It might not be something you’ve even considered, but your wedding day is actually responsible for its very own carbon footprint. From energy usage and transportation emissions right through to wastage and rubbish after the day, there is always going to be an environmental impact left behind from any large event.
These days, it has become more important than ever to be consciously protecting our environment through the choices we make. Which is why we’re seeing a huge trend towards brides planning low-impact and eco-friendly weddings!
If you’re considering an eco-friendly wedding for your own big day, you’ll be happy to know that this doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your personal style and vision. It all comes down to those simple switches and substitutions that can really make a huge difference, and sometimes even save you money in the process.
Minimising the environmental footprint of your wedding has really never been easier, and we’re so glad that brides are now taking conscious steps towards protecting our beautiful planet. Take a look at 8 of our top tips for planning an eco-friendly wedding and our favourite “green” wedding ideas below!
Choose Local Suppliers
Have you already locked in your dream wedding venue? If so, the next step will be choosing your dream team to help bring your vision to life. When it comes to choosing your wedding vendors, try to find suppliers that are actually local to the area in order to reduce your carbon footprint.
There are a few obvious benefits to choosing your suppliers locally. First, they’ll be familiar with your venue already so will have invaluable insight and knowledge into the space. But choosing local suppliers also means less transportation to and from the venue, which helps to reduce carbon emissions.
With some suppliers needing to make several back-and-forth trips from your venue for meetings, set-up and packing down after the day, it just makes sense to eliminate travel time where you can. So start your vendor research with a local wedding directory online, or ask your venue for their top local recommendations!
Choose Seasonal Produce
Have you taken some time to think about your wedding menu, or the kind of florals you’d like in your bouquet? If you’re planning an eco-friendly wedding, consider this first: what’s actually going to be in season on your wedding date?
Choosing seasonal and locally-sourced produce is a great way to reduce the environmental impact of your wedding. The closer and more readily available your produce is, the less time it will spend being transported to your venue, reducing the need for preservatives and pesticides. It also means less time spent in refrigeration, helping to reduce the energy required to get these goods to your wedding!
If you’re working on a tight budget, the other perk about choosing produce seasonally is the savings. It’s always going to work out cheaper to be flexible with produce that is easily accessible during your chosen wedding season, rather than paying extra to ship items interstate.
It really helps to trust your vendors here. Ask your wedding caterer to suggest a seasonal menu, and chat with your florist about the flowers that are readily available on your wedding date. Chances are, working with seasonal produce will be their preference too!
Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle
When it comes to the styling and decor elements of your day, there are so many creative options to keep things as eco-friendly as possible! It’s all about being thoughtful with the materials you choose, and recycling items wherever you can.
Think about including natural materials like jute, organic cotton or recycled fabrics instead of the more synthetic options. For table centrepieces, why not recycle glass bottles for flower vases, or draw inspiration from the outdoors with shells, stone and driftwood?
If vintage is more your style, you can also score some great finds at local op-shops. Second-hand stores and even garage sales can be filled with treasures like vintage crockery, cutlery and glassware. Upcycling items wherever you can is friendlier on the earth (and cheaper!) than purchasing everything brand new.
Be Mindful or Paper Details
In order to plan an eco-friendly wedding, it’s important to be conscious of any paper details you’re incorporating into your day.
Many of your paper goods will become discarded after the wedding, so be mindful of this when deciding on your stationery options in order to reduce waste. There are so many biodegradable paper options now available, allowing you to opt for a “greener” solution rather than the traditional cardstock and confetti.
You could also choose to go completely paperless by making some clever substitutions. Instead of 150 individual menus or ceremony programs, consider using one oversized chalkboard or central sign to showcase these details in a more environmentally friendly way.
Or, instead of posting 150 save the date cards, invitations and envelopes, why not create a simple wedding website online for all of your guests to access? These kind of simple switches and paper alternatives can really help to minimise the environmental impact of your day.
Use Eco-Friendly Lighting Options
Lighting is going to be one of the most important elements of your wedding, being a key factor in creating ambience and atmosphere. But it can also drain a huge amount of energy, leaving a negative impact on our environment.
Instead of using standard halogen lights for your wedding, ask your lighting supplier to use LED lights as a more eco-friendly alternative. LED lights use less power than halogens, allowing you to lower the power consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. Or, for a really romantic look, fill your tables with soy-based candles for a beautiful and eco-friendly glow!
Planning a daytime wedding is another creative solution to cut down on energy usage. We’re seeing many brides turn to picnic-style weddings or long lunches that wrap up as the sun sets, eliminating the need for additional lighting.
Go Green with Guest Favours
Be honest – how many guest favours have you actually held onto from weddings you’ve attended in the past? If you’re currently wracking your brain, we’re not surprised. Guest favours are one of those elements that are commonly thrown out, misplaced or left behind – becoming wastage and landfill after the day.
So if you are opting to provide your guests with a token from your wedding, why not think about a more eco-friendly alternative that can actually contribute something to the environment!
Small potted plants or potted herbs are a super cute favour idea that guests can keep at home, along with packets of seedlings for them to grow from scratch. For a truly meaningful favour, you could even make a donation to an environmental-based charity on behalf of your guests. Now that’s a beautiful gesture that everybody can feel good about!
Minimise Guest Transport
If you know that guests will be driving to your wedding, encourage them to carpool where they can to cut down on the number of vehicles required. You can easily convey this to your guests via your wedding website, allowing them to make arrangements for ride-sharing. Fewer vehicles means less fuel and carbon emissions to get your guests from A to B!
Arranging your own transport for guests is another great idea to lessen the environmental impact of your day. Hiring a bus or coach to transfer your guests to and from your wedding location eliminates the need for additional transportation methods – and also gives them an opportunity to mingle and get acquainted!
Consider Your Guest Numbers
It goes without saying that the larger your wedding is, the larger the carbon footprint will be. If planning an eco-friendly wedding is a high priority for you, it might be worth keeping this in mind when it comes to creating your wedding guest list!
Instead of an all-out extravagant affair, consider opting for a more intimate and low-key wedding with just your nearest and dearest. This will have a huge impact on your carbon footprint by reducing the number of resources required both before, during and after the big day.
Along with reducing the environmental impact of your day, planning a smaller wedding will also reduce the overall costs involved, too. So if an intimate wedding or even an elopement feels right for you, don’t feel pressured by outside expectations. It’s completely your choice!
It’s Easy Being Green
With more and more brides becoming conscious of the environmental impact of their big day, it’s now easier than ever to make thoughtful and considerate choices during the wedding planning process.
An eco-friendly wedding is not only better for the environment, but also for your hip-pocket too. Whether it’s using eco-friendly materials for your wedding decor or sourcing produce and suppliers local to your venue, there are so many “green” options now available for brides to take advantage of without having to compromise on style or budget.
In order to minimise the carbon footprint of your wedding, all it takes is a little understanding and a few clever substitutions. And the best part is, you can feel comfortable knowing that you’ve taken steps to help preserve and sustain our beautiful earth. So simply keep the above tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to creating an eco-friendly wedding to be truly proud of!