Top Tips for an Eco-friendly Wedding

Updated: May 4

Eco-friendly wedding venue The Oak Barn, bride and groom standing on pontoon by lake
The Oak Barn © Nicola Dawson Photography

Weddings are not known for being particularly eco-friendly events; there is often a lot of waste left over afterwards, be it from disposable decorations, uneaten food or plastic packaging, to name but a few. With that in mind, many couples are wanting to have a ‘green’ wedding, by either having as sustainable a wedding as they can, or by incorporating sustainable elements into their day where possible. So, if that is something you are thinking about doing, here are my top tips for how to have an eco-friendly wedding…

Choose an eco-friendly wedding venue

Bore Place, eco-friendly wedding venue in Kent
© Emily Brown Photography

Many venues are trying to incorporate sustainable measures into the day-to-day running of their business, be it using local suppliers, local food produce, renewable energy or recycling any waste left over from an event. By using a ‘green’ wedding venue you can considerably reduce the carbon emissions created by your special day. You could also choose a venue within a certain proximity to you, so as to reduce your travelling, and in turn, your carbon footprint. Check out this post about eco-friendly wedding venues in Kent.

Source your suppliers carefully

Green and white eco-friendly wedding stationery
© Photographed by John Knight

When deciding which suppliers to use, take into consideration their proximity to the venue; someone closer to the venue will have less distance to travel, and therefore have a smaller carbon footprint. When deciding on a caterer or cake maker, check if they use organic, local or Fairtrade products; ask your stationery provider if they use recycled and recyclable materials; use an ethical and Fairtrade jewellers for your wedding rings; ask your florist to use local, seasonal flowers; and source a hair/make-up artist who uses cruelty-free, zero-waste or locally-produced products.

Even your wedding dress can be ethical

Bride standing in an orchard
© Photographed by John Knight

You could opt to have a pre-loved wedding dress to reduce waste of purchasing a new one, or if that idea does not appeal, you could choose to use an ethical wedding dress designer. After the wedding, you can then recycle or donate your dress. Here are some wedding dress boutiques in Kent that buy and sell pre-loved wedding dresses:

Brides Dress Revisited Chilham Bridal Julia's Bridal Preloved and Perfect Forget Me Not By JB (online store)

Give sustainable wedding favours

Colourful wedding favours
© Florence Berry Photography

There are many ways that you can make your wedding favours sustainable; you could use recycled/recyclable materials, give seed packets for guests to plant their own flowers, or perhaps even use biscuits that have each guest’s individual name on, which can then double-up as a place name, and so reduce waste by not needing a separate name card.

Think carefully about your wedding décor

Vintage afternoon tea wedding reception
© Michael Newington Gray Photography

Hire your decorations instead of buying new ones; there are so many prop and décor companies that you are sure to find what you want without having to buy new. If, however, you do end up needing to buy anything, you could recycle, donate or sell it on to someone else afterwards so that it does not become a single-use item. Also, try to use biodegradable items where possible; be it balloons, confetti or something else, so as to do as little harm as possible to the environment.

Avoid disposable items

Mirror table plan
© Ashleigh Joy Photography

Where possible, avoid using disposable and single-use items, such as plastic plates and cutlery. These are often cheap and readily available, which makes them a popular choice, especially when you have a large guest list, but they are so bad for the environment; recycled, recyclable or multi-use items may be a bit more expensive, but they are more sustainable and beneficial for the planet. Also, instead of having your table plan printed out, you could have it written on a hired mirror or chalkboard, which will then be cleaned and hired out again after you have used it.

Consider the number of guests

Elegant micro wedding breakfast set-up
© Kat Forsyth Photography

It goes without saying that the bigger the guest list, the more expensive a wedding will be, but it is also true that the more guests you have, the bigger your carbon footprint becomes. By having a smaller wedding, there will be less food waste, fewer invitations needed, a smaller cake required, and in turn your wedding will be ‘greener’ by default.

Re-use your flowers

Peach and ivory flowers bridal bouquet
© Jeff Oliver Photography

Flowers can be a very expensive part of your wedding, and afterwards they often go to waste, but you can counter this by gifting the floral bouquets and displays to particular guests that you are close to. Alternatively, you could use silk/artificial flowers and then you have permanent displays from your day for you to keep or give as gifts.

Ethical wedding blogs

Finally, there are many wedding blogs out there for you to get inspiration from (ahem - hi!) but if you really want to have a sustainable day, I recommend having a look through these blogs that primarily focus on having an eco-friendly wedding:

Green Union Ethical Weddings Magpie Weddings

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