If you work in the wedding industry you will know that there is increasing need for intervention when it comes to the carbon impact that weddings produce. The growing pressure on couples to have flamboyant and extravagant celebrations fuelled by Pinterest boards and Instagram envy have resulted in the average wedding now creating 14.5 tonnes of CO2 – which is a staggering amount. If you want to become more sustainable, these 30 ways a wedding supplier can be more eco-conscious will help to give you the inspiration and motivation to make real change in your business that will pay dividends for your brand, your client experience and the planet. Let’s jump in…
1. Actually develop a sustainability policy. You are going to achieve limited results if you just wing it and try to adopt some processes into your business without thinking about the wider picture. The Sustainable Wedding Alliance is designed to support wedding suppliers just like you that are curious about becoming more ethical when it comes to the planet and weddings, so you have started in the right place if you are looking to become more eco-friendly.
2. Review your supply chain. This one requires you to do an audit of the partners that you work with in order to deliver for your clients. By switching to more eco-friendly suppliers you will be able to make a significant impact on your carbon footprint, and you will be working with brands which have values in alignment to your own. Easy swaps could be looking at providers that use recyclable packaging, through to a full on audit of the end to end processes your supply chain uses.
3. Switch to more eco-friendly transport. As wedding suppliers we need to get about to do our jobs, and that can have a big impact on our carbon footprint, particularly if your business is mobile or requires a lot of travel. Switching to the use of shared or public transport and using electric vehicles will have a positive impact on your footprint.
4. Review your travel plans. Here you are looking at planning meetings to optimise travel and looking for remote options; both changes that you can make that can have a positive impact on the climate – and in some cases your wallet too!
5. Use local suppliers. The more local you can focus your attention when it comes to fulfilling your business needs for your wedding couples, the more you will save the planet from unnecessary travel and emissions. Local suppliers can really benefit your clients experience too, with their area knowledge and expertise.
6. Use seasonal produce. From choosing flowers that are in season and available locally, to sourcing food and drink that reduces the burden of travel, as a wedding supplier you can make a significant impact on the environment by encouraging your couples to select seasonally. One of the ways that you can do this is to create digital look books and vision boards that showcase the best of the season – that way you can have positive discussions with your couples so that they do not feel they need to compromise on their experience.
7. Re-use stuff! As wedding suppliers we are among the worst when it comes to single use, and we are not just talking about plastics. Fabrics, clothing, décor, food – you name it, when it comes to a wedding there is way too much of a tendency to just discard things once they have been used. Creating a plan for the meaningful re-use of items after a wedding is a great way to become more eco-friendly as a wedding supplier.
8. Recycle… A simple one, but becoming more conscious of your recycling approach throughout your business can culminate in a significant reduction in waste and a positive impact on the planet.
9. Cut out the single use. From switching to glass water bottles through to using reusable straws, in 2023 it is definitely time to ditch the single use at weddings and events.
10. Review your digital footprint. Not all software providers are created equal when it comes to sustainability. “Take some time to review your website provider, email marketing platform and even the social media channels you choose to operate on and their eco-friendly credentials. From their approach to server management to people policies, making more ethical decisions in this space will make your business more sustainable as a wedding supplier” writes online visibility specialist Pamela Rae-Welsh from Worsley Creative.
11. Review your energy usage. Regardless of what type of wedding supplier you are, there is definitely an opportunity to conduct an audit of your energy consumption and look to make reductions where possible, from both a front end perspective and the back end of your business. Introducing automatic timers, controlled thermostats and doing work on the culture of your brand when it comes to “switching off” can make a real difference.
12. Create a green space. If it is possible then creating a green space is a great way of introducing sustainability into your business is to create a green space. This could be as simple as starting a planter trug, through to creating a wildflower garden, if you have an opportunity to create a green space you will be making a very planet positive decision.
13. Review your paper usage. The wedding industry is pretty notorious for using a lot of paper both at the front end and back end of the business. Making swaps to more eco-friendly solutions (such as online contracts rather than paper based for example) will reduce paper usage, and can increase efficiency too. Using recycled paper products where possible if you do rely on paper for the front end of your business is also a good compromise without sacrificing the experience.
14. Review your approach with water. Conducting an audit of your consumption of water will likely produce a set of opportunities to reduce wasting water which has the added benefit of making your business more efficient. Implementing initiatives like harvesting rainwater may not be accessible for all wedding suppliers, but cultural shifts about tap running times and approaches to washing can make a real difference. Check out our article on saving water in your workplace
15. Invest in a tree planting scheme. There are lots of tree planting schemes available for all levels of business size, and by giving back to the planet this way you can make a great impact, without needing to be as hands on as planting yourself. Choose the right company to partner with and the trees will build local biodiversity too!
16. Review your cleaning routines. There are so many opportunities within the cleaning space to make more sustainable decisions. From switching to eco-friendly cleaning products, to encouraging reuse of towels in venues, conducting an audit of your businesses cleaning routines could have a significant impact on your overall footprint.
17. Give back time to eco-friendly projects. Doing good feels good, and if its doing good for the planet then it is even better. Getting involved with projects that benefit the environment will add a dimension to your brand, and give you exposure to some pretty awesome opportunities at the same time. Check out dosomething.org for inspiration on volunteering ideas.
18. Review your appliances. Making a switch to appliances and equipment that is energy efficient can require significant investment, but what you can do is incorporate into your strategy so that as appliances or equipment needs to be replaced then you can choose energy efficient options.
19. Source second hand. As a wedding supplier there is a huge opportunity to source second hand in all areas of your business. From equipment to clothing, décor to accessories, there are some amazing second hand marketplaces that can help you to source items, saving you money and reducing the burden of production on the planet.
20. Review your mailing list subscriptions. Every time an email is sent there is an impact on the planet. As wedding suppliers it can be vey easy to sign up to a lot of lists from all areas of your business, and then never access the information being sent to your inbox. Making a conscious cull of your email subscriptions will reduce your digital carbon footprint (and it can reduce some of the stress and anxiety of overthink too!)
21. Clean up your own mailing list. Conducting a review of your email list to ensure it is up to date, has active subscribers and no bounces is a win win – your business will be more efficient, you’ll reduce unwanted emails, and you’ll reduce the burden of your digital footprint on the planet.
22. Review your working practices. Is there an opportunity for a four day week in your business? Could there be an option for working hours in daylight therefore reducing the need for electricity? These may not be practical for all businesses, but being curious about your working practices could produce some planet friendly opportunities.
23. Get composting. Composting is a brilliant eco-friendly initiative that wedding suppliers can implement that is really beneficial for the environment. If it is possible to implement a composting initiative into your business then this can support other projects like your green space!
24. Switch to zero waste. Implementing zero waste products into your approach can have real benefits for your sustainability strategy. From zero waste coffee swaps in the office, through to cleaning products there are lots of opportunities to make swaps that can reduce your burden on the planet.
25. Conduct proper property maintenance. Ensuring that your property is well maintained saves you time, and money in the long run! Use the quieter winter months to complete essential maintenance. Manchester roofers Evo Roofing Ltd work across the North West on wedding venues and one of the things they recommend to their clients is to implement a proactive property maintenance schedule. This will ensure your property is as energy efficient as possible, reducing waste – and saving money too.
26. Switch to cloth over paper. From napkins to towels, switching from single use to reusable will save money, and have a positive impact on the environment. But before you make the switch, think about how you will keep them clean and fresh for each and every wedding. Find a local supplier to work with that has a environmental policy.
27. Buy from local food producers. If you’re buying ingredients, research your local producers. Not only will you reduce travel, you will benefit the local community and economy, and help to maintain green space in your area – it’s likely your farmers are also helping to develop local biodiversity too!
28. Encourage sustainable tourism. When working with your couples an important way to encourage sustainability is to encourage sustainable tourism. Protecting the wildlife, conserving heritage and culture and promoting destinations with ethical people practices are examples of sustainable tourism which has benefits well beyond just your business.
29. Join the Sustainable Wedding Alliance. Our membership will provide you with resources, support and a community all dedicated to helping you become more sustainable as a wedding supplier. Check out our article on the 10 benefits of joining the sustainable wedding alliance to see if it would be a good fit for you.
30. Share this article with other wedding suppliers. The industry needs more suppliers like you to be able to make the biggest difference to our impact on the planet. By sharing this article with other wedding suppliers you will be making them more conscious too – which is a definite win win!