food do they use. so will make sure that they have a certain mileage that they source their food. For example the Pig Hotel will only source fish and meat within a set radius, some of their vegetable are locally farmed and others are 0 miles as they are grown on site. So start that conversation.
The big one is to ask about waste. I'll be honest, the food waste at weddings can be a bit crazy. They will always ensure there is enough for your guests, but the big question is what will they do with the waste? If there are leftovers, does it go in the bin or do they take it somewhere? Is anything used to make compost, or given to local shelters. Some companies out there are really starting to think about these things and how they can make a change. So do some research and start the conversation.
When it comes to designing your tableware, have a think about how you can make things a little more eco friendly or sustainable.
A few years ago, I worked with the very talented photographer Mindy Coe, who is very eco conscious. We created a stunning shoot up in The Lake District, all based around an eco friendly celebration. I created a table decor using mosses to decorate the table, with added foraged and locally sourced flowers. I hung beetroot and cherries as part o the design and created an organic cotton table runner by dying it with blueberries. It was great, to really think about how we can be more conscious with our designs.
Other ideas you could do would be to use leaves for place names, small pot plants for favours, or seed paper in brown bags. Use dried flowers or plants in pots, that can be repurposed. Your candles can be soy or beeswax and less harmful to the environment. Even jam jars for vases, so that you are reusing.
You can get really creative when you start to get into it.
So again when it comes to flowers, think local and in season. Some florists even grow their own flowers, which is amazing because it has 0 miles to travel, which cuts down on CO2 emissions. speak to your florist about what is in season when you get married, what they would recommend and how it can fit your aesthetic.
Another option when it comes to your wedding flowers is using dried flowers, which is quite a growing trend right now. By using dried flowers, it means they have a long life span and can then be kept and reused after your wedding day.
Repurposing your flowers is also key and something I advise to all my couples. not only because it saves money, but it means less flowers being used. Moving flowers from your ceremony room, to your reception spaces means that they are reused, which is a win win!
What about plants? Using plants to decorate your wedding, means that these can then go on to live another life after your wedding. Whether you gift them to guests as favours to then plant. Give them as gifts to family, re home them or plant them yourself to remember your day.
Finally, if you are having confetti, use dried flower petals or dried flowers/leaves. It's natural, good for the environment and biodegradable.
Have you thought about travel on your wedding day? Are you having your ceremony in one location and your reception in another? Could you have both in the same location to cut the travel down from all the cars? If not could you organise a bus or coach from the ceremony to the reception, to cut down on extra vehicles?
When it comes down to your stationery, you could think about what you are printing on? Are you using recycled paper? Can you stationery have mutlipurposes? Can you combine as much information on to as little paper as possible? Don't feel like you need to have a huge overhaul, but small changes all play a role.
Hair and Makeup
When researching your hair and makeup artists, ask what products they use? Is the product vegan, is the packaging recycleblable? My favourite company is Arbonne at the moment. They have recycled plastic package and in fact are a B Corp organisation, which means they are trying to help the planet. It s definitely worth looking into what brands and companies are B Corp Certified!
Last but by no means least, your dress! On the shoot I mentioned above, we had the pleasure of using an incredible dress from Sanyukta Shrestha. The dress was in fact made from MILK!! I couldn't belive it when they told me. Its created using a war time method, where fibres are spun from sour milk. Lietally incredible right!
Obviously these are not quite so easy to come by. another option may be to epicycle your wedding dress, or even choose a second hand dress and give it a new love story!
My own wedding dress was in fact discovered in a second hand wedding dress store. It turns out it was in fact an ex sample dress. So with a few feature changes, I made it my own (with the help of a seamstress, as sadly my GCSE textiles skills did not travel far with me!)
So there you have it. A selection of ways to help make your wedding a little more eco friendly and sustainable. As I mentioned at the start, do not feel that once you embark on this adventure, that you must make every single change or feel overwhelmed when elements are so eco friendly. Small changes are still doing your bit!