26 March, 2024

Sustainable Wedding Ideas

Sustainable tips for your big day. Explore vintage attire, local blooms, and reusable decor. Opt for ethical beauty products and charitable favors. Plan a responsible honeymoon for an eco-friendly celebration.
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Craft­ing an Eco-Con­scious Wed­ding: From Attire to Adventure

Read on to explore sus­tain­able prac­tices for every aspect of your spe­cial day and dis­cov­er eth­i­cal bridal and groom­swear options, includ­ing vin­tage dress­es and fair trade jew­el­ry. Learn how to pri­or­i­tize local and sea­son­al blooms with your florist and dec­o­rate with reusable items for both cer­e­mo­ny and reception.

Loca­tion: Select your venue thoughtfully

Giv­en the huge envi­ron­men­tal impact of air­plane and vehi­cle emis­sions, it’s a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­sid­er trans­porta­tion options for both you and your guests when choos­ing a wed­ding loca­tion. Opt­ing for a des­ti­na­tion wed­ding involves air trav­el, while select­ing a venue in a remote area requires mul­ti­ple car jour­neys. While we firm­ly believe you should tie the knot wher­ev­er feels right for you, if you have the choice, take a moment to review your guest list and think about which choice is more envi­ron­men­tal­ly friendly.

Venue: Assess poten­tial wed­ding venues thoroughly

The sus­tain­abil­i­ty of your wed­ding large­ly hinges on the prac­tices of your cho­sen venue. While some may be in the ear­ly stages of adopt­ing recy­cling ini­tia­tives, oth­ers might be lead­ing the way in eco-friend­ly oper­a­tions. Con­sid­er Hotel Doolin in Coun­ty Clare, which not only offers a veg­an pack­age but has also earned Car­bon Neu­tral sta­tus, or Hore­town House in Wex­ford, renowned for its grown not flown’ pol­i­cy where all flow­ers are cul­ti­vat­ed on-site. 

If you’re pri­ori­tis­ing reduc­ing the envi­ron­men­tal impact of your spe­cial day, here are a few ques­tions worth considering: 

  • How is the venue’s food waste managed? 
  • Where are ingre­di­ents sourced (espe­cial­ly if they’re cater­ing the meal)? 
  • What is the plas­tic usage policy? 
  • What types of clean­ing prod­ucts are used? 
  • Is there any involve­ment in green or char­i­ta­ble initiatives?

Food: Opt for an eco-con­scious menu

Whether your venue is han­dling the wed­ding meal or you’re using a sep­a­rate cater­ing com­pa­ny, pri­ori­tise find­ing a sup­pli­er with a com­mit­ment to sus­tain­abil­i­ty. Look for cater­ers who pri­ori­tise sourc­ing organ­ic, local, Fair­trade, and eth­i­cal­ly-pro­duced ingre­di­ents when­ev­er pos­si­ble. Some cater­ers now offer cou­ples the option of a five-star zero waste wed­ding meal, using res­cued sur­plus pro­duce. Alter­na­tive­ly, con­sid­er a veg­an or veg­e­tar­i­an menu to fur­ther lessen the envi­ron­men­tal impact of the meal. If that feels too extreme, aim for a menu that incor­po­rates at least 50 per­cent veg­e­tar­i­an options. Addi­tion­al­ly, sourc­ing alco­hol from local winer­ies, dis­til­leries, and brew­eries can sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduce your car­bon footprint.

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Cake: Indulge in a sus­tain­able wed­ding cake

Among the more fea­si­ble aspects on our check­list! Inquire with your bak­er about sourc­ing organ­ic, local, and Fair­trade ingre­di­ents for the cake, and con­sid­er incor­po­rat­ing sea­son­al fruits into the recipe. Opt­ing for a veg­an option may have a low­er envi­ron­men­tal impact, depend­ing on the sourc­ing of ingre­di­ents. Con­sid­er sourc­ing reusable dec­o­ra­tions such as rib­bons and rus­tic log plinths to fur­ther reduce waste.

Sta­tion­ary: Con­dense your sta­tionery to a sin­gle show­stop­ping piece

While a lot of our eco-con­scious cou­ples opt for dig­i­tal wed­ding cor­re­spon­dence to min­imise paper waste, we under­stand the allure of sta­tionery too much to forego it entire­ly! A won­der­ful com­pro­mise is to select one exquis­ite paper ele­ment, like cus­tom wed­ding invi­ta­tions, and request your sta­tion­er to sup­ply coor­di­nat­ing graph­ics for print­ing on sig­nage instead of pro­duc­ing hard copy table plans and menus. You can also ask whether your sta­tion­er can print on recy­cled paper to fur­ther align with sus­tain­abil­i­ty efforts.

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Cloth­ing: Embrace eth­i­cal bridal and groom­swear choices

When it comes to wed­ding attire, there are var­i­ous eth­i­cal approach­es to think about. Here are some of our top suggestions:

  • Opt for a vin­tage wed­ding dress by explor­ing fam­i­ly heir­looms or vis­it­ing vin­tage bridal boutiques.

  • Con­sid­er pur­chas­ing a sec­ond-hand dress from char­i­ty bridal stores such as Barnar­dos Bridal Rooms or NCBI Bridal Rooms, which often fea­ture brand new gowns and acces­sories donat­ed by lead­ing bridal retail­ers and designers.

  • Explore options to rewear, swap, resell, donate, or recy­cle your wed­ding dress after your wed­ding day.

  • Sup­port design­ers com­mit­ted to fair labor prac­tices and sus­tain­able sourc­ing of fab­rics. Some notable eth­i­cal bridal design­ers include Leila Hafzi, Min­na, Geor­gia Young, Celia Grace, and Sanyuk­ta Shrestha.

  • Opt for a bespoke bridal dress and inquire about using local­ly-sourced fab­rics from rec­om­mend­ed bespoke bridal designers.

  • Extend your eth­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions to jew­el­ry by select­ing con­flict-free stones, Fairmined met­als, vin­tage pieces, or brands with Fair­trade or sus­tain­able man­u­fac­tur­ing practices.

Flow­ers: Pri­ori­tise local and sea­son­al blooms with your florist

While some envi­ron­men­tal­ly-con­scious indi­vid­u­als sug­gest alter­na­tives to cut flow­ers, such as pot­ted herbs or green­ery, many still desire flo­ral arrange­ments for their wed­ding — they look amazing! 

Work close­ly with your wed­ding florist to explore sus­tain­able options such as local­ly-grown flow­ers, sea­son­al alter­na­tives, or liv­ing plants. Addi­tion­al­ly, dis­cuss post-wed­ding arrange­ments, as florists may be able to arrange dona­tions to local hos­pi­tals or hospices.

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Décor: Dec­o­rate with reusable items for your cer­e­mo­ny and reception

When select­ing wed­ding décor, try to use recy­clable or reusable items to min­i­mize envi­ron­men­tal impact. Instead of bal­loons or sky lanterns, which can harm the envi­ron­ment, opt for glass­ware, bunting, macramé, rib­bon, books, vin­tage can­dle­sticks, and oth­er hire­able items. Choose non-tox­ic can­dles and biodegrad­able con­fet­ti, to fur­ther enhance eco-friend­li­ness. When using con­fet­ti or glit­ter always check with your venue first to make sure they are hap­py with it.

Beau­ty: Embrace eth­i­cal beau­ty prod­ucts for your wedding

Tran­si­tion your beau­ty rou­tine to include cru­el­ty-free, zero-waste, or local­ly-pro­duced skin­care prod­ucts. Con­sult with your hair­styl­ist and make­up artist for cru­el­ty-free alter­na­tives they’re com­fort­able with using on your big day. 

For reli­able infor­ma­tion on cru­el­ty-free prod­ucts, refer to resources like Cru­el­ty Free Kit­ty. Con­sid­er extend­ing these con­sid­er­a­tions to guest bath­room bas­kets too!

Favours: Incor­po­rate char­i­ta­ble giv­ing into your wed­ding favours

Maybe con­sid­er offer­ing char­i­ty wed­ding favors or request­ing char­i­ta­ble dona­tions in lieu of gifts. Sup­port envi­ron­men­tal char­i­ties or organ­i­sa­tions address­ing gar­ment indus­try issues such as Anti-Slav­ery or Stop the Traf­fik. Alter­na­tive­ly, encour­age guests to plant trees with seed wed­ding favours or cre­ate DIY sus­tain­able favours.

Hon­ey­moon: Plan an eth­i­cal hon­ey­moon adventure

While your hon­ey­moon presents an oppor­tu­ni­ty for adven­ture, research respon­si­ble trav­el options to min­imise envi­ron­men­tal impact. Con­sid­er work­ing with trav­el agents spe­cial­is­ing in respon­si­ble hol­i­days, and sup­port local­ly-owned busi­ness­es dur­ing your trip. You can also off­set your trav­el car­bon foot­print by mak­ing a dona­tion to orga­ni­za­tions like sus​tain​able​trav​el​.org.

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