In a world increasingly conscious of its environmental impact, some couples are redefining the traditional wedding narrative by embracing sustainability into their big day. There are a lot of things to think about when planning a wedding;
to name a few, but what if we could include all these things, with minimal impact on the environment?
One of the first things that couples looking to plan their wedding do is visit potential venues to host the special day. It’s a big decision and a lot of couples are now opting for an outdoor wedding, such as in someone’s garden, or a barn that requires less decorations. Another option is choosing a local venue. This not only supports your local community but also reduces your carbon footprint associated with travel too.
Greener invitations are now becoming popular too, a few options are:
- Digital invites instead of paper;
- Simple phone call invites;
- Social media events;
- Dedicated wedding websites;
- Skipping “save the date” cards;
- Using recycled paper;
- Paper invites that include seeds that you can plant your invite in the ground and flowers will grow.
The bridal party outfits are very special and can often take a long time to choose as they’ve got to be perfect. Some brides are now opting to have their wedding gown made from eco-friendly fabrics. If sourced locally they would reduce the dresses carbon footprint too. Vintage and second-hand bridesmaid dresses are also becoming increasingly popular and in turn, reduce the demand for new dresses. The grooms party outfits are just as important, but a suit can be worn on more than one occasion, for instance, attending someone else’s wedding, a funeral, work, a party, or a formal event. Suits can be tailored to the event’s needs, by adding or removing a waistcoat, tie, bowtie, or coloured shirt. This means that you could have one suit and accessorise accordingly, reducing the need for purchasing and making multiple suits.
Giving Your Wedding Dress a New Life
It was a tradition for a long time that once you were married, you’d then go on to have a baby and your wedding dress was then cut up and used to create your baby’s christening outfit. This can still be done nowadays, or you can pass it onto a charity shop, or sell it online and someone else can wear it for their special day as let’s face it, most people only wear their wedding dress once then it lives in the loft or storage collecting dust, so it could have a new life and create more memories in future.
Flowers play a massive role in wedding celebrations, from the bridal bouquet, table arrangements, venue decorations and suit buttonholes. There has been a long-standing debate as to whether real flowers or artificial flowers are more environmentally friendly and there can be arguments for both. Real flowers are stunning, they smell amazing and are personalised to your day. Sourcing them locally can reduce their carbon footprint too and help support local businesses. Unfortunately, real flowers will perish and the memory of them will only be in photos. Some couples are incorporating potted plants or succulents into their day as these can last much longer. There is also an environmental cost associated with growing, farming and delivering real flowers. Artificial flowers are a great alternative as they can be sourced well in advance of the wedding date, they can be made from sustainable materials and they can be up-cycled and used again, you can keep them as a memory forever and they make a great decoration for your home.
Catering on your big day is very important and there’s so much to choose from and lots of hungry people to feed. Some couples are now choosing to select locally sourced, organic and seasonal menus to reduce their carbon footprint. Some are even choosing to go as far as having the whole menu as vegetarian or vegan, as a vegan diet is proven to be more ecofriendly than a meat-eating diet as referenced in a previous article.  Having your wedding later in the day can reduce the need for providing catering twice throughout the day.
Wedding Favours and Gifts
The most recent trend for replacing wedding favours is for the bride and groom to make a donation to a charity of their choice. In some instances you may then receive a little gift such as a badge or note to say thank you for supporting their charity. This is a great way to support charities and reduce your carbon footprint, as wedding favours are typically a little keepsake or chocolate – you could even choose eco-friendly, sustainably sourced chocolate too. Wedding gifts used to commonly be household items such as crockery or cutlery for the newly weds to use when they move into their new home together, but nowadays, most couples already live together by the time they get married, so already have most household items. Instead, people are now gifting money, plants, experience days or vouchers, which can be used and enjoyed in the future. Choosing gifts or wedding favours from eco-friendly causes or sustainable brands can help too.
Confetti has been thrown at weddings for as long as weddings have happened. This can be made out of many different materials, such as tissue paper or coloured paper. A more sustainable option would be to use dried flowers or dried leaves, which you can also make yourself by collecting leaves or flowers and drying them in a flower press.
Getting to the venue on time is very important. There are many ways that you could reduce your carbon footprint when deciding on transport to/from a wedding. If you’re the bride, you could travel in a car with your bridesmaids, your friends and family could car share, or you could hire a bus to pick up lots of people and then travel together to help reduce your carbon footprint. You could also use an electric car or hybrid to reduce this further.
Post Wedding Thoughts About the Environment
The day after the wedding, there is often a large clean up operation. From clearing uneaten food, confetti, cups and plates, and envelopes. A way to help your sustainability is to have recycling boxes, and recycle all paper, plastic, glass, cans and composting where available. Another great way to help the environment, is to document your sustainable wedding and share it for others to see and hopefully, they can get some ideas for their big day too.
Through thoughtful decisions in venue selection, invitations, attire, décor, food and more, couples are proving that saying “I do” can be a beautiful commitment to the planet as well.
About Pager Power
 Image of a bride with a bouquet. Image accessed from Pexels.com on 13/11/2023. Photo credit: Oleksandr P. Available at: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-wearing-wedding-gown-holding-bouquet-342257/