How to make your wedding more sustainable

by Owen Relfe

How to make your wedding more sustainable

Like most couples planning their wedding day, you may be finding the ‘to do’ list never seems to get any shorter. If you are conscious of the environmental impact of your big day and wanting to make more eco-friendly choices but aren’t too sure where to start, then let us help. We’ve come up with a list of simple ways to help you go green!

Flowers

Plants and flowers are a lovely way to add colour and beauty to your wedding. But commercially grown flowers do tend to come with a hefty carbon footprint. Often they will have been sat in fridges for preservation and may have been flown in from all over the world. Try and source in-season, locally grown flowers where you can or even grow some of your own! If you are working with a florist, ask about their sustainability practices. Alternatively talk to a company like White Stem Hire, they have an amazing selection of living trees. To decorate your venue, potted plants, trees and herbs make great alternatives to cut flowers. These can often be hired but why not ask family and friends what they may have that you could borrow!

Décor

It’s easy to get carried away with all the little things when it comes to wedding décor. Our biggest tip is to avoid plastic and try not to have any single-use items. To add colour and interest, considering hiring props. As part of your Coastal Tents package we can supply festoon ladders and rope swings which can be dressed with foliage. We also offer a paper lantern installation service in a wide range of colours. When it comes to tables, why not choose a selection of colourful glass bottles alongside potted plants as your centrepieces? For your tablecloths and napkins, look to hire items, and choose natural materials such as linen, hemp and hessian. For place names, seed paper is a lovely choice. It’s eco-friendly paper made from recycled materials and embedded with seeds. It can double as your wedding favour too - after the wedding your guests will be able to plant it and their seeds will germinate reminding them of your fantastic day! ‘The confetti moment’ is a lovely part of any wedding, just be sure to choose biodegradable petal confetti rather than paper or synthetic options. You could even have a go at making your own (or better still, find a willing family member who is desperate to help out)!

Attire

When it comes to what you wear on your wedding day, there are many options for a greener choice. Firstly, you may want to break with tradition and avoid the ‘big white wedding’ altogether, instead choosing something more ‘wearable’ which you know you’ll use again.
This isn’t your only option though! There are more and more ‘pre loved’ wedding dress shops popping up, and with online marketplaces it’s now easier than ever to find a range of beautiful dresses. Bridal Reloved are our favourite pre-loved wedding dress company, with 17 bridal boutiques across the UK. If you prefer the idea of a new wedding gown, you can still minimise your environmental impact by choosing your designer carefully. Look for a company or individual who uses eco-friendly fabrics and is as local to you as possible. Getting your dress ‘made to order’ will also reduce over-production and waste associated with mass production. Mina at Indie Bride London does exactly this! For the chaps a popular choice is rental. This is great option if your groomsmen don’t all live locally to one another. Simply choose a national retailer and they can all visit their nearest store to avoid unnecessary travel. Many grooms do still chose to buy a brand new outfit for their big day though – just opt for one they know they will wear again and again.

Catering

You don’t have to go vegan or vegetarian to make greener choices when deciding on your wedding menu. Talk to your caterers about how and where they source their food. Choosing locally grown, organic food not only reduces the carbon footprint but it also means you are supporting local businesses. Plus you will have fresh, in-season produce on your menu, yum! Fossil Food Catering put together menus using and array of produce grown and reared on their own farm. It is also worth asking about their waste policy. Many caterers offer unused items to food banks or charities, or, if your wedding party are all staying locally, simply ask for unserved food to be refrigerated so it can be eaten the next day.
Finally, be sure to hire all your crockery and cutlery. There is no need for single-use items now. Usually your caterers will either offer a hire service, or at the very least will do the washing up for you!

Venue and Transport

If possible choose a venue that can cater for your ceremony and reception in one location. Not only will this mean avoiding asking all your guests to travel between locations, you will also have more time to relax and enjoy the party straight after the “I dos”! An increasingly popular way of doing this is to have a very small legal ceremony at a registry office a few days before, and then have a humanist celebrant lead a personalised ceremony on your big day. Humanist ceremonies are now legally binding in Scotland, and the Law Commission are also making proposals for outdoor locations to be allowed too, so we’re anticipating some big changes in the next few years. We regularly site our marquees at some stunning venues that are licensed such as Shillingstone House, as well as others where we’ve seen some beautiful humanist ceremonies take place outside – take a look at Harry Warren House.
When it comes to transport, either ask your guests to car share, or consider putting on transportation for them to limit the number of journeys.

Whether you are planning a zero-waste wedding, or simply wanting to make a few greener choices there is plenty you can do host and plan a sustainable wedding.

If you have any questions or would like to chat about ideas, please just give us a call on 01929 505005 or drop us an email info@coastaltents.co.uk

The Coastal Tents Team xxxx