Did you know that the wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton generated 6,765 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), 1,230 times the annual emissions of the average UK household!?
OK, so perhaps your big day wouldn’t classify as a “royal wedding,” but nonetheless, weddings leave a big carbon footprint when all is said and done. From the guests’ travel to the menu, stationery, dress, and even the end-of-night favour, there are ways in which earth-loving couples can make their weddings eco-friendlier.
- Vendor research: You need to do your due diligence and research your vendors thoroughly – find out how they work and where they get their materials from. When booking your ceremony and reception, ask about ways in which the venue can help you cut back on energy consumption – open window treatments to allow in natural light, use fireplaces in lieu of electric heating, get married during the day or outside, or incorporate lots of candles in your décor. Also, use things that pull double-duty to cut down on costs and consumption, like bouquets that can be used in vases as centrepieces at the reception, or little wedding favours that also include table numbers on them so they can be escort cards, too.
- No frills: You don’t need to fly in on a helicopter or have umpteen props for the photo booth and dancefloor. Take a deep breath. Simple is beautiful and much gentler to Mother Nature. Stick with the basics and avoid unnecessary hoopla that will cost time and money (and generate extra waste).
- Rings: Find jewellers who offer recycled gold, or metals and gems that have been mined in a responsible way. You could also opt for some sentiment when it comes to your rings and melt down family jewellery to create something new from something old.
- Dress: Choose a wedding gown with colour – white dresses are so white because of a chemical process that they undergo, so opt for something in your favourite hue instead. If you’re willing to, you could also donate your wedding dress after the big day so it has a second lease on life.
- Stationery: A lot of paper products go into a wedding, from the invitations to programs, menus, thank-you cards, legal and marriage documents, etc. Use recycled paper or something fun and decidedly green, such as seed paper. Or, go partially electronic. E-invites are becoming more and more popular, if not for the wedding itself, then for the celebrations leading up to them (bridal shower, bachelorette and bachelor parties, etc.). Ask your stationery designer about soy-based ink.
- Flowers: Always look for seasonal, locally-sourced blooms to cut down on travel emissions (exotics will often need to be flown in). Use potted plants and flowers instead of cut ones for flora that lasts much longer. Recycle your wedding flowers by donating them to a hospital or seniors residence afterward.
- Transportation: Shuttle guests after the reception back to their hotel. This will mean fewer cars needed and less fuel used. And, let’s face it: it’s also safer.
- Caterer and cake: As always, go as local as possible. Also, set up disposing stations that are designated for recycling, garbage and compost. Skip the plastic straws.
- Venue: A DESTINATION WEDDING WILL MAKE THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT BECAUSE IT REQUIRES A LOT OF TRAVEL, SO FIND A PLACE THAT IS CLOSEST TO THE MAJORITY OF YOUR GUESTS.
- Honeymoon: Find a resort that practises sustainability.
- Favours: EDIBLE FAVOURS ARE A GOOD OPTION, AS IS SOMETHING THAT IS MADE BY A LOCAL ARTISAN. OR, INSTEAD OF FAVOURS, GIVE TO A CHARITY – PRINT OUT PRETTY MESSAGES (ON RECYCLED PAPER, OF COURSE) EXPLAINING THE CAUSE YOU CHOSE AND WHY.