Princess Eugenie’s recent ‘anti-plastic’ nuptials brought to the fore a growing awareness of the waste that wedding days can produce. With media reports rising on the stark consequences of plastic disposal, fast fashion and intensive animal farming, couples are beginning to search for ways to ensure their day leaves a big impression on them, and the tiniest of indents on the planet. But where to begin? As it happens, you don’t actually have to get married in a dress made of hay and eat nothing but lentils (Unless that's you all over, in which case, go for it!), here I’ve put together a selection of easy ways to reduce the carbon-footprint of your big day whilst still keeping it fun and fresh.
We all know the basics when it comes to hosting an ethical wedding day: certified diamonds, traceable gold, even bio-degradable confetti is pretty much the norm now, but what next? Well, the explosion of vegan eating in the last year or so has played a big part, The Great British Bake Off just held their very first vegan round, so expect to see lots of vegan cakes, platters and full-blow dining experiences cropping up more regularly on the wedding scene.
However, if you’re counting your pennies as well as your carbon emissions then I’ve stumbled upon this gorgeous vegan cake from Unconventional Baker, which you could easily whip up in advance (while you're at it, why not task a few willing friends and relatives with creating a selection of vegan goodies for your cake table?)
The great thing about ethical weddings is that there are lots of little saves you can make, in areas that won’t see your budget spiralling out of control, here are just a few of them:
Go big on beer: Rather than buying hundreds of individual glass bottles, speak to your local wholesaler or brewery to find out if you can get your hands on a couple of steel kegs. As standard each keg will normally hold around 80 pints, so you certainly won’t run dry, plus you can then return the keg afterwards for a guilt-free good time!
Fob-off favours: One of the of biggest areas of waste at weddings normally occurs with the abandonment of favours; even the most beautifully chosen and thoughtful items often end up forgotten on tables once the dancing is in full swing. To show your guests you really care about them AND the planet they live on, why not get something a little different lined up? Many couples are in fact now opting to donate to a favourite charity, and some of the big-hitters will now provide you with complimentary mini-favours to show your guests who you've helped out in their honour. However, if you'd still like to offer up some fun there are lots of great and low-waste ways to go about it: Glitter bars are hot-to-trot, with companies just like Luxe Eco Glitter Bar offering a fully biodegradable service, as are prosecco-pimping stations and even group colouring canvases (for you to keep forever!) – have a look at my last blog post here for some more fabulous entertainment ideas.
Create a 'wedsite': Gone are the days when e-invites involved cringe-worthy cartoons and spammy ads, now you can create beautiful wedding websites for free with sites like withjoy.com; not only should these reduce the number of ‘what time is…’ questions from enthusiastic but forgetful guests, it also means you can send out paperless save the dates and invitations at the click of a button.
Use local suppliers: One of the biggest downfalls for DIY couples when it comes to their carbon footprint is the lure of cheap purchases from abroad (Ebay, I’m looking at you!) Sometimes there really is no way around it, but where you can, minimise the amount of items you are having flown-in by searching locally first (this is where Ebay actually redeems itself) and seeing what you can beg, borrow and steal from your nearest and dearest.
In keeping with this, there are some areas where you really don’t want to DIY (I make a pretty good case for that here!) so when you do want to use a supplier, make sure you are working with people who understand or even share your values. Most brides will opt for a professional make up artist on the morning of their wedding, so why not use one who only uses cruelty-free makeup? Similarly, if charging around bulk-buying flowers the day before you're set to say ‘I-do’ fills you with dread (and honestly, it should) then talk to a florist who is local to you about using home-grown flower varieties, as well as discussing plastic and foam-free display methods. You can find a great directory of places to buy home-grown flowers on the British Flowers Week site here.
Finally, if you haven’t already, then book yourself some time with a planner (hey, that’s me!) to discuss how you can best organise having a plastic-free wedding, and to give you some simple and budget-friendly ways to keep your day green. I know only too well the last-minute panic-buys that can result in an onslaught of packaging and plastic wrap, as well as knowing some exceptional, ethical suppliers, so check out my Dedicated DIY-er package here and give me a shout!
Love, Kate x
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