In Parts 1 & Part 2, we look at how to get help with the planning of a eco-friendly wedding. Let’s take a closer look at specific help you can get in the planning stages, as well as advice from experts.
Finding green wedding planners and suppliers
There are dedicated companies who work to ensure events are kept as green as possible. Here’s what you need to know when looking for and working with sustainable companies.
There are several wedding planners who specialise in providing a service for people looking to host a green wedding. They’ll take everything we’ve looked at into account, while also helping you to make sure your wedding falls within budget.
The Wedding Planning Institute currently offers a certified course for green weddings. While you shouldn’t look for this as a requirement when making a decision, it’s worth asking about it or an equivalent course.
From caterers to furnishers, you’ll want to work with companies who share your eco-friendly vision. Make sure to ask them questions like:
- Where do you source your products from?
- What sustainability standards and certificates do you have?
- Do you have an environmental management system in place?
- Do you have a recycling policy in place?
- What happens to any food/stock which isn’t used?
We’ve already looked at the kinds of venues which are able to host your special occasion. When it comes to choosing your location, you can use platforms like Venuefinder to narrow down your search.
You can specifically look for green venues, and even specify the type of event, the maximum capacity needed and the location. Always make sure to visit a potential wedding spot before making any decisions. Ask them if they’ve hosted a sustainable wedding in the past, and find out if any special measures need to be taken to accommodate this.
Budgeting advice for your sustainable wedding
Saving for any wedding can be a challenge. The Green Union provide a useful breakdown of roughly how much of your budget you should dedicate to each aspect of planning:
- 50% towards food, drink and reception
- 15% on your outfits and dress
- 10% on flowers
- 10% on photography
- 10% on entertainment
Think about setting yourself a cap for each area of your wedding. If you find yourself overspending in a certain area, consider how you could cut costs, while remaining sustainable.
For example: growing your own flowers, or renting a suit instead of having a new one made. There are always ways around needing to fork out a fortune, without compromising on quality.
Additional tips and advice
We’ve looked in detail at some of the steps you can take to perfect every aspect of your special day. Let’s take a closer look at some smaller fixes which will help reduce your impact on the environment that little bit further.
- Go vintage where you can: While not all vintage products were created with sustainability in mind, it’s better to repurpose them than letting them go to waste. Reuse vintage items of tableware, dress or decoration to cut out the need to have something new produced just for your big day.
- DIY where you can: In any circumstances where it’s logistically possible, think about creating something yourself. We’ve already looked at the obvious example of flowers. It might also be possible to create handmade decorations, tablecloths and invites (all from sustainable materials). Think about what you can do yourself, or ask others to help you out.
- Book a local photographer: Rather than asking someone to travel the breadth of the country to snap your big day, look for someone in the local area. It’s potentially a small touch, but it could make a difference when it comes to the wedding’s carbon footprint.
- Have a post-wedding recycle plan: Set up areas where guests can recycle during the event. Also think about having a detailed plan in place for what you’re going to do with anything that’s leftover at the end of the day.
Weddings to support green nonprofits
Speaking of recycling your leftovers, this provides a fantastic opportunity to gift anything which hasn’t been used to a food bank or charity. You could even ask people to make direct contributions to nonprofits on the day itself.
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can help support charities and other green organisations at your wedding:
- Gifts from your guests: Rather than asking for presents for you and your partner, instead consider how they can make a tangible difference to a worthy cause. Even if it’s just a cash donation, this is a great way to casually ask for donations en masse.
- Charity-owned venues: Some charities are fortunate enough to receive funds from their own venue. Assuming they promote sustainability, think about hiring one of these locations. This helps make what can sometimes be a steep fee feel less like a drain on your finances. You know the money is being used to help others.
- Make donations part of the reception: Whether it’s simply by posting donation boxes throughout the venue or having a cut of the bar takings go to charity, there are simple steps which can help you collect funds. Even a tip jar by the bar for loose change would make a difference.
- Decorate to promote a nonprofit: If a cause is particularly close to you, consider decorating with their branding in mind. This serves as a constant reminder to attendees, giving your chosen charity free promotion. Encourage guests to follow the charity on social channels, and use banners to show them where they can donate directly.
- Donate leftover food: Anything which hasn’t been eaten and won’t perish can be donated to a food bank. Talk to the venue about this beforehand. If you don’t, there’s a chance they might automatically throw the food away.
Other zero-waste tips and advice
We’ve taken an in-depth look at what you can do to make the planning and execution of your wedding as sustainable as possible. Here are some simple techniques you can adopt to take a greener approach in all aspects of life.
- Consider the merits of second-hand: We’ve already discussed the benefits of localised sourcing when it comes to mileage. But it also helps smaller farming communities to thrive. In the process, it increases the likelihood of others being able to get produce from their local community in the future.
- Think about packaging: Try to limit the amount of plastic packaging you’re using. In a lot of circumstances, you won’t have direct control over this. As such, think about making a conscious shopping choice based on how a brand chooses to store their products.
- Lightbulbs and LEDs: LEDs use a lot less energy than regular lightbulbs. If possible, think about replacing them where you can. They won’t burn as brightly, so you may need a few to account for the absence of the original bulb.
- Get food from a farmers’ market: What better way to support a local cause, while also ensuring you’re not having too much of an impact on the environment? What’s more, with a farmers’ market you know where your food is coming from, from soil to plate.
- Repair damaged items before replacing them: If something only has a mild tear or a small amount of damage, think about whether you could fix it before discarding it.
Planning an eco-friendly wedding isn’t easy. But if you follow the advice we’ve offered here, you’ll find it doesn’t have to be as much of a challenge as you may first suspect.
Based on article from, with permission: https://www.77diamonds.com/sustainable-weddings