Thursday 16th July 2020
This time of year would typically see us at Tailored Entertainment sending out top-notch wedding entertainment to literally thousands of events right across the country. And whilst we’re unable to do that right now we, like many people, have started thinking about what our industry is going to look like when life returns to some semblance of normality.
We’re certainly not the only ones feeling like this. The last few months have presented surprisingly precious time for self-reflection for many of us, and a recent Guardian poll found that only 12% of us want to return to ‘normal’ once the pandemic comes to an end. Nowhere is that desire for change being more keenly felt than in our relationship with the environment.
Eco-friendly weddings have been a steadily growing corner of the wedding scene for some time now; but as lockdown has eased and our inquiries for weddings in 2021 have increased, we’ve seen a noticeable uptick in the number of people considering sustainability as a crucial part of their wedding plans. It’s a serious consideration for folks planning a wedding during COVID-19.
We can’t blame them. Weddings are, in truth, rather bad for the environment. In fact, sobering numbers from the wedding blog Naturally Chic suggests that the average wedding creates 400lbs of waste and put 14.5 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. Considering the average person puts 12.5 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere on average each year, this can definitely be seen as cause for concern.
But it doesn’t have to be. Nowadays it’s so easy to introduce sustainable, eco-friendly decision making into your wedding planning. And you don’t even have to scrimp on style and luxury, either. So, whether you’re after a fully eco-friendly wedding or simply looking to lessen the environmental impact of your wedding, here are a few tips from Tailored Entertainment on making an eco-friendly wedding really work for you and your guests.
The single greatest contributing factor to your wedding day’s carbon footprint is going to be travel. If you’re inviting roughly 100 guests, many of whom are traveling from disparate parts of the country (or even the world) then the mileage really does start to stack up quite quickly. When planning an eco-friendly wedding, it’s important to think carefully about your wedding location. If you can find a venue that’s relatively close to the majority of your guest list, you’re already well on your way to cutting those carbon emissions considerably.
The same goes for your wedding suppliers. If you’re booking third party suppliers like wedding bands, photographers, florists etc it’s a good idea to look within an hour’s radius of your venue. This is going to make SUCH a big difference in ensuring your wedding is as green as it can possibly be.
It’s all well and good approaching your wedding with a real desire to reduce its environmental impact, but if your venue isn’t committed to the same ideals it’s all going to fall apart pretty quickly! The good news is, there are loads of brilliant eco-friendly wedding venues out there to choose from – if you know where to look. We’ve written extensively on this blog on eco-friendly wedding venues, cause we’re of the opinion that they’re some of the most interesting wedding venues around right now. Look for places like Penpont in Brecon, an eco-friendly wedding venue that’s growing their own produce, powering their buildings with renewable energy, and are consciously committing to preserving the area in which it resides.
Clothing is a big one that people tend to forget about when it comes to wedding sustainability. But the outfits you wear at your wedding are one of the few items you actually buy brand new, with many of the other important items being rented or sourced from suppliers. It’s pretty common practice to hire the suits, but the dresses are a different matter altogether.
Why not think about pre-loved dresses? Sites like Abigail’s Vintage Bridal offer some incredible options for vintage wedding outfits that will still have heads turning as you walk down the aisle, or you could go for a budget designer option from the brilliant StillWhite. If you are going to buy your outfits brand new, seek out sustainable wedding dress suppliers using fair trade, organic fabrics with a commitment to ethical practices.
For so long, party favours have been associated with sweet wrappers and cellophane bags, all of which are positively terrible for the environment. But there are loads of options out there for great eco-friendly party favours. It’s a great opportunity to incorporate a bit of a personal touch into your table decorations too – you could try homemade jams and marmalades in little glass jars, or small bottles of flavored gins and homemade fudge for the kids.
And don’t forget about the confetti, either! There are some fantastic biodegradable options out there in the market right now, like the beautiful products from Shropshire Petals – or you could try collecting some rose petals from your garden for a truly organic option!
From invites to place settings, weddings tend to produce a whole lot of paper. The key thing to keep in mind here is ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’. But there are a few cool little workarounds you can use to make sure you’re keeping your paper usage to a minimum. Eco-friendly wedding invites don’t come any easier than using an e-invite instead of a post-delivered paper copy. And it doesn’t have to be boring, either – think about a cool wedding video, an awesome wedding website or maybe a little animated e-card featuring the happy couple.
There are lots of other workarounds for your eco-friendly wedding stationary too. You could double up on place settings at the table, halving the amount of paper required. Or you could project your ceremony’s order of service on to a screen to save on the printing. If and when you are using paper, make sure it’s produced from recycled paper – and make sure it gets recycled once it’s been used!
Your caterers are easily going to be one of the biggest sources of waste at your wedding. Buffets will always be over catered, food will be wrapped in plastic, generators, and fridges will be running all day. But there are plenty of ways to ensure your caterer is holding to the values of your eco-friendly wedding day.
This is always easier if you can source your own outside catering. Look for local eco-friendly wedding caterers who share your ethos of sustainable eating and food production and carry good relationships with local farmers. If you’re tied into your venue’s catering team, be sure to talk to the chef as soon as possible. See if you can swap out of season products for fresh, in-season local ingredients. And see if you can get them to ditch the plastic cutlery at the evening buffet for something much more sustainable like bamboo or even good old silverware.
Your flowers have such a big impact on the look and style of your wedding day, but with your eco-friendly hat on you could be forgiven for thinking twice given their disposable nature – especially when you can easily end up spending a considerable amount of your budget on them.
The best way to ensure eco-friendly wedding flowers is to go seasonal and go local. By avoiding florists flying in out-of-season flowers for your bouquets you’re not only cutting down on your carbon footprint – you’ll be cutting the overall price, too. Websites like Florismart are a great source for finding great eco-friendly wedding florists. Their site even has a cool calendar telling you what’s in season and where to source it.
The bride arriving at the wedding venue in style is, for many couples, a point on which they are not willing to compromise. You can still have your gorgeous vintage car driving you to the ceremony – but be sure to have a think about how your guests get there, too. If the venue is out in the country, think about hiring a coach for your guests to take them from a point easily reachable by public transport. You can even have fun with this and hire something like a big London double-decker bus! If this is a little outside your budget, you could encourage your guests to carpool by noting if they have space in their car when they RSVP.
The registry is often a bit of a blind spot for people planning their eco-friendly wedding. But it’s certainly worth thinking about – do you need all those gifts you’ve listed? Maybe think about asking for specifically sustainable gifts on your wedding day. Better yet, contributions towards the honeymoon are a great way to minimise your registry’s carbon footprint – or you can encourage your guests to give their gift money to a charity of your choice.
When the last of the biodegradable confetti has been swept away, there’s still one last element to keep in mind when planning your eco-friendly wedding. And boy is it a big one. The honeymoon. The carbon footprint of a flight to some far-flung paradise could easily dwarf all the great work you’ve done in making your wedding day as sustainable as you can. Consider a staycation honeymoon right here in the UK – after all, there are some seriously beautiful places to explore on your own doorstep! If you’re dead set on a tropical setting for your honeymoon, think about carbon offsetting your flight. You can use an online calculator to work out the cost of your carbon emissions and then donate that amount to a sustainable charity, perhaps? Every little helps!
So there you have it. Ten eco-friendly wedding ideas for your big day. If you want to chat any of these ideas through a little further get in touch. We’d just love to hear from you.
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