Eco-friendly and more sustainable weddings are growing in popularity as many of us want to make more conscious choices. However, a sustainable path does not necessarily mean sacrificing quality or luxury.
Charlotte Ricard-Quesada, owner of the bespoke event and wedding planning business, La Fete, shares her top tips for the perfect sustainable wedding celebration.
Sustainable wedding tips
Venue & decor
A green venue doesn’t necessarily mean holding on to a field or forest (although that’s an option, of course!). Consider venues that are actively working to reduce their energy consumption, such as solar panels. and preferably opt for a pre-built structure like a barn, hall, castle, etc. to avoid the large-scale transportation required to bring in a marquee. If you want that tent feeling, why not opt for a luxury yurt? There are companies that offer handcrafted yurts made from sustainable materials and whose job it is to keep the nature around them untouched. Your eco-friendly wedding doesn’t have to look rustic though: it can be as luxurious as you want, but sustainable thanks to the quality of the materials you want to decorate with, the recyclability of items and the attention you have in reducing overall waste, for example and hire as much as possible instead of buying.
Catering & wedding cakes for a sustainable wedding
More than ever, caterers are offering their customers sustainable options. The products used to compose wedding menus are seasonal, organic and sustainably managed, with an emphasis on local products. Why not consider a vegetarian or vegan menu too? Removing meat and / or animal products will lower your overall costs and reduce the environmental impact. Speaking of which, make sure you don’t have plastic or non-recyclable disposable tableware on site. If you prefer glass and ceramics, or for the party when you want to avoid broken glasses on the dance floor, there are companies that make fully recyclable eco mugs.
For your cake, you can either opt for an organic bakery or you can use seasonal fruits as a theme for your cake. More and more companies are also offering vegan, gluten-free or dairy-free cake options. So take a look around to find the right solution for you.
Transport tips for a sustainable wedding
To avoid guests driving to your venue themselves, organize a bus for them. There are many options to choose from, either vintage with an old-school double-decker bus or more modern with an elegant luxury bus. Our advice would be to make a maximum of two to three pick-up stops in order to minimize the time on the bus and the confusion of the timetables among the guests. Alternatively, you can organize hybrid cars and electric taxis to take your guests to the venue. For the evening return, consider an ongoing schedule of minibuses to take your guests back to their hotels / homes when they’re ready to leave: your wedding planner can make sure they’re full before leaving to minimize the number of minibuses going there and here.
Favors & wedding favors
With your favors there are a million and one option to choose from. Consider personalized place cards for biscuits, local products like honey or jams with custom labels, handmade soap / fragrance, lavender pouches, candles, personalized seeds, small potted plants, personalized illustrations from your guests (on recycled paper, of course) etc. Just make sure your Favors do not contain plastic or wasteful materials in the packaging. For wedding favors, consider donations from your guests for your honeymoon (or carbon offsetting) as well as donations to a charity of your choice. You can of course go for a traditional wedding list, but be careful about which items you choose.
Flowers for a sustainable wedding
For us, a wedding is not a wedding without flowers: just think of the bridal bouquet! However, there are things you can do to avoid losing your stunning buds after a day. First, consider choosing seasonal and local flowers as this will drastically reduce transportation costs and environmental impact. Avoid foam in your center pieces as this is not recyclable. Ask the florist to avoid using plastic for transportation. Use glass instead. If you want to avoid cut flowers, decorate your reception with potted plants (these can also serve as favors). . You can also arrange for your flowers to be donated after the party to make sure they don’t go to waste. Also, ask your florist if they can offer dried petals as a confetti substitute for the post-ceremony.
We love stationery and the effect a nice save the date or invitation can have. However, if you want to be aware of your paper usage, you can do everything digitally with E-Vites or use recycled paper. Our advice would be to send a digital save the date themed to your wedding followed by a paper / card invitation. Pay attention to both the paper and the ink you use: plant-based options are available. There is of course recycled paper for your daily stationery, but why not use a projector, blackboards, calligraphic wooden boxes, and edible options (like place cards)?
How to buy your wedding dress sustainably
“It’s not as difficult to develop a sustainable approach to your wedding dress as you might think,” says Madeline Castagnera-Bond, also known as The Sustainable Bride.
“There are a few ways your dress can tell more about the story and its journey than just a one-off piece worn for a day.”
If your heart is on a new dress, consider having it tailored by a local designer. Indicate that you only want to use sustainably certified fabrics. These are always easier to come by and contain beautiful fabrics and laces. Certifications to be sought are Oeko-Tex, GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard). Peace silk or natural silk alternatives like bamboo or hemp are also great alternatives.
Think wisely about fabrics
If you really want to order a dress remotely, call the company you are ordering from and ask them where their fabrics come from, where the clothes are made, where they are shipped from, and how the dress is packaged. You can then think twice about whether this fits your sustainable ethos. If a company is unwilling to share transparency about their product, this may answer the questions for you.
Future-proof for your wedding outfit
Why not look for a wedding dress that you could wear again? Perhaps you should consider bridal separations like a skirt or pants and top or a tailored jacket. You can also be creative with color. Are you also thinking about passing the outfit on or selling it later so that someone else can wear the outfit?
Find a vintage or beloved wedding dress. There are literally hundreds of dresses from every era just waiting to be worn again and wearing vintage has never been more trendy.
Sustainable styling and wardrobe consultants Grace & Gadsby recently launched The Loop, a popular bridal cut aimed at conscious bridal fashion.
“We see and hear brides who want to make their weddings more sustainable. One way is to buy a used dress, ”say founders Grace Richmond and Abi Gadsby.
“When you consider how much time went into making the dress and how much money was spent on it, it feels crazy that they are usually only worn once with no further lifespan – which is what we’re about to change! We created The Loop to make sourcing a popular dress a simple but special and luxurious experience. No less new and no less special, sourcing a used piece is simply an opportunity to consciously expand the story of an item and build on its value rather than taking it away. “
Madeline adds, “Wearing an heirloom dress, something that has been passed down to you, is special because there is always a story behind it.”
You can even take this as a base and modernize the dress to better suit your style. Whether it’s your dress, veil, or bridal accessories that have been borrowed from your family or friends, it is a great way to avoid buying too many new pieces.
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