Gone are the days where the word ‘eco’ means hippy, tie-dye and poor quality. Having a low-impact wedding is a great way of saving a bob or two, while at the same time treading lightly on the planet. A ‘green wedding’ means that consumption, sustainability, creativity and careful sourcing are at the forefront of decisions.
Pick a sustainable wedding venue
Get married in a venue that truly reflects your ethical stance. Look for a place that serves local, seasonal, organic food, which will reduce your food miles and support the local economy. And while you’re at it, go for a venue that has invested in renewables to help offset its carbon footprint. This may be through a wind turbine, bio-mass or solar panels on the roof. A good eco-venue will be well insulated and harvest ‘grey-water’ to flush the loos. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
What’s more, there are plenty of gorgeous venues that run as charities so your hard earned cash will carry on being spent for good causes.
The Wedding Dress
It’s ludicrous to think of the amount of money spent on white dresses with a shelf-life of one day. Instead, buy something absolutely beautiful that you feel stunning in and can wear again. Besides, white isn’t for everyone. So choose a dress in a color that suits you best and makes you feel utterly wonderful.
Make it personal
Savour every memory of your wedding day by making a scrap book of the day. Ask your guests to include poems, drawings, messages, photos and anecdotes for a keepsake you’ll treasure forever. This book should be made of something pure and natural in keeping with your green wedding; the pages should be handmade, it should be fairly traded and made out of something sustainable. Not only will your money will go towards keeping the ancient craft of papermaking alive, but your book will tell a story without words.
Decorate your wedding venue with green flowers
Most flowers are shipped over from Kenya or Holland, which is a travesty considering all the bright and beautiful flowers grown right here in the UK. Opt for locally grown bouquets, grown seasonally. These flowers will no doubt be freshly picked to order, which as you and I both know, is just what you want in a bouquet.
Why not ask your guests to forage a bouquet from their gardens and hedgerows? You’ll have a beautiful array of flowers picked with love, which will have far more sentimental meaning. Also, there’ll be practically no flower-miles in the making of your beautiful venue. Alternatively, there are plenty of suppliers of British, seasonal flowers who can provide ethical bouquets for your wedding day.
Ethical wedding favours
Show your appreciation to your guests by offering wedding favours with an ethical twist. They could be something that supports sustainable living, made of plants, fairly traded, local or recycled.
For something a little different, how about bestowing each guest with a love bomb? Simply make up the ‘bombs’ with the seed mixture provided and chuck them at any area of earth that needs brightening up with a burst of colourful forget-me-nots. These kits are loved by all ages – no green fingers necessary.
Gifts with a difference
Let’s face it, you don’t need another toaster, you’ve got plenty of photo frames already and you don’t need anything more to dust. So instead, set up your wedding gift list in a place that will have a positive impact on the planet. There are plenty of charities where your guests can buy gifts that transform lives around the world from £5 onwards. You’ll feel great knowing that you’ve made a real difference. Have a look at Oxfam Unwrapped for more details.
Or maybe ask for gifts that promote ethical living. The Eden Project carefully source their products to fit their tight ethical buying criteria, and money spent here goes into their educational charity. Set up a wish list on their webshop for a choice of gifts for the home and garden. Your guests can even donate a little extra to offset the carbon emissions of delivery.
Do it your way!
Remember that if it’s not your style to wear a big white dress, organise ice-sculptors and harp quartets – then now is not the time to become that person. Your big day is about enjoying yourself, making sure you feel relaxed, comfortable and can simply concentrate on the wonderful years of marriage ahead.
This guest blog post is by Harriet Wild on behalf of The Eden Project. Do have a look at their wedding favours (there are loads of gifts you can buy online which would make fantastic wedding favours) and read more from Harriet here about planning a green wedding.