The network officially launched on 1 March 2021, aimed at guiding wedding businesses down their sustainable journey, through education, support and accreditation.
The Sustainable Wedding Alliance, the inclusive group of environmentally conscious wedding businesses, launched on 1 March 2021. The Sustainable Wedding Alliance guides wedding businesses through their sustainable journey with the help of bespoke education, support and accreditation. The Sustainable Wedding Alliance is a purpose-driven network, and gives access to a membership that connects wedding businesses with like minded, ethical businesses, to help them get started with making their business more sustainable. All members of the Sustainable Wedding Alliance make the shared commitment to work together to reduce the impact the wedding industry has on the planet (in 2016, the average wedding reportedly produced 400 lbs of rubbish and 63 tons of CO2). The Sustainable Wedding Alliance is focused on developing tools to help companies make their business greener, educate their clients on what sustainability means for them, and promote sustainable businesses far and wide, and is now welcoming partners who want to become part of the community leading the change towards a more sustainable wedding industry.
Businesses can become a member of the Sustainable Wedding Alliance, which gives them an in-depth assessment on their business’s sustainability processes and procedures, action plan and access to a wealth of resources in their members area. Membership also includes accreditation, for businesses who achieve a minimum standard, giving them an official badge for their website, social media and marketing materials. Accredited businesses will be reassessed annually, and will be required to meet the Alliance’s minimum standard to maintain their status. The membership is tiered, and cost is dependent on the size of the business.
Around 400,000 people work in the UK’s wedding industry, which contributes £14.7bn to the British economy each year. But by the end of October 2020, more than 200,000 weddings had been postponed or cancelled. The disastrous impact of the COVID-19 crisis on wedding suppliers, who are mostly small businesses, means wedding businesses might not currently have the funds to make their business more sustainable, after losing an entire year of earnings. This is why the Sustainable Wedding Alliance also offers a free community for environmentally conscious venues and suppliers to share ideas, ask advice and educate each other about being a sustainable, ethical business and running eco-friendly weddings.
The Sustainable Wedding Alliance was founded in 2020 by Michelle Miles, a wedding and events professional who has worked in the industry for two decades. Miles built up a wealth of knowledge over that time, understanding the challenges wedding businesses face when thinking about how they can become more sustainable and reduce their environmental impact. After running her own successful business since 2009, and having many conversations with couples wishing to have an environmentally-friendly wedding, Miles decided to form the Sustainable Wedding Alliance for wedding businesses who want to become more sustainable, but do not know where to start – with the goal to help them adapt the way they work, understanding the relationship between their business and the planet, and balancing the two.
“Living sustainably has been a personal passion of mine for many years” says Michelle Miles, founder of the Sustainable Wedding Alliance. “Starting around the time I had my first child, I became more and more aware of the throwaway society we were living in and wanted to make a change both to the way we’re living our lives, but also to the way I was planning events for my clients. Fast forward a few years and I’m proud to say that it became a core focus in both my personal and working life.”
The Sustainable Wedding Alliance believes in respecting the planet and the ones who live on it. The company not only wants to drive change to create a more sustainable wedding industry, it is also set on raising awareness and tackling climate change and attitudes, by proactively encouraging businesses to develop future thinking strategies and make responsible decisions.
“Being sustainable isn’t just about reducing waste or energy consumption, it flows through everything we do, in our businesses and in the weddings we produce” says Michelle Miles. “The most common thing we hear when talking to business owners is that they want to be more sustainable, but taking the first step can make them feel a little overwhelmed. That’s where we can help, by giving them the resources and support they need to develop a business with sustainability at the core.”
The Sustainable Wedding Alliance is excited about welcoming new partners and members who want to unite and become the driving force behind sustainable change in the industry.