Weddings That Don't Cost the Earth
The biggest party of your life: your wedding day! And whilst it will leave a big, joyous impact on you and those around you, it can leave a not-so happy impact on the planet. But, things are changing! It is becoming ever easier to have a gorgeous, low-impact day without compromising your dream wedding. Here's a small list to help you get started on planning your perfect ceremony that Sir David Attenborough would approve of.
Have an initial brainstorm
There's a few simple basics that can help get you on your way to a sustainable celebration.
Firstly, shop local! There will undoubtedly be small, local businesses near you that can supply you with your wedding day dreams, and using these businesses will always have a smaller global impact. Plus, when you buy from a small business, I know you'll be making someone's day! It's also worth looking a bit in to what is important to each company. For example, some suppliers have the environmental impact of their business at the front of their mind at all times, whereas others may not think twice about it. I'll be mentioning a few of the good guys in this post. (Wink wink, Bohemia Beauty uses all cruelty free products!)
The second easy way to reduce the environmental impact of your wedding is to consider the plastics. The little glittery things may look magic on the table, but they will be glittering away in landfill or our oceans forever. For example, plastic confetti will take over 1000 years to break down! An easy and beautiful alternative is dried leaves or flowers. In Autumn time, a hole punch
and a pile of leaves can make a stylish, sustainable alternative. If crafting isn't your thing, companies such as EcoBride sell dried petal confetti in a variety of colours at a reasonable price. They look so pretty, and are planet-positive!
Making small steps like these is awesome, and they truly do make a difference, but we can do better than that here!
Ask a like-minded professional
One way to be certain that you're making good choices is to hire a planner that has done all the research for you. Gemma from West Country Wedding Planner got in touch with me to tell me about how they've put being an eco-friendly business at the top of their agenda.
They are a team of planners with 15 years experience, and also offer decorations with the Bold and Beautiful wedding company. A part of their planning experience includes having a wedding website all set up for you! Not only is this an easier and more modern way for guests to RSVP to your wedding, is also saves a lot of paper from being used and wasted. In fact, they don't print anything in their office, but instead use apps and online tools. The trees thank you, ladies! They've also made a real effort to reduce plastic use in the day-to-day running of the business, such as using reusable linen bags for dry cleaning rather than individual plastic ones. You can be assured that they are truly a company that care, even behind closed doors. They will put you in touch with the right people to provide you with biodegradable options for disposables, taking all of the research hassle out of your planning, and also talk through how things can be recycled after the big day.
Gemma comes from a family of eco-warriors and has always been environmentally conscious, so it was only natural for her business to reflect this. She recognises that businesses need to be responsible as they can make the biggest environmental impact and make the biggest changes. She quite rightly told me:
If everyone does their bit we can make big things happen!
Hiring Over Buying
Aside from making things yourself, hiring/renting is the ultimate way to make sure everything at your wedding is re-used and re-used until it cannot be used any more. That chalkboard sign IS totally gorgeous, but what will you do with it once the day is over? For example, an average 6 hour wedding with 100-120 people can produce 400-600lbs of waste! A Wooden Touch take this to the next level with their hire-able decorations, all handmade from recycled wooden pallets.
The business is run by Rhian and Nathan from Weston Super-Mare, and began with the parent business Palette2Product. The couples' designs really capture the essence of a modern-rustic wedding, and still look fabulous whilst being handmade sustainably. An extra benefit of buying handmade items is that you know they have been created with love by someone who really cares, and so you are guaranteed a high-quality product; it's a real win-win. Plus, if you truly feel like keeping one of their pieces, you can always commission one exactly how you'd like it! Win-win-win, if you ask me.
The same can be said for hiring wedding dresses and suits as opposed to buying them. I fully understand that this is a harder decision to make, but if you think that you'll wear your wedding dress once and then never look at it again, it might be an option to consider. I was once under the impression that wedding dresses in charity shops were a bit of a bad omen and to be avoided. But I was met with a real pleasant surprise when I actually inspected the rails- many of them are new! Yep, tags still on and brand new, some for as low as £30. Not only is this an environmental success, but it's an even bigger financial success! With all the extra cash in your dress budget, you could rock a completely custom gown made for you at a fraction of the cost. Plus, I can tell you first hand that it's SUPER fun waltzing around in the charity shop in wedding and bridesmaids dresses, with the kind volunteers telling you how fabulous you look!
For many, the wedding day is a no-compromise zone, and you want to buy the best you can. If you're an eco-warrior-bride-to-be, but you're not a fan of a rustic/bohemian style wedding, then Paper Petals is for you.
Mandy Merritt, founder of the company and all-round clever lady, has been handcrafting paper flowers and decorations for a long while, but recently became more conscious of where all of this paper might be ending up. A documentary about how plastic is harming our oceans inspired Mandy to change her medium, and she has since created bouquets and decorations out of old plastic bottles! The styles are white and elegant, and a perfect way to add a modern twist to a traditional wedding. Mandy loves what she does, and says she hopes she's helping just a little. (Psst, Mandy, you're helping a lot!)
Because the plastic is designed to be durable anyway, they're a gorgeous wedding memento that you can hang on to forever, even pass down through generations. Paper Petals encompasses the message of sustainability perfectly: plastic is not the enemy, single use plastic is! By switching from purchasing a new material to reusing one she already has, Mandy is real recycling royalty.
There's a lot to think about here, and this blog is just the tip if the iceberg. I hope I've helped you see that it's easy and affordable to make sustainable choices when planning your big day. It's not about a few people living a zero-waste lifestyle perfectly, but it's everyone doing the best that they can that will make the difference.
So, good luck, go hug a tree, and get planning, you eco-warrior babe!