Tips for a greener wedding

From the moment you send your wedding invitations, you can make choices to make your wedding more environmentally-friendly. 'Why is this important?' you may think. Surely it’s just one event, so how much damage can one day cause? With more and more people making a conscious effort to be greener in their everyday life, one of the most important events of your life doesn’t have to be different. Think of all the paper used, the travel involved, the food miles and the material? It all adds up. However, making green decisions doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. With a few simple swaps, you could make the world of difference.

1. Invitations

In our digital world, some couples opt for email invitations, which would give a huge green tick! However, we appreciate that for most people, paper invitations are still seen as the proper way to do things, so choose plantable paper for your invites. Once used, they can be planted in the garden to bloom wildflowers and/or use recycled paper. Ask guests to RSVP via text or email instead of them having to buy RSVP cards.

2. Wedding dress and suits

The recent trend for vintage is doing wonders for the environment. Find your perfect vintage dress online in specialist wedding ‘preloved’ shops or buy second hand modern items - you’ll saved hundreds if not thousands. For suits, rent or get the groomsmen to wear their own suits. It can add such individuality to the day.

3. Venue

Choose a venue that cares about its environmental impact. Do they use eco cleaning products? Do they care about low food miles? Do they give to charity or encourage environmental travel options? At Folly Farm Centre, we are not only an environmentally sustainable venue in terms of our eco features but all the profits from weddings are gift-aided to our local wildlife charity, Avon Wildlife Trust, which cares for 37 nature reserves, including the reserve in which the venue is located. All good stuff!

4. Food

If you’re lucky enough to be able to grow your own, then use your own produce! I appreciate this won’t be many but if not, choose a caterer that cares. Do they use Fairtrade products to ensure that the food you will eat on your wedding day is helping the producers in the developing world? Do they use ‘ugly’ vegetables? You know, the knobbly carrots that some caterers throw away because they aren't quite perfect. There are an increasing number of caterers that are offering green alternatives, including Fareshare, which uses food ‘thrown away’ by the food industry.

5. Flowers

Some brides are opting for non-flower bouquets, with crafty brides often opting for bouquets made of vintage buttons. For those of you wanting the real deal, then opt for flowers that are in season. This way, the flowers can be sourced from the UK, and don’t have to fly half way across the world to accompany you down the aisle.

6. Favours and gifts 

Favours, table plans, presents from the bridal party… all these elements can be made more green. For favours, avoid the novelty items that may be chuckled at once and then swiftly forgotten. Instead, go for something meaningful – provide native wildflowers for so you can ‘spread the love’ of your big day and help pollinating insects in the meantime. Perhaps you may want to do away with favours and instead ask guests to make a donation to your favourite charity instead.

7. Waste

Ideally, you should try to eliminate the source of waste but it takes lots of time and careful thought to do so, so the next best alternative is to recycle the waste generated. Your venue should offer recycling, if not – insist! You can recycle beer bottles, wine bottles and paper, and make sure your caterer is composting fruit and vegetable peelings.

Have you made an effort to be more green on your wedding day? 

Sean Byrne