So.. Weddings require a LOT of planning and a LOT of buying new things - don't they? Some of which is inevitable and totally waste free which is absolutely fine but there is definitely some smart eco-friendly moves we can make towards making our weddings more sustainable and reducing waste! As I'm sure everyone is at the moment - my family and I are seriously cutting back on plastic, single use items and are doing our bit with recycling and cutting down our energy usage. I thought with sustainability being such a big topic at the moment that I would collate some ideas of how to make your wedding more sustainable and also saving yourself a bit of money whilst doing so!
As a small business I'm also trying to do my bit for the planet. I no longer send out my clients albums and USB's wrapped in plastic and also try to go in to a physical store when I require new pieces of stationary or camera equipment rather than ordering from Amazon for convenience.
Anyway, here's a few tips and ideas for making your wedding day as waste free and sustainable as possible - enjoy!
1. Table Number Centrepieces
I saw these centre pieces on Pinterest and fell in love! Not only are they completely waste free but they look so fab! All you need is some leaves and a marker pen - so easy?! These leaves would also look great in the middle of your tables slotted in to old alcohol bottles!
If these aren't your style and you prefer something less nature based then think about renting your centre pieces or decor from a wedding styling/prop company instead of buying yourself. This means all items will be re-used for another like-minded couple!
Photo source: Naomi Levit Photography
Confetti photos at weddings are so common now and definitely one of my favourite photos to capture. However if you're purchasing your own confetti - make sure it's biodegradable! Also if you do choose to buy confetti, you can bulk buy dried petals and fill paper bags yourself - this tends to work out cheaper and also reduces plastic waste from buying ready made pouches. Buying in bulk is also a lot more eco friendly than shop bought confetti cannons.
Another great DIY tip I have found (using leaves - surprise surprise haha!) is to collect some different colours of leaves (perfect for Autumn brides!) and grab a hole punch and punch holes in your leaves. This will then leave you with little round cut outs from the hole punch which works perfect for confetti, is completely free and 100% natural - total win!
Photo source: Joanne Clenaghan Photography
3. Shop pre-loved!
When shopping for wedding clothing and accessories it can really add up the pennies! Why not try and add some elements of pre-loved items in to your wedding? Instead of going out and buying wedding shoes that you may only wear once, why not buy second hand from Facebook or a charity shop? Because chances are, someone else has only worn them once to their wedding too! This will save you money and means pieces of clothing are being reused rather than worn once and then shoved to the back of the cupboard!
Also for the men, hiring suits and kilts is much more sustainable than buying new for a single occasion!
4. Outdoor decor
This one is for the outdoor weddings! If you're having an outdoor area for your evening reception, decorating it to make a cosy space can be so much fun. Now the first thing you will probably think of when decorating an outdoor space is fairy lights. Instead of using masses of plug-in fairy lights, try to opt for solar powered fairy lights! This will use much less energy, therefore benefit the planet much more. Lanterns and candles are also a great way to decorate an outdoor space and add extra light and extra cosy vibes!
5. Wedding favours
Now we all know wedding favours are a traditional thing that most people provide at weddings, which is absolutely fine, but why not think about a more waste free option for your favours? Some ideas I have seen and loved are simply donating even just £1 to your choice of charity on behalf of each guest and leaving a small note at their place to let them know. I have also seen paper wrapped baked goods which is another low cost and plastic free way of thanking your guests for joining in your celebrations!
Too often do I see wedding favours left behind accidentally at weddings and they end up in the bin, so I think being aware that guests may get caught up in the party and forget to take their favours home is definitely something to consider when planning!
Source: Joanne Clenaghan Photography
Now choosing a venue can definitely be one of the most difficult parts or your wedding planning. If you are trying to be more sustainable when looking for a venue, you can take in to consideration travel. Choosing a venue that's far away from your home town means lots of travel for you and your guests which obviously means more emissions. If you have your heart set on a venue that's a bit out of the way for your guests, then maybe consider hiring a bus to transport your guests to the venue - that means less cars on the road and less emissions!
Thats just a few little ideas for keeping your wedding waste free and also lower cost. I hope this has given you some food for thought and remember, nobody is perfect when it comes to being eco-friendly so even doing just 1 of the things on this list is contributing to change!
If you are local to Dundee (like me!) and are interested in sustainable living then pop in to Love Your Planet in Broughty Ferry. They do a whole range of eco friendly products from cleaning, soaps, re-usable straws, sanitary products and more. They also have dispensers so you can bring your own containers to stock up on grains, nuts, spices, oils and even make your own peanut butter!
Source: Joanne Clenaghan Photography