Christmas, weddings and cake - three of the best things in life! From classic Christmas designs to rustic winter woodland creations and sparkling seasonal stunners, we bring you some of…
Written by Leanne Smith Last updated: October 19, 2014
Eco-friendly weddings are a growing trend amongst our modern brides. Environmental awareness is becoming a big part of life, and we’re seeing it more and more in weddings as well. And you can be environmentally friendly in all avenues of your wedding! So here is Part Two of our 10 Steps to Going Green.
Being eco-friendly doesn’t impact on your wedding at all. Simplicity may be the best route to success, and you may think that themes like woodland, rustic or garden may be the best fits, but any theme is possible whilst going green—classic, vintage, or even glamour. However, if you’re unsure, it’s a great idea to hire a wedding coordinator/planner who knows what they’re doing.
Lighting, or lack of it, sets the mood of a celebration, whether that’s romantic, vibrant, fun, or tranquil. The wedding lighting you want will depend heavily on your theme, but bear in mind that you still want everybody to see their plates.
For an eco-friendly wedding you’ll want to be mindful of the energy you use, like electricity. One big way of doing this is to have a daytime, outdoor wedding where you’ll be cut off from electricity altogether (unless you take a generator of some kind with you). But more than that, you’ll have a lot of natural daylight and therefore won’t need too much other lighting. Even if you’re indoors, natural daylight can work wonders. If you find that it’s dull inside your venue, however, use mirrors or other reflective surfaces to throw light around the room. Or opt for the popular energy-efficient bulbs where possible.
Above, clockwise from the top-left: Candelabra decorated with Acrylic Crystal Garland with Maple Leaf Prisms | Glass Globe Votive Holder with Reflective Lace Pattern and Bell Shaped Glass Tealight Holder | Blown Glass Votive Candle holder with Lamp Silhouette | Mini Lanterns with Hanger |
Come night time, fire is a common lighting choice. Candles and lanterns, apart from being a very romantic wedding decoration, are a beautiful and popular electrical-light alternative. And there are so many candle options nowadays, from clean-burning candles, refillable candles, and candles made from wax-alternatives like beeswax and soy wax, that they are a better eco-friendly lighting option than ever.
Paper lanterns, sparklers and fireworks are also great options, but here things get trickier—fireworks and paper lanterns in particular are very harmful to wildlife, and for a fire you may need to chop some wood if you don’t salvage it from naturally-fallen sticks, log, or trees. It’s a bit counter-productive.
So be creative with your lighting. You won’t be demonised for using electrical lighting, so do some mix and match with electrical and non-electricals. For example, use less to get more—use battery-powered tea lights in tote bags for cute lighting decorations that look magnificent outdoors, hanging from trees. Place clear bowls or bottles of water on a flat, bright light to give a luminescent effect. Use wood alternatives like fire glass, which retains heat instead of burning and releases no toxic chemicals.
As already mentioned, a big step in having an eco-friendly wedding is to be aware of your energy use. Wedding entertainment- and technology-wise, this can include hiring an acoustic band rather than a live band. But there are options like green power generators too. With these you can use a live band, disco or lights as normal.
Above, clockwise from the top-left: Diane and David’s Infinity Wedding - That’s Amore | Black, Ivory and a Splash of Red – Nora and David’s Real Wedding | Nightlights Disco
Heating is often given through electricity, so if you cut yourself off from electricity, for an outdoor wedding for example, you will have to find other ways of warming you and your guests up. Some tips include the before-mentioned fires, and for a real outdoor experience you could even heat stones over those fires to be placed around your outdoor venue.
Eco-friendly wedding food and catering is easier than many people seem to think, and can revolve around using local, seasonal, and organic food (caterers do sometimes have these as options, so ask them). It’s even better if your food is Fair Trade and free range.
If you do as much of the catering as you can yourself, you can control what ingredients you use and where you get them. For example, you could make your own wedding cake and decorate it with natural, edible ingredients. (But there are cake makers who you can ask to make your cake organically.)
Other ways to be eco-friendly in your wedding catering include incorporating food into your wedding table as a centrepiece which can then be given to your guests as wedding favours.
Fashion is an industry that, unfortunately, comes with a lot of waste, harmful chemicals, and abusive conditions to people, animals, and wildlife. So how do you negotiate this minefield when you’re aiming for an eco-friendly wedding? There are a few ways, not least if which is hiring the suits for the groom and groomsmen.
Firstly, if you’re buying a new wedding dress you should look for designers who use Fair Trade materials like hemp and cotton, or you could use a vintage wedding dress that one of your family has worn before you. Similarly, you could buy a dress that you can wear again.
Above, clockwise from the top: | Vintage wedding dress from Lucy and Stevie’s Real Wedding | Vintage bridesmaid dresses and wedding jewellery from Anna and Gavin’s Real Wedding | Vintage jewellery and accessories from Joanna and Tristan’s Romantic Country House Real Wedding
For bridesmaid dresses, look around for people who are selling their own dresses, or look in charity shops and at car boot sales. One of the big wedding trends is using the same colour and fabric for bridesmaid dresses but having different styles. So mix and match! You can even get creative with some DIY and make your own dresses.
Jewellery doesn’t have to be bought especially either. Recycled gold is popular nowadays and vintage jewellery looks magnificent. Plus, you can, again, go for some DIY. If you do intend on buying new jewellery though, look out for Fair Trade gems.
Similar to wedding fashion, wedding hair and beauty can be eco-friendly by looking at the source of the materials/ingredients. For wedding makeup, skincare, and haircare you should look for products that are not animal-tested and do not contain harmful chemicals. Things like creams and perfumes should contain natural ingredients, for this is not only good for the environment, but it’s good for you as well.