It’s never been more important to make eco friendly and sustainable choices in life, especially when planning a wedding. We’ve put together a guide to help you plan an eco-friendly wedding – from simple little swaps to big changes, here are somethings you can do to make sure your wedding is environmentally friendly.
Borrowing a Wedding Dress
“Second hand or vintage wedding dresses are a great eco and budget friendly option,” says Jenny McCarthy of Frock Goddess, a sustainable wedding dress shop.
If you want a wedding dress with no impact on the environment, you could make it your ‘something borrowed’: “How about asking a friend or family member who is already married if you can wear their dress? Not only is this a sustainable option; but there is something magical about wearing a dress that has previously been worn by someone close to you,” Jenny explains.
This option is becoming increasingly popular, particularly after Princess Beatrice chose to wear one of the Queen’s vintage dresses as her wedding dress.
If you can’t borrow one, why not look at buying a second hand one or hiring a wedding dress?
Upcycling a Second-Hand Wedding Dress
You might not be able to find the kind of dress you love second hand, but don’t panic! There are options. “If you can’t find exactly what you want buying pre-loved then upcycling a previously worn dress is another great option,” says Jenny.
Why not contact a local seamstress to see if they can alter your dress for you? “You could try buying a second-hand dress which is too big for you and with plenty of fabric (vintage 80s dresses are perfect for this) and ask your seamstress to create a dress from this fabric!” Jenny suggests
There are also options for those who want a new wedding dress, but want to make sure their choice is good for the environment. See our guide to buying an eco-friendly wedding dress here.
Using Seed or Recycled Paper
“Use recycled card or biodegradable paper for your stationery,” suggests luxury event planner Alice Wilkes, of ARW. “Seed paper is a great alternative – this will allow your guests to plant your invitation in the ground afterwards, and grow flowers to remind them of your special day.”
Ditch the Floral Foam
Try to avoid using oasis in your floral arrangements as it’s bad for the environment – ask your florist what your alternatives could be. Alice also has a handy tip for making your wedding flowers less wasteful: “Look into gifting your florals at the end of the day to your guests as a thank you – it will cut down on waste as your arrangements will be appreciated for much longer.
“There’s also a charity called Floral Angels – they reuse flowers from events and deliver them to hospices, elders and others in the community.”
It’s also worth looking into dried flowers, which you can keep forever, or asking your florist about which flowers are in season in the UK for your wedding, so you don’t have to import them from abroad.
Read more: How to preserve your wedding flowers
Hire Your Décor
You can bring your wedding to life by hiring readymade products rather than buying and discarding items, or even building your own. Hiring also helps support small businesses! “Look at using responsibly sourced materials such as wood instead of acrylic – this will create a look that is both luxurious and sustainable,” explains Alice.
Go for Local Produce
Even your catering choices can have an impact on the environment, reveals Alice: “If you can, champion British, seasonally-sourced produce where possible. Always speak to your caterer before the wedding about how you can tackle food waste. You could even offer food not used to staff to take home.”
Read more: Our favourite unusual wedding catering ideas
Consider Your Confetti
Dried petals are a great eco-friendly alternative to other forms of confetti, such as paper or foil. Dried petals are biodegradable and look beautiful in your wedding photos.
“Always check with your venue before ordering confetti,” says Debbie of Petals de Provence. “Biodegradable petals mean no clearing up for your venue. They also look beautiful scattered on tables instead of plastic table décor, and look great sprinkled down the aisle too.”
Plant a Tree
Why not plant a tree together as part of an eco-friendly, alternative unity ceremony? This will then become a living, lasting testament to your love. You could also pledge to plant a number of trees instead of favours for your guests.
For more green wedding ideas, make sure you check out the eco-friendly episode of the Confetti podcast!