White Wedding to Green Wedding in 5 Easy Steps
Ok so it’s not like I deserve the ‘best recycler in the world’ award but I am trying very hard to change my non green habits and so I was very shocked to recently find out that the wedding industry is one of the least eco-friendly industries ,with the average wedding producing 400 pounds of waste and 63 tons of carbon dioxide!! Yikes
As a wedding photographer my couples often ask me for recommendations on all kinds of things and so its my intention with this blog to inspire my lovely couples to make a few easy changes on their memorable day that will make a small difference and with each small difference it can all come together to make a big difference! :)
Below I have outlined lots of tiny tips that hopefully will spark a greener mindset when planning your wedding day. They are really not difficult to do, are actually more cost effective and leave you with the ultimate feel good factor that your special day is not only the most gorgeous but also the most green!
1. REDUCE YOUR PAPER TRAIL
Wedding invitations: Get these made with 100% recycled paper from a site like Paper Culture where with each order they will plant a lovely tree in honour of your marriage or check out the fab unique selection on Etsy. You can have a look at Bloomin to get plantable invitations made from flower seeds that can literally be scattered into the ground to then grow beautiful flowers. To really reduce your footprint, ditch the invitations completely and make a wedding website - completely free and scatterbrainy guests won’t be able to lose their invite!
Menus: Cut down the amount of paper that is used on menus and programs by using eye catching signs with beautiful handwriting. I have seen some gorgeous table plans and menus on mirrors, chalk boards and recycled wood. You can really opt for something unique and get your family and guests involved in calligraphy and doing all the handwriting.
Place cards: Like the invitations, these can be printed on plantable seed paper and give your guests the added fun of taking home a beautiful flower to plant in their garden and remember you by. They are available in many gorgeous styles and colors with Botanic Paperworks. If you are printing yourself using recycled or plantable paper, then combine this with soy or vegetable based ink to keep it all ethical.
2. CHAT TO YOUR FLORIST
Flowers are amazingly beautiful, we all love flowers and they play a big part in many of my couples wedding day. Top tip is to chat to your florist beforehand and ask if they can use flowers that are in season. You can also find out where they are coming from - are your flowers locally sourced ? Asking questions to vendors is a major part of finding out how eco-friendly you can be. The more questions you ask the more your vendors will explore Eco options in the future!
Ask your florist to use environmentally friendly materials when making your bouquets and wedding decorations ,substances that are sometimes used like Styrofoam are particularly undesirable, big ouch for the Ozone!
Another option to consider is using lovely potted plants, these can look fab down the aisle and at the ceremony alter, and of course you can then fill your home afterwards as a living memory of your magnificent day. For couples and guests that are coming from different countries, their wedding flowers will often sadly end up in the bin 1-2 days after the wedding. A good option in this case is to you ask your planner to gift them to a children’s home, an old people’s home or the Red Cross - somewhere local where they will be really appreciated.
3. PICK YOUR VENUE APPROPRIATELY
Pick a more sustainable wedding venue such as the beautiful Casa Felix which is tastefully decked out in recycled and up cycled furniture with the most recent wonderful creation being an 8 person sauna built entirely our of a huge Barrel ! Little know fact about this venue that I love - The venue bought ownership of the 38 hectares of stunning land and vineyards around it, passionate about stopping plans on the land from becoming a not so green car park!
One of the other venues that I have listed on My Favourite Wedding Venues Around Barcelona blog is Can Parès, a place where many of the vegetables used in their catering service are actually grown on site, their eggs are laid by their own chickens. They are passionate about slow and organic food and have extremely high standards when sourcing there produce.
Ask your catering company if they recycle and if not you can encourage them to put something in place for your wedding, even if its only a part of your waste ie all your glass bottles!
4. ATTIRE AND ACCESSORIES
Dresses: L’Arca Vintage Bridal Store in Barcelona is a really amazing boutique, selling not only vintage collections of dresses but shoes, veils, accessories - the whole lot. For those coming from the UK, Fur Coat,No Knickers who’s vintage dresses stretch back to the 20th Century also offer whatever you need if you are planning a fully vintage wedding. Renting bridesmaids dresses is also a great option - try Innovias for Barcelona, or Vonlee in London (they also do deliveries). Or simply go for a design of bridesmaid dress that can be worn again!
Wedding Rings: Environmental concerns can take place right down to the ring on your finger, you may want to choose an ethically-sourced wedding ring. if you want it to be green-certified. Tiffany & Co is one of the leading jewellers in the use of conflict-free diamonds amongst many other environmentally conscious jewellers. Or perhaps you have a ring passed down as a family heirloom like the the brides rings in the picture below.
Table Décor: Vintage chairs, Maison jars and other treasures found at your local flee market are not only recycled but look really cool as well and are becoming more and more of a desired aesthetic. For Sitges weddings Pip from philippa events is the absolute queen of finding great recycled goodies for weddings and upcycling too and if you fancy a slightly bohemian look with some macrame she will make it for you and you can take it home!
Your table décor can be as natural as you want it to be - hire reusable items wherever possible, Val from Weddings Via Val has fab contacts and the experience to handle all kinds of requests for all styles of set ups. Avoid balloons at all costs ! they are just one more plastic that is going to end up on a beach or in landfill. Straws are a big no no too, gift your guest a bamboo straw with there name on and see if they can keep track of it through the wedding day plus they get to take it home! our pals at Go Bamboo Straws not only do great straws but also the personalized stamping!!
Confetti: There are so many options for eco-friendly confetti and again you can buy ones that are made using seed paper to plant post-wedding (see Etsy). You can also buy water dissoluble confetti or make your own out of anything organic such as olive tree leaves. I recently photographed a wedding where the confetti was a mix of leaves from trees of both countries where the bride and groom were from. If you wanna stick to more traditional confetti then check out UK based company BearandFlo for biodegradable in custom colours.
Wedding favours: Some might recommend to get rid of these altogether as many favours along with the packaging and labels get thrown away on the actual day, but there are other more inventive ways to keep this tradition going. Give your guests something locally sourced like a pot of olives or something that will go to use like seeds to plant in their garden in honour of your day. You could give them each a tiny potted succulent that will just continue to glow and flourish, like my thoughtful bride Gemma did below.
Transports a good one too! - options of choosing an eco airline company for destination weddings and providing bus transportation for your guests to lower gas emission.
I am only just starting to dip toes into this but if you delve into the internet and look up ecologically friendly weddings, there is a mass of ideas to help you on your journey towards a greener wedding day!
Check out The Green Bride Guide for a full guide book on how to create an earth-friendly wedding on any budget.
And you can check my pinterest board for more of my fave ideas.
p.s All pics in this post by yours truly and all vendors mentioned are linked!