How to Plan a Sustainable Wedding

Weddings, like most large events and parties, can lead to a lot of consumption and waste. But they don’t have to. If you’re looking to reduce the environmental impact of your wedding day, there are lots of ways you can do that.

No wedding can be 100% environmentally friendly, as there is likely to be some level of waste involved. But if you can work to make some eco-friendly choices, you may inspire others to do the same.

I wanted to share some ideas with you. Hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration and ideas for your wedding.

Choose a convenient location

If invited family and friends are located in a specific area or region, consider hosting your wedding there. A destination wedding requires everyone to fly, and a remote location can also mean a lot of travel by car, contributing to environmental damage. If possible, choose a location that lessens the distance travelled by your guests.

In warmer months, consider an outdoor wedding with games for your gueests to reduce the amount of energy consumed.

Guests playing outdoor games

Ask your venue the hard questions

Being able to host a sustainable wedding will largely depend on your venue, so be sure to ask about their practices before you sign on the dotted line:

  • Do they recycle?
  • How do they dispose of food waste?
  • Does their menu have vegan options?
  • How are their ingredients sourced?
  • What kind of cleaning products do they use?

Ask your venue about any eco-friendly initiatives they take part in and don’t be afraid to search elsewhere if your potential venue doesn’t meet your standards.

Reception layout with bunting

Select an organic, locally sourced menu

Many caterers not only offer vegan options but source their ingredients from local and organic farms. Choosing menu options that reduce your wedding’s environmental impact. Another idea is to purchase alcoholic beverages from local breweries and distilleries to reduce your footprint.

Starter nibbles on chopping board

Limit your stationery or go digital

Paper waste is a huge issue with weddings, but, there’s an easy fix. You could create digital save the date cards, invitations and RSVPs to eliminate paper. If you plan to have some stationery, create a stunning invitation set that guests can use as a keepsake. If working with a stationery designer, get your stationery printed on recycled paper and consider vegetable-based inks.

Stationery set

Shop vintage or handmade

For your wedding attire, why not look for vintage outfits in second-hand shops? A vintage outfit is not just unique, but it’s also an excellent way to incorporate your something old and your something borrowed in one fell swoop.

You could also find some sustainable material and make your outfit. Or asked skilled family and friends to help you! This way you’ll have the style that’s right for you.

Bride and groom with vintage upcycled veil

Choose reusable décor

Balloons and floating lanterns look lovely but are a threat to the environment. Instead, opt for décor you can pick up from second-hand and charity shops and repurpose either as home décor or pass on for someone else to use. Objects like vintage books, glassware, candlesticks and bunting add a gorgeous touch to your wedding while also being eco-friendly.

Vintage wedding decor

Pick sustainable flowers

Flowers can set the mood and tone of your day whether in your bouquet, buttonholes or table settings. Your florist will be able to recommend sustainable flower options, but there are a few things for you to consider:

  • Choose locally grown, seasonal flowers were possible.
  • Dried flowers will give you greater choice if there are out of season flowers you want to include.
  • Make sure your arrangements do not use floral foam or other harmful materials that won’t break down after use.
  • Consider potted plants for centrepieces you can then either keep or give away for guests to keep or plant. They could double up as wedding favours.

Flower centrepieces in recycled cans

Give back with your wedding favours

Instead of favours, which can use up a lot of wasteful packaging, consider giving to a charity in each of your guest’s name. Pick an organisation whose mission is close to your heart or choose an environmental charity like Friends of the Earth, Woodland Trust or World Wildlife Fund.

Sustainable wedding favour ideas

Make your confetti

I’m a sucker for confetti shots. Most venues and churches only allow the throwing of biodegradable confetti as the paper one can be hard to clean up afterwards and can clog up drains.

Hand full of confetti and confetti basket

There are several real flower confetti companies where you can purchase your confetti, but if you want a DIY project and to ensure there is enough confetti for your guests to throw for an epic confetti shot, why not make your own? No, you don’t have to grow your own, but ask friends and family to collect petals from plants and flowers they have as they fall. You can either dry the flowers naturally or pop them in the oven on low for a couple of minutes.

You can make your wedding more environmentally friendly and sustainable in a variety of ways. You just need to think beyond the traditional wedding for solutions and put your imagination to the test.

I’ve also written a blog post on how I’m making my photography business more eco-friendly, if you want to learn more.

Are you planning an enviromentally friendly wedding? If you’re looking for a photographer who shares your values, I’d love to have a chat about your amazing plans.