ANSWERED: Five key questions for a more eco-friendly wedding
13 Sep 2021
No matter how big or small, here's how to do your bit for the planet while wedding planning with these tips and ideas centred on sustainability
Hannah Mullens, wedding planner at Green Soul Weddings, which covers East Anglia, answers the key questions that eco-conscious couples want answered when it comes to planning their wedding the green way.
Why is a sustainable approach to wedding planning more important than ever?
Rarely a day goes by where we do not read or hear about the latest climate change research, natural disasters and extreme weather phenomena across the world, or see an advert about the latest green initiatives from businesses large and small.
The health of our planet is something that, quite rightly, is at the forefront of many people's minds currently. And while there isn’t one clear and easy solution, there is a real sense that collectively we need to and can make multiple changes, big and small, to our daily lives that will all be for the better.
While wedding planning isn’t a daily occurrence for many, this important day in our lives comes with a lot of opportunity to make a difference. While for each of us individually this is our one special day, when you combine all of the weddings that occur day in day out across the world it is easy to see how much waste and carbon footprint is generated, somewhat taking the shine off of these beautiful and celebratory occasions.
Taking a more sustainable approach to wedding planning doesn’t make your day any less beautiful, unique and joyous, but it does help us to continue playing our individual part in helping the future of our planet.
How easy is it to adopt a sustainable approach to wedding planning?
How easy you will find it to take a more sustainable approach to your wedding planning depends partly on how eco-conscious you are in your day to day lives, and how much you are used to having the environmental impact in mind when making decisions.
However, adopting a sustainable approach for your wedding isn’t exclusive to those who already live by these values, and making your wedding more sustainable can be a great first step to take for any couples wanting to make conscious changes as they enter their married lives.
There are so many ways you can approach wedding planning more sustainably, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach as we each differ on what we consider to be the most important change to make (removing single use plastic versus going vegan, versus ensuring ethical production processes, for example).
I am also a firm believer that any small change is better than none, so when it comes to adopting a sustainable approach for some that might equate to making a few small changes, whereas for others that might include a whole overhaul of their plans, and each approach is valid and beneficial.
What are the key considerations to make for an eco-friendly wedding?
One of the key questions I encourage couples to consider when aiming for a more eco-friendly wedding is ‘Why?’. This powerful little question can often help you to get to the bottom of many decision making stages, and can be very useful in helping to reduce waste.
If, when asking yourselves ‘Why?’, the answer boils down to you adding something to your day because you feel you have to, because tradition dictates you should, or because of any external pressures to include it, then this is a great opportunity to stop, think and remove anything that is not necessary or important to you.
The most eco-friendly weddings are those that only include the things that have meaning for you as a couple and that will be valued rather than wasted.
How can you reduce, reuse, recycle when it comes to your wedding?
Reducing as part of your wedding doesn’t mean you cannot create a sense of opulence or luxury if that is your desired feeling, but it does mean prioritising and scaling back on the elements that do not hold as much meaning or importance to you so that you minimise the chance of waste.
For example, if you have a group of guests that you know do not have a large appetite, consider reducing the number of courses you provide and instead invest in high quality local seasonal and speciality ingredients that provide a stunning feast – wowing your guests while reducing waste in the process.
Reusing is a great way to reduce the footprint of your wedding, and can be achieved in so many common, cost effective and stylish ways. For example, shopping for pre-loved outfits, whether that be vintage, second-hand, hired or via sample sales, is a great way of getting your dream outfit for a fraction of the cost. It also allows the wearer to reuse a garment that already has a tale to tell, rather than adding another one to the resource-intensive production process.
Hiring décor, styling pieces and signage can also be a great way of reusing elements but combining them in your own way to create a unique set-up of your own. It also saves you buying everything in for it to then clutter your home or cause a headache when trying to sell it on afterwards.
If you wish to get creative for your wedding, then there are lots of ways you can embrace recycling or upcycling for your celebrations. First of all, start off by looking around your home and the homes of close family and friends for any items that might get those creative ideas flowing. Such items could be borrowed and used as they are, or upcycled in some way to create an element for your day, such as old photo frames, old doors or ladders, etc.
Another way of incorporating recycling into your wedding is to ensure any packaging, such as those for favours or food serving ware, are recyclable, and that the correct facilities are provided by your venue to facilitate this.
How can couples find wedding suppliers who share a similarly green outlook?
More and more wedding suppliers are taking a keen interest in how they can make their day to day lives and businesses more eco-conscious. If you are wanting to find suppliers with a likeminded green outlook, then make sure you ask the questions early on about their values and ethos. There are wedding planners, like myself, who specialise in a more sustainable approach to weddings. We aim to make the search for likeminded suppliers and the planning of your more eco-conscious wedding easier and less daunting and research intensive.
Wedding shows are also designed to bring likeminded couples and wedding suppliers together to showcase how stunning and stylish weddings can be achieved while respecting people and our planet.
All photos via Unsplash