Conscious Couples Blog

What is a Wedding Carbon Footprint and How Do I Measure It?

Jun 1, 2024

Congratulations! You’re planning your wedding, a day filled with joy, love, and (hopefully) sunshine. But amidst the whirlwind of choosing a venue and finding the perfect dress, there’s another important element to consider: the environmental impact of your big day.

While weddings are a time for celebration, they can also generate a significant carbon footprint. From travel and catering to decorations and favours, every decision contributes to your wedding’s environmental impact. But fear not, lovebirds! With a little planning and some creative thinking, you can have a beautiful, memorable wedding that’s kind to the planet.

Understanding Your Impact: The Carbon Footprint

Every guest’s journey to your wedding, the energy used at the venue, and the food served all contribute to your wedding’s carbon footprint. To truly understand your impact, consider using the Sustainable Wedding Alliance’s Wedding Carbon Footprint Calculator, developed in partnership with Carbon Footprint and Wholegrain Digital. This free online tool allows you to input details like the number of guests, travel distances, menu choices, and venue type. The calculator estimates the total carbon footprint of your wedding, highlighting areas where you can make the biggest reductions.

Let’s delve into some practical tips that will not only lighten your carbon footprint but also enhance your wedding in other ways:

Location, Location, Location:

Choosing a local venue is a great first step. This minimises guest travel and its associated emissions. If you dream of a destination wedding, explore environmentally friendly travel options or consider inviting a smaller, local group to celebrate.

Travel Smart:

Encourage group travel amongst guests travelling long distances. Public transport options like trains or buses are a fantastic low-carbon alternative. Provide clear information on public transport routes and schedules in your wedding invitations or on a dedicated wedding website.

The Power of “Local”

Embrace the bounty of British produce! British seasons offers a vibrant harvest of delicious ingredients. Talk to your caterers about sourcing local, in-season foods. This not only reduces your carbon footprint but also injects a touch of freshness and supports local farmers.

Second-Hand Chic:

Consider pre-loved wedding attire and decor. There are fantastic online marketplaces and vintage shops overflowing with unique, pre-owned dresses, suits and decor This option adds a touch of individuality to your wedding and reduces the environmental impact of new garment production. You can also consider hiring rather than buying.

Mindful Decorations:

Embrace a minimalist approach to decorations. Upcycle vintage finds or borrow items from friends and family. Decorate with natural elements like wildflowers, branches, and fairy lights to create a romantic ambience.

Say No to Disposables:

Skip single-use. Opt for reusable tableware or genuine biodegradable alternatives made from bamboo or sugarcane. Encourage guests to bring their own water bottles by providing a designated filling station.

Favours with a Purpose:

Ditch the disposable trinkets guests often leave behind. Opt for favours that are sustainable and locally produced, like small potted plants, locally sourced jams, or handmade crafts.

Let There Be Light (Naturally):

Maximise natural light during your ceremony and reception. String fairy and festoon lights or use candles to create a warm and inviting ambience in the evening. Opt for LED lighting rather than traditional halogen bulbs,

The Power of “Less is More”:

Be mindful of food waste. Work with your caterers to create a menu that reflects your needs. Consider smaller tasting plates rather than a three-course meal. You can always offer late-night snacks for those with hearty appetites.

A Gift That Gives Back:

Consider asking guests to donate to a charity close to your hearts in lieu of wedding gifts. This is a meaningful way to celebrate your love while supporting a cause you care about.

Embrace Sustainable Stationery:

If you do choose printed invitations and menus, opt for recycled paper and vegetable based inks.

Beyond the Wedding Day:

Extend your commitment to sustainability beyond the wedding. Consider a honeymoon that embraces eco-tourism, supporting responsible travel practices. Decorate your new home with second-hand finds or furniture made from sustainable materials. Make conscious choices at home – opt for energy-efficient appliances and support local businesses whenever possible.

Sharing Your Story:

Your sustainable wedding journey is an inspiration! Share your choices and experiences with family and friends. Use social media to showcase your decisions and encourage others to consider a more sustainable approach to celebrations.

Remember there’s no single “right” way to have a sustainable wedding. It’s about making conscious choices and starting your new chapter together with a commitment to the environment. By incorporating some of these tips and utilising the Wedding Carbon Footprint Calculator, you can ensure your wedding is a beautiful celebration of love, with a minimal impact on the planet.

Taking Action

Ready to get started? Head over to Wedding Carbon Footprint Calculator. 

Remember, even small changes can make a big difference. So go forth, celebrate your love story, and leave a lasting impression – not just on each other, but on the world around you.

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