Our planet is fragile. And the decisions we are now making as a global population on plastic consumption, clean energy and other recycling initiatives will impact generations to come. You may think that a wedding plays only a small part, but there are so many ways you can work towards having a more eco-friendly wedding.
After all, every step along the way counts, no matter how big or small. And so, we spoke to some of our favourite suppliers about some of the ways you can be more conscious on your wedding day…
Support Small & Local
Important in so many ways, shopping small and local is one of the main ways you can be more conscious in the run up to your wedding; a point which Ellie from Rose & Dandy is keen to raise. Indeed, mass-produced items have a greater propensity for manufacturing errors (and wastage) and you can’t always guarantee that what you are buying is ethically produced.
Shopping small and local lends itself to a more personal product and you can, nine times out of ten, get to know the person who is crafting your product; whether it be on social media or face to face.
Hand in hand with this is buying second-hand or even renting your decor. There are so many amazing event stylists and decor/furniture hire companies out there who have huge catalogues of items they can utilise to furnish and style your big day. Anthology Vintage Hire based in Essex UK, for example, are committed to up-cycling, recycling and breathing new life into old furniture. Amy and her team have hundreds of vintage chairs, beautiful old furniture (sofas, dressers, suitcases) and trestle tables, coffee tables and bars hand-made with reclaimed wood by her husband and father.
Rows of Anthology’s tables and chairs…beautiful. Photography: Kelsie Low
And if you do buy new, the girls from Bixby + Pine recommend that you only buy items that you can use again; either by yourselves at home/in your garden, or sell on to other brides or hire companies.
Recyclable planters for a Bixby + Pine wedding. Photography: Tonie Christine
You may have thought that flowers were simple. They can be thrown away and they will decompose. But there are so many layers with flowers. And it all starts with choosing the right florist.
Kim from Borrowed & Blue Events is super passionate about flower waste, and again, it’s all about shopping small and local. And even better if your florist grows all or at least some of their own blooms; focusing on homegrown flowers and working to a seasonal pattern in growing and cutting. Having an appreciation for indigenous flowers and seasonal availability is key; your florist can help you understand what is available, and sustainable, for the time of year your wedding falls.
And say no to florist foam; it doesn’t decompose! Floral foam is an open cell plastic and many hazardous substances including formaldehyde smoke, phenol, carbon oxides cresols, xylenols, and sulfur dioxide. For humans, it may irritate the eyes, skin and respiratory tract…so imagine what it can do to wildlife. Most good florists will be trained in using other materials to create bouquets and other pieces for your wedding, so ensure you ask.
After your big day…donate your flowers so that someone else can enjoy them. Whether it be to a family or friend, or even to a local cafe or old peoples home. Flowers can last a good amount of time when treated properly, so don’t just bin them the morning after.
When it comes to tableware, most styling/decor companies will hire all your tableware to you. Or if you prefer, you could collect mismatched items from local charity shops. Or, if you don’t want to use/hire ceramic/wooden/metal tableware, then utilise compostable plates, utensils and cups instead. Don’t choose plastic alternatives.
When it comes to your invitations and other stationery, ensure you are using a small stationer who understands their supply chain, rather than using a mass produced outlet like Papier. Ask for their credentials…if they are focused on reducing waste, they’d be happy to tell you. For foiled stationery, be careful who you book with as not all foiled or metallic paper products can be recycled. The Golden Letter is a great example of a stationery studio who is focused on being as eco-friendly as possible – she utilises one of the only producers of recyclable foil available and uses a honeycomb packing system for all her invitations.
Stationery by The Golden Letter
As Ixchel Weddings explains, using small diamanté embellishments can further contribute to waste…those little blighters are made of plastic and as such, don’t decompose…and they are likely to be a choking hazard for small animals.
When it comes to papers, most are recyclable aside from some glitter card varieties, as they have a plastic substrate fixed to them to eliminate shedding. Even though they are more expensive opposed to normal envelopes and papers, seedable alternatives are beautiful and of course, decompose leaving pretty flowers in their place.
Some fast fire tips:
- No battery powered tealights – why? Because of their little batteries…easily ingestible and as they have a higher voltage than some other batteries, they can cause severe burns in the esophagus if swallowed! – Rose & Dandy
- When it comes to transport, if you are only a short walk from where you are getting ready to where you are getting married, walk. Save that five minute drive. And if it’s within your budget, hire a bus for your guests to go between venues/at the end of the day…it will save multiple cars on the road and eliminates drink driving risks! – Wed in The Wild
- Don’t waste money on favours that people wont use or forget about! We can’t count the amount of times that we’ve seen people leave favours which have been painstakingly made or sourced. – Ixchel Weddings
- Print/write your table plan and welcome sign on the same board – front and back. That way, you simply have to flip the board around when it comes to the wedding breakfast! – Wonderland Invites
- If you aren’t hiring your bridal party attire, ensure that your guys and gals feel their best in a dress/suit/outfit which they can wear again and again, even if they need altering after the wedding to be more suitable for other occasions. Not only will it reduce garment waste, but your bridal party will thank you if they love what they are wearing! – Wed in The Wild