We are all for helping the planet and for an increasing number of couples, that means choosing the green path down the aisle.
By opting for an eco-friendly wedding, the bride and groom can reduce its impact on the environment.
Many people who live green lifestyles want their weddings to be just as green, while others choose the green option for their big event because they want to raise awareness of the need for sustainability in our lives.
From invitations to transport, there are many ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the celebration without compromising on style, setting or budget.
A large amount of paper is used for weddings, from service sheets to confetti, but the bulk is for the invitations. If you want to stick with card invitations, why not choose 100% recycled paper?
If you want to go paperless email your invitations – there are plenty of websites that will help you create a stylish look.
Have an outdoor ceremony
There are lots of green venues in the UK so it won’t be difficult finding the right one to suit your needs. One of the biggest ways to cut down on the wedding’s carbon footprint is to have an outdoor ceremony, such as in a vineyard, beautiful gardens, by the sea or on a hilltop.
An outdoor ceremony and reception wouldn’t be for everyone, especially with our unpredictable English weather, but you can move things indoors if necessary.
You can choose a sustainable venue, one that recycles waste as much as possible and uses renewable energy, biodegradable products and energy-efficient appliances.
A good tip is to hold your ceremony and reception in one place, or choose a venue close to home to cut down on transport. Some brides are lucky enough to be able to walk to their local church.
Green forms of wedding transport to consider include electric cars, horse-drawn vehicles and cycling. If you live in a city you can give guests details of public transport to the venue, or lay on a bus to pick them up at one collection point.
Some argue that the average wedding generates a huge amount of waste. One way to stem this is to borrow or reuse items, instead of buying them just for the wedding and then throwing them away. There are companies that resell wedding items such as props.
Around 90% of cut flowers in the UK are imported. Overseas blooms are expensive, not just in cash terms but also in their carbon footprint. The alternative is to buy home-grown British flowers; you can select a variety of seasonal flowers for delivery from field to front door.
Take the farm to fork route by sourcing your food locally, organic if possible, and in season. You can use biodegradable paper plates and cups if you don’t want to hire crockery. Try to use a local baker for the wedding cake. Compost any leftover food at the end of day.
The growth in cidermakers, vineyards and micro-breweries in recent years has meant that drink can be sourced locally.
Set up bins for the caterers and guests to recycle glass and cans.
Shop for a vintage or second-hand dress. Try retro shops, antique fairs or the internet to find a bargain and get it altered to fit your shape. Sell or donate the dress and accessories afterwards.
Create a new design reusing precious metal from family heirloom jewellery. Seek out Fair Trade jewellers or shop at antique jewellery shops, student degree shows and exhibitions.
Trees as long-lasting gifts
Some companies can reduce the wedding’s carbon footprint by planting trees. In place of a conventional gift, you could ask guests to donate to a charity that plants trees.
Stick to UK destinations and avoid clocking up air miles. If you are keen to travel abroad, go by train or boat.
Going green doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on your big day. It’s a case of being thorough with your research, perhaps with the help of a green wedding planner. Getting the day you want means you can start married life with your green principles intact.