Conscious Wedding Inspiration
When I was growing up in the 1980’s new buzz words hit our consciousness – “RECYCLE” “GREEN LIVING” “OZONE LAYER”. Anita Roddick became our influencer, creating a generation of White Musk scented, ‘The Body Shop’ canvas tote-wearing eco-warriors. The environment even became a course subject in school, learning how the impact of our everyday lives can damage the fine balance of our wonderful planet and the plants and other animals trying to survive on it.
In more recent years, documentaries such as “Drowning in Plastic” and “Blue Planet” have highlighted that my little bit of recycling just hasn’t been enough. The eyes of people all over the world have been opened to how our attitude to waste and plastic usage has started to overcome our beautiful planet.
Sustainable living and ethical consumption has become the Millennial’s zeitgeist.
Princess Eugenie picked up the plastic-free mantle by working closely with Project Zero and Sky Ocean Rescue and such was the impact on her that she decided that her house would become plastic free and in October 2018 her wedding would be plastic free too.
“A collection of plastic, floating between Hawaii and California, has grown to 600,000 square miles (that’s almost 3 times bigger the whole of the UK!!!)” Doyle Rice, USA Today December 2018.
With eye-watering statistics like that and Princess Eugenie’s wedding there has been a rise in zero-waste and plastic free weddings over the last few years. So the Cicily Bridal team thought this an opportune time to do some research and put some ideas together for brides and grooms who are hoping to host a wedding that has as little impact on the planet as possible.
This isn’t a sermon on how to live your life and I’m not going to preach how anyone should host their wedding but if one wedding can produce 400lbs of waste, that’s 28.5 stone (!) imagine what waste 239,020 weddings (2015 England & Wales opposite sex weddings – latest figures available) create for this small island to deal with?
We’ve put together some small and not so small changes couples can make to their wedding arrangements and picking just one of them could have a major impact on our environment.
When my parents got married in the 1970s, brides and grooms got married in their local church and then a pub or hotel nearby for their wedding reception. If they were lucky enough to have a honeymoon it would have been at one of the UK’s seaside resorts or one of the big cities for a weekend. As the years have gone by our choices and tastes have grown and so has our carbon footprint.
In the noughties, brides and grooms get married all over the UK regardless of where they live. These days guests are happy to travel to weddings and could be driving 200 miles to get there. So one of the biggest eco-friendly changes a bride and groom can make is to get married locally. Just think, the average wedding which generally has 100 guests to the day and then another 50 for the evening means at least 75 cars making their way to the venue, possible driving 200 miles. That’s a BIG carbon footprint.
However, if the only option locally is the scout hut at the end of your street which isn’t what you’d planned for your big day then maybe consider choosing a venue that waves its sustainability banner. This is a fabulous choice as they have done most of the eco-friendly thinking for you. Below are some beautiful ones to take a look at:
So, you’ve chosen your venue. Whether it’s local, eco-friendly or neither you need to tell your guests when and where the magic is going to happen.
The most sustainable way to invite guests is electronically. Whether this is via email or social media, it’s quick, it’s traceable and it won’t get lost!
I’m all for paperless post as much as possible but in an era where the only letters we receive are normally bills and our email inbox is always full, it’s so nice to receive a wedding invite – thoughtfully designed to reflect the couple and the style of wedding they are having. Also, not all of your guests might be up-to-speed with the digital age so an old fashioned invite might be the only way of letting them know you are getting married!
(Image sourced from Pinterest Wedding Sparrow)
If you send all or just a few invites by post then research the materials you are going to use. Choose recycled, compostable paper or card and even consider the type of ink you use. This site has done a lot of the leg work for you if you would like someone else to design and create your wedding stationery.
From flowers to catering, from hen-dos to your ring, there are options available that minimise their environmental toll.
Why not research fair trade/ ethical rings or maybe choose a wooden ring?
I remember when I was a bridesmaid, in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, the majority of the flowers from the wedding would be given to the local hospitals or old people’s homes. Sustainable and we didn’t even know it!
This doesn’t seem to happen anymore. The flowers just get dumped in the waste. So if you are going to have beautiful floral arrangements consider using them to cheer other people up the next day.
There is a hidden danger to our environment in floral displays that I hadn’t even realised until researching for this blog. The green florist’s foam used to support floral displays is highly toxic and isn’t bio-degradable. They have recently brought one onto the market that is bio-degradable but it takes 567 days to degrade and only in a certain bio-landfill site!
If this statistic has shocked you as it did me, then consider displaying flowers in glass vases with water or living plants that can be replanted. Whoever is doing your flowers, whether it’s you, your Auntie, or a professional florist, sourcing organic and locally grown plants or flowers where possible is a great eco-friendly option.
The venue you have chosen is going to dictate how much impact you can have on the catering of your wedding but have a chat with them from the start of your planning journey. Let them know that you would like as little plastic to be used and as little waste created. From straws to table ware, there are alternatives to plastic that can be sourced. Ask if the food is sourced locally and if not, is there an option for this.
If you are planning more of a DIY wedding, maybe a tipi in your parent’s garden, then you have more control over the choices made. If you are using disposable tableware then choose wooden or bio-degradable plastic options or use glass and china where possible. Dress your venue with upcycled or re-purposed pieces. Choose locally sourced food or caterers who shout about their ‘local’ credentials.
Instead of printing the menus for each guest why not have just one for each table or maybe a large chalk board between tables.
These are just a few ideas to help kick-start an environmentally aware wedding. If you could do just one (or all!) of these ideas and then this was multiplied 230,000 times by the other couples due to get married in 2019/ 2020, think of the positive environmental impact this would have. The planet will appreciate every single eco-friendly wedding swap you make for your special day.
Other ideas – We’ve created our ‘Conscious Wedding Inspo’ Pinterest board to give you some inspiration. I particularly love the idea of lavender as confetti and handmade soaps or seed packets as favours.
And just to say Cicily Bridal does its part too – we recycle 100% of our waste and we try and minimise our carbon footprint by stocking designers from the UK and Europe.
(Images sourced from Pinterest)