So you’re getting married. Cue flipping (ahem, scrolling) through tons of wedding glossies and Pinterest to piece together the puzzle that is your dream wedding. Besides saying yes to your favourite lover, there’s only one other thing you’re absolutely certain of – there is no way you’re going to allow your special day to blow-up your carbon footprint (unnecessarily).
But, does opting to protect the environment really mean having to go down the the low-key and casual route?
Here are our best tips for a luxury yet eco-conscious do:
A destination wedding means air travel, and a remote location means car travel. We’re definitely down for getting married wherever you want, but since we don’t (yet) have the ability to blink ourselves around the world, it’s a good idea to take a look at the venue and choose a site that takes sustainability seriously.
Consider locations that use solar energy, and host your ceremony and reception in one place so no one will have to travel to get from one event to the next. Don’t be afraid to ask questions such as: What is your plastic policy? How do you dispose of waste?
Or go the outdoor route: having your wedding at a national park or on a beach typically includes fees for conservation or cleanup efforts. Besides, an outdoor space takes advantage of natural lighting—hello, sunshine—and comes with a spectacular backdrop! Or, you could choose a space with “built-in” decor that already fits into your wedding aesthetic to cut down on decorations.
Already have all the plates and cutlery you need? Register for part of your honeymoon instead of traditional gifts. Or, if you’re just starting your home, ask your guests to look for items that support your environmentally conscious lifestyle: stainless steel straws, organic bedding, cloth shopping bags, natural kitchen and bath products, and more. There’s an eco-friendly option for just about everything you might normally think to register for. Who knows, they may even be inspired to make better choices too.
Consider nixing material gifts altogether and let your guests donate to a charity close to your heart instead. Bonus points for being tax deductible!
Sure, going digital is pretty easy nowadays, but there’s just something special about a physical save-the-date, or invitation, or program, or menu, or thank-you card. Instead of printing everything, limit yourself (if you can) to just one gorgeous paper element—we suggest the invitation, and add a hashtag, or a website link where guests can log on for directions and more information.
Ask your printer to use recycled paper, or use alternative materials such as up-cycled fabrics, or wood. There are also companies that give back to the environment by planting a tree with every order, or our personal favourite, print upon seed paper! This is a biodegradable material that sprouts into veggie, herb, or wildflower when planted in a pot of soil and watered regularly.
Flowers and Decor
For your bouquet, go in-season and local, or where possible, have your florist provide living plants instead. And when you’re done, you can consider composting, gifting them as favours (or to the sweet serving staff who ran your day without a hitch), or donate your flowers to a hospice or children’s shelter to brighten someone else’s day.
Probably skip the balloons and sky lanterns, and choose potted plants, blooms, and topiaries as the centrepieces instead. Orchids, herbs, and even trees, can be brought home so you’ll always—hey, green thumbs—have a piece of your wedding with you.
And where possible, use items that can be reused, or donated, or rented. You really don’t need to buy items like a wedding arch, table linen, wedding china, glassware, cutlery, and furniture for your wedding vibe to be on point.
Going vegan would dramatically reduce your environmental impact for sure, but even aiming for a menu that’s more focused on locally sourced farm-to-table plant-based options would do the trick too. When considering beverages, don’t go for single-serve bottles. Or source your wine, liquor, and beers from companies that give back. The closer to home you source your ingredients, the smaller your carbon footprint.
More importantly though, is what happens with the leftovers? Opt for plated dinners or save the excess food for the after party.
Double up your centrepieces or place cards as favours. Plantable favours like potted saplings, herbs, or succulents are widely popular, or if your guests are travelling, choose biodegradable seed packets. Better yet, go edible! No one ever turns down the munchies and you can source locally to support the regional economy: signature coffee beans, chocolate bars, or even fresh fruit if you’re at an exotic destination—ever heard of snake fruit?
Or, give to charity in your guests’ names! Put up an elegant sign to welcome guests and let them know you’ve made a donation in lieu of favours, or pick a few favourites and let them choose which organisation they would like you to donate to on their behalf.
At the end of the day, cut yourself some slack. It’s your wedding day, and the very fact that you’re attempting to make conscious choices means you’re on the right track.