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With the average spend of a wedding now pushing 30K, your wedding day is a big deal and part of a big business. It doesn’t matter whether you spend £300 or £300,000 on your wedding day, what matters is the cost to the planet, and this means thinking about how you spend that money when it comes to your wedding day. As it’s Zero Waste Week we wanted to talk about this and on the blog today we have Kate Beavis, owner of The Ethical Wedding Show who gives us her top tips, advice and ideas of how to have a zero waste wedding.
The top and most important step couples can take is to stop and think about why they are doing things and choosing to add things to their day. Reduce waste by getting rid of any parts of the day that don’t matter to you, especially if it’s just for traditions sake but it’s a tradition you don’t care about. Don’t like cake? Don’t have one at all, have an alternative, or opt for a small one that you can be certain will be eaten up by any cake loving guests. Don’t want to give throwaway items as favours? Don’t, you don’t have to have favours at all!
If your guests would prefer a free drink at the bar, more entertainment options, more evening food, then invest the money elsewhere – your guests will appreciate it as will the planet!
Top Tip: For favours most charities have a dedicated wedding section and some specialise in cards; there are even online shops specific for weddings and special celebrations where you can buy cufflinks, name places and jewellery and all the money goes to charity! You can even make your own message in memory of someone to add to your tables.
Hire wedding outfits such as your wedding dress and suit, so they don’t become single use and a waste as they can hang unused in a wardrobe forever after. Unable to hire or want something you can keep? Choose to buy a useful or personalised smaller accessory such as jewellery that you can wear again and again.
Hire your decor and investigate sustainable conscious stylists who will help with upcycling, repurposing and creatively minimising any waste and single use items from your day, such as balloons.
Top Tip: Do your research online on selling sites, this is where people are likely to sell. If you have to buy things make sure that you donate these or sell them on afterwards to someone else.
Opt for evening food that offers proper crockery and cutlery or ask your evening food caterer if this is an option. Whilst lots use biodegradable plates and cutlery now, these are still a product that ends up in the bin afterwards whereas proper cutlery and crockery can be washed and reused.
Consider wisely how much food to order as so much gets thrown away after. Ask yourself whether everything is needed. For example, if you are serving the wedding cake straight after the meal, then do you need to provide an extra desert too?
Top Tip: If you have leftover food ask the venue what they can do with this. Can they bag it up for guests to take home or do they have a local homeless shelter they can take it to? Don’t forget the venue staff who will be hungry too.
Use a gift registry that allows you to ask for experiences instead of things, donations towards a honeymoon or a particular passion project you might have, or charity donations. With more couples living together before their wedding, increasingly couples don’t ‘need’ the traditional gift registry items and this can be an easy way to create unintentional waste on your wedding day, so guide your guests towards a less wasteful gift list. Alternatively, give favours that are eco and can be used again such as a soy candle or wildflower seeds.
Top Tip: Use online gift lists that will let people know what you want and need and put in an option to donate to charity. The Knot also donates up to 3% of all qualified gifts purchased from your registry to a charity of your choice, for free!
Ensure your florals are foam free and investigate florists who are passionate about minimising waste. Ask whether they come to dismantle any setups they created so they can salvage reusable elements and simply leave you with beautiful bunches of biodegradable blooms to enjoy until they reach the end of their best.
Top Tip: Give your flowers away to your guests when they leave or ask your venue about donating them to a local hospice to brighten up someone else’s day!
An eco wedding day doesn’t have to be less luxurious, and it doesn’t have to compromise on what you want! Reducing our carbon footprint should be something we are all thinking about daily and thinking about this on your wedding day is even more important! We’re not saying you have to have a completely zero waste wedding day but every little helps and there are lots of options out there that you’ve probably not even thought about! Research is key. If you’re looking for more ideas and looking for ethically minded suppliers, then our Ethical Wedding Show is perfect for you! Held across the country throughout the year and full of beautiful, luxe, creative wedding suppliers you are sure to find someone perfect for you, you partner and your wedding day.
Wellington Wood, Norfolk on October 10th
Manchester’s Victoria Baths on October 24th
Leeds LeftBank on March 6th.
Tickets are on sale now here – with a VIP option where you receive an eco goody bag and a cocktail. £1 of every ticket goes to Brides Do Good, ending child marriage in the UK and worldwide and a tree is planted in the Amazon for every VIP ticket sold.
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