Planning a sustainable wedding has, in the past been an uphill struggle, but we’re excited to say that is no longer the case. 90% of couples told us in April 2022 that sustainability is a factor when planning their wedding., and wedding venues and suppliers have been listening. There are now many businesses in the UK that are able to support you in planning a sustainable, environmentally and ethical wedding. And that number is only going to increase as couples, like you, become more aware of their impact on our planet
So where do you start if you want to have a sustainable, environmentally friendly wedding?
Start with your season
The first step in planning a sustainable wedding, whether you’re just starting out, or part way through, should always be seasonality. It’s without doubt the most sustainable way to plan a wedding. In the UK we’re really lucky to have four very distinctive seasons. Think about your favourite foods, when local produce is in abundance, flowers are looking their best, how much day light there is… there are so many ways that your wedding day can be complimented by the season you’re in. Check out our What is the best season to get married in? blog for some great ideas on how to make your season work for you.
Think about the food
Back in 2017 (I know that’s a few years ago now, but honestly not much has changed in terms of waste)… Sainsbury’s revealed that on average, £488 of food at a wedding goes to waste, with wedding cake being the biggest problem. 15% of couples also said they threw away at least a third of their wedding cake!
Always try to go for plated, seasonal, served meals over self service. If there really is no option other than a buffet or grazing table, talk to the caterer about creating a menu that is adapted to suit your guests and minimises waste. Serve them their favourite foods and they’re sure to eat it all.
It’s not for everyone, but you could also consider serving a fully vegetarian (or vegan) wedding breakfast. It’ll have a substantially lower impact on the planet, without sacrificing the taste as plant-based foods, on average, consume far fewer resources to produce.
Having an open, honest conversation with your caterers is key. Talk to them about where they source their produce. The more local they are, the less carbon footprint they have!
It’s also a great idea to talk to your caterer about donating surplus meals to a local foodbank or homeless shelter. Just be aware regulations can be strict, so be sure to organise this well in advance so that nothing goes to waste. Check out food collection services such as OLIO, Karma and To Good To Go too.
Flown not grown flowers support British flower farmers
When looking for a florist talk to them about where they buy their flowers from. There is an amazing network of British flower farms and between them it’s possible to provide beautiful colour and texture on an amazing scale. Of course, working with a florist or flower farm does mean that you need to think about seasonality.
At member business, Featherstone Flower Co they have three acres of fields brimming with flowers and foliage to bring seasonal colour, texture and fragrance to your wedding.
“Our unique design process is driven by the colour palette and style of each wedding. Rather than being centred on specific varieties, we capture the very best flowers of the day from our field for a truly seasonal floral experience. Our flowers are harvested fresh for your wedding so will last brilliantly, and we are able to incorporate more delicate blooms as we have complete control over cutting, arrangement and transportation.”
It’s not just about being green, it’s about being ethical too
When we talk about sustainable weddings, we’re also talking about using ethical, mindful suppliers. It’s now possible for every element of your wedding to be provided by or bought from, sustainable, ethical companies across the UK. From handmade recycled wedding invitations to a certificated natural coloured diamond ring. Before booking a supplier, talk to them about where they source products from, how the conduct their business and look after their staff. A great place to start is looking for businesses that have the Sustainable Wedding Alliance Accreditation, or B Corp Certification.
Aim for a zero waste wedding
Which means avoiding anything single use…
Sky Ocean Rescue reported on average 18kg of single-use plastic is thrown away at each and every wedding in the UK. If we could eliminate single use plastic from weddings, we could save over 4,910 tonnes of plastic pouring into our oceans, every year! That’s the equivalent weight of 30 houses!
It’s easy to see why plastic has become such an overly used material in the world of weddings, and is the worst offender. With fake confetti, disposable decorations, water bottles and single use gift bags to name a few… and that’s not even including the throw away plastic packaging.
but it’s not just about plastic, you should aim to avoid anything that won’t continue to have a life beyond your wedding day. Instead of purchasing new we always suggest: hire, reuse (or re-purpose) and recycle.
A sustainable wedding can be budget friendly too!
As well as saving the planet, you’re likely to save money too. Using ethical suppliers, caterers that are sourcing food locally, seasonal flowers from UK flower farms and vintage, up-cycled and repurposed decorations, isn’t only good for the soul but also the bank balance.