Eco-friendly Weddings: What you need to know
A wedding should be one of the happiest days of a couple’s lives. The event brings friends and family together in a celebration of love. Drinks flow, food is devoured and, hopefully, everyone goes home having had a great time.
In all the excitement, it’s easy to overlook the impact a wedding might have on the environment. Sustainability is being spoken about more now than ever. Luckily, if this is something you want to take into account on your wedding day, you can.
Let’s find out how, as we explore the perfect way to host sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly weddings.
Introduction to sustainable and ethical eco-friendly weddings
Do you know how much of an impact your big day could have on the world around you? Here are some startling statistics which might make you reconsider how you want your wedding to be.
Everything we throw away which can’t be recycled has a negative impact on the environment. If something isn’t biodegradable, it could take thousands of years to break down naturally. Plastic is unsurprisingly at the heart of the issue.
Individually, one wedding can produce as much as 20kg of plastic waste. What’s more, the black bags used to collect the rubbish are themselves potentially harmful. They can take as many as 90 years to break down under the ground. But it’s not just plastic which has an impact. Food wastage is also a common theme for most weddings.
- 15% of people would only eat one or two of their three courses
- The same number, 15%, of newlyweds would throw the remains of their cake away
- 37% of guests don’t eat edible wedding favours
The worst sustainability offenders at weddings
Some wedding troupes are more harmful than others. Here are a few common inclusions which you might not realise are having a negative impact on the environment.
- Balloons – Often made of materials that don’t break down, balloons contribute to overflowing landfill sites. They also pose a serious choking hazard for wildlife like birds and sea creatures.
- Confetti – Throwing confetti is a common tradition, but have you ever considered where it ends up after the celebrations are over? Unfortunately, this is another example of a material which won’t degrade naturally.
- Exotic flowers – It’s not something that immediately springs to mind, but transporting flowers which aren’t seasonal means you’ll need to move them from relatively far away. The net result is a higher level of CO2 emissions, as well as the use of potentially harmful chemical fertilisers which can pollute the soil.
- Decorations – Paper comes in handy at a wedding, but it’s still worth considering where you can limit its use. Bunting, banners and even invites can use up resources which might not be sustainable. Either cut down on their use or make sure you’re only utilising sustainable materials.
Planning ethical and sustainable eco-friendly weddings
1.Eco-conscious wedding attire
Looking good at your wedding is a must. But that doesn’t mean you have to compromise when it comes to your sustainability efforts. There are a handful of ways you can take a green approach while still looking the part.
Eco-friendly materials – It’s easier than it’s ever been to find a wedding dress or a suit which have been manufactured from sustainable materials. Thankfully, satins, hemp-based silks, organic cotton knitted lace and general fair-trade products are all common bases of modern dresses.
2.Ethical conflict-free rings
Whether it’s your engagement or wedding ring, there are ways you can ensure the precious stone you’re using has been sourced ethically.
Research the jeweller – Find out as much as you can about a jeweller before you purchase from them. If you’re not sure what to look for, try to find signs like:
- Funding for projects in communities where diamonds are ethically sourced
- The supporting of initiatives which ensure the safe production of diamonds and precious gems
- Open promotion about the fact their gems are sourced ethically
Speak to them first – If you can’t find any signs of their ethical nature, there’s always the option of reaching out and directly asking a supplier where their diamonds come from. Consider asking them to be direct with their answer. If they aren’t clear about the origin of their product, it might be wise to turn elsewhere.
Avoid areas of conflict – While most countries have developed a fair and ethical production of diamonds, some areas remain questionable. If you want to be completely sure you’re buying a diamond from a conflict-free zone, avoid producers like Zimbabwe, Angola, DR Congo, Ivory Coast and Liberia.
You don’t have to compromise on the quality of your ring just because you’re choosing an ethical option. Many diamond retailers have made this a priority in recent years, so you’ll have plenty to choose from.
3.Organic and low-impact flowers
While all flowers are by their very nature “organic”, sustainability can still be taken into account when it comes to decorating your wedding.
- Eco-friendly décor
You don’t have to compromise on your perfect décor just because you’re trying to make your wedding as green as possible. There are a number of clever techniques you can use to remain sustainable without sacrificing the aesthetic appeal of your big day.
Make the most of the daylight while you can. Setting up solar panels during this period can help to make a big difference later in the day. Collecting enough energy means your entire evening is lit by a sustainable source.
Failing that, you could employ the use of hundreds of beeswax candles. These can hang from the ceiling and provide natural lighting for the reception.
- Place cards
When it comes to place cards, bamboo or recycled options are the best way to go.
For your wedding invites, think instead about sending out electronic save-the-dates, and asking people to confirm their attendance online. If you know particular guests are not computer-savvy, reach out to them via the phone.
There’s a relatively easy alternative to traditional confetti that comes in the form of biodegradable, dried out petals. These not only retain the aesthetic appeal of the original product but break down naturally in the environment without doing any damage.
- Other natural materials
From the tablecloth to your napkins, there are a series of decorations which you can find made from materials like hessian, hemp or pure linen. When it comes to tableware, consider using rustic natural wood, sourced from sustainable forests. This extends to the likes of tables, bowls and even cutlery.
4.Sustainable and organic food and catering
This is another factor we often overlook at a wedding. If food wastage and sustainability matters to you, you can find a catering company who keep all of the following in mind:
- Locally sourced
It helps smaller farming communities to thrive. In the process, it increases the likelihood of others being able to get produce from their local community in the future.
- Organically produced
While pesticides have their benefits, they also carry harmful chemical pollutants which can have a negative impact on the environment. Make sure to ask your caterer if their products conform to the certified standards.
- Food waste policy
Ask them what their policy is regarding food that is either unused or not eaten after being prepared. Most sustainable catering companies should offer food that hasn’t been cooked to food banks or charities. Meanwhile, food that didn’t get consumed can be turned into compost.
This blog is written by 77 Diamonds Jewellers. Given as a promise. Treasured for a lifetime.