Marriages last forever, and so should the planet...
If you’re still hoping to learn something new today, you’re in luck because we’ll bet a buck or two that you didn’t know planning a sustainable wedding could be simple. That’s usually due to the fact it’s overwhelming enough trying to bring your dream wedding to life, so throw a bit of “I want it to be a sustainable celebration too” and you’ll give yourself a pretty massive headache, right?
Whether you’re having a big, beautiful bash full of all the extras or you’re tying the knot in an intimate, forget-me-not fashion, there are so many simple tweaks you can make to ensure your big day is as kind to the planet as possible, which is something every bride and groom should care about.
As the polar ice caps melt, plastic pollution fills our oceans and the earth warms up quicker than a gas BBQ, it’s so important that we look at our lives and find ways to be more and more sustainable -- and getting hitched is no different. This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment that deserves to be as memorable as the first Disney film you ever watched, but it’s also a one-off event that can means loads of things are bought, booked and only used once, and that can suck for the planet.
Thankfully, there are ways to be an eco-hero too. From your engagement ring to the dress you say yes to, there are some seriously amazing sustainable alternatives out there, and these are our absolute favourites.
1. Hand-Me-Down Engagement Rings
We get it. There’s something incredibly special about sneaking off to a jeweller and handpicking a ring that will make the love of your life say “YES!”. But there’s something even more special about getting down on one knee, opening up that little leather box and proposing with a ring and a story. Take the author William Hunter Howell as a ruddy good example. He didn’t just propose with a ring, he proposed with the ring his late-dad had proposed to his Mum with, and that sentiment gave that ring so much more meaning than a newbie.
2. Fairtrade Wedding Rings
While we’re on the matter of rings, let’s chat wedding rings, and a little fact you may not know: producing a gold wedding ring can create up to twenty tonnes of waste? That’s a lot of waste, and why it’s super-important you consider a Fairtrade wedding ring. Yes, there is still waste involved, but Fairtrade does its best to counter this by providing mining communities with better living and working conditions, as well as protecting the environment. So make sure you ask your jeweller about the history of their precious metals and then check whether they come from one of the four certified mining organisations. You’re conscience will thank you for it.
3. Have A lovely Local Wedding
We love a destination wedding as much as the next gorgeous couple. Palm trees, exotic cocktails and white sandy beaches, what’s not to love? Well, huge amounts of CO2 emissions actually. That’s why you should move your wedding closer to home. Somewhere that doesn’t require air travel and road trips. Somewhere your guests can get to with ease. Somewhere that is accessible via public transport or, for extra points, by pedal power or foot. Of course, nowhere in Norfolk is accessible by foot alone, so what you can do instead is pop a little note on your wedding invites that say “free shots for ride sharers”. Not only will the planet smile, but your guests will get to know each other better before the party even kicks off.
4. Create A Planet-Pleasing Menu
Good food puts people in a good mood. But food that’s made from sustainable, organic, local and super-yummy produce will raise that bar even higher. And if you want to hit totally euphoric, check us out, we’re saving the world levels then all you have to do is ask your caterers to curate an entirely vegetarian or vegan menu -- or a partially vegan menu. After all, veganism (and sustainability) doesn’t have to be all or nothing, it just has to be all or something, like a vegan starter or a plant-based main. Now that’s how to do it.
5. Vintage Gowns & Zero Frowns
Just so you know, we’re not suggesting you stroll down the aisle rocking your auntie’s second-cousin’s wedding dress. But we are saying there’s some seriously stunning, outrageously stylish, totally one-of-a-kind wedding gowns out there, and they’re the ones that come with an extra dollop of sustainability. Less energy, less resources, less waste -- and if you’re worrying about what people will think, remind them that Carrie Bradshaw did it. Of course, if your dream dress is hanging untouched on a hanger, the best thing you can do is make sure it’s made by an ethical designer. Oh and make sure you choose a timeless style so that you can repurpose it and not do the whole “only wear it once” thing.
6. No Single-Use Decorations, Please
You can have a wow-factor wedding without saying yes to all that single-use mess, so do away with any ‘bin after first use: decorations, such as most confetti, which leaves the world covered in nasty plastic plastic litter that’s nigh impossible to clear up. But don’t despair because you can still make your church exit look so extra with some biodegradable confetti, recycled confetti or even dried flower petals. Mmmmmm. And don’t stop at the confetti. Use recycled glassware, create hanging ornaments out of old fabric, buy second-hand, repurposing things from your home, forget paper and write your programs and menus on chalkboards instead. They’re small changes that can make a massive difference.
7. Eco-Friendly Favors
If you’re looking for a super-easy, totally-awesome chance to encourage your guests to take your sustainable moves home with them, it’s time to get creative with your favors. It could be as simple as giving your guests little succulents for their home or some veggie seeds for them to grow their own grub. Or you could do something more forward thinking and make a small donation on behalf of your guests to someone that is going above and beyond to make the world a better place to live, whether that’s a charity or an organisation. You could even tie that into your wedding theme. For example, if you’re getting married by the sea, you could donate to someone like Surfers Against Sewage.