Leonardo Miranda / A sustainable wedding doesn’t mean a boring wedding
As people have become more aware of climate change and the environmental impact of their actions, more research has been done on the impact that the typical wedding has on the environment.
One of the main ways that the wedding industry harms the environment is the waste that it generates, with plastic being the main culprit.
Investigations have recorded that almost 5,000 tonnes of unrecyclable plastic were wasted at British weddings last year. Or if you want to look at it on a more individual basis, a typical wedding can produce up to 20kg of plastic waste.
Alongside plastic, another big source of waste is food. Sainsbury’s has investigated wedding food and found that the average wedding will waste £488 on food. 15% of the people who attend a wedding will choose to only eat one or two of a three course meal if it is offered. Along similar lines, 15% of newly married couples will end up throwing the remains of their wedding cake.
To put this waste into context, the average family home will throw away roughly £700 in food over a whole year. This means that in the matter of a few hours, a wedding can clock up 65% of a home’s wastage across an entire year.
Because of people’s newfound awareness about the environmental impact a traditional wedding could have, there is an increasing number of couples who are looking to have a sustainable and eco-friendly wedding. To go beyond just having an Emerald green wedding theme, and to have a green wedding that doesn’t ruin the world they want to spend their time on as a couple.
How you can make your wedding more sustainable
Once you have decided to host a zero or at least minimal waste wedding, the question is how you can make your wedding more sustainable. Whilst it might seem difficult, there are plenty of ways that you can make each aspect of your special day more environmentally conscious and sustainable.
Budgeting for a sustainable wedding properly
Victoria Priessnitz / about 15% of your budget should be spent on your outfits and wedding dress
One of the best ways you can make sure that you have enough money for sustainable choices throughout your wedding planning, is by properly budgeting. The Green Union offers some helpful advice and provides a great breakdown of roughly how much of your budget you should spend on each area of your wedding.
- 50% of the budget should go towards food, drink and the wedding reception.
- 15% should be spent on your various outfits and the wedding dress.
- 10% should go towards the flowers.
- 10% on wedding photography/filming.
- 10% finally on wedding entertainment.
- 5% is then put aside for miscellaneous costs.
Eco-conscious wedding attire
Jakob Owens / environmentally friendly wedding attire
One of the main ways you can make your wedding more sustainable, is by being conscious of the environmental impact that the fashion industry has. To reduce this, you should search for sustainable wedding attire, from suits to bridesmaid’s dresses. Whilst it may take some work, there is a way to get both ethical and environmentally friendly wedding dresses in a sustainable manner.
Here are some ways you can do it.
Environmentally friendly materials
Whilst it takes a bit of research, with a greater focus on sustainable clothing, it is easier than ever to find wedding dresses or suits which are environmentally friendly. Satin, hemp silk, organic cotton and other fairtrade materials have all been used to create brilliant modern wedding dresses.
Renting your clothing
If you don’t want to buy a brand new outfit for a one off occasion, an environmentally friendly way of going about things is renting a dress or suit for the big day.
Sustainable wedding jewellery
Amanda Mocci / ethically sourced wedding rings
Another major way you can be conscious of your environmental impact is by carefully selecting your marriage jewellery. Whether you are searching for your engagement ring or wedding ring, there are ways you can ensure that your precious piece of jewellery is made responsibly and uses gemstones that have been sourced ethically.
You shouldn’t have to compromise on the quality of your marriage jewellery just because you are searching for an ethical option. Luckily after being put under pressure, many diamond or gemstone retailers and jewellers have made this a priority; so there should be no shortage of options.
Pick your jeweller carefully
The easiest way you can find out whether your ring might be sourced carefully, is to carefully research the practices of the jewellers you are considering. The things you should look for are:
- They fund or take interest in various aspects of the communities where diamonds or other gemstones are ethically sourced.
- They support initiatives or take part in campaigns which help ensure the safe and ethical production of diamonds and precious gems.
- They openly promote the fact that their gems are sourced ethically.
- The company/jeweller is open to talking about their ethics when you ask them, rather than being guarded.
London DE is proud to do all these things, and there are certainly other jewellers out there that do the same. If the ethics of a jewellery provider isn’t clear, then you can reach out and ask a supplier where their diamonds or gemstones are from.
If they are sheepish or not upfront with you, we would suggest you turn elsewhere.
Avoid gemstones that are sourced from areas of conflict
In modern mineral production, great effort has been put into developing a more fair and ethical way of producing diamonds or gemstones. However some production still remains questionable, and there are still places where “blood diamonds” are available to purchase.
As a general note, if you want to buy an ethical gemstone, make sure you avoid buying from a conflict zone; such as Zimbabwe, Angola, DR Congo, Ivory Coast and Liberia.
Wijdan Mq / wedding gifts
One of the main sources of environmental damage is all the products that you are given by wedding guests as gifts. To prevent this, it is a good idea to provide wedding guests with a list of sustainable products that you would like them to buy.
One of the things you could ask for is practical items like money towards solar panels for your house, new insulation, heat pumps, windows or electric lights.
If you want your gifts to come from somewhere where your purchase can make a positive change, asking for fair trade gifts is a good way to do that. There are plenty of fairtrade companies who produce wonderful items that any newly wed couple would appreciate; such as rugs, cutlery or even something bigger like tables or general furniture.
Gifts made in your local community
Shipping and big supply chains is one of the biggest ways in which products grow a large carbon footprint. You can reduce the carbon footprint of your wedding gifts by asking your guests to buy gifts created in your local communities. This reduces the fuel use from transport, and also supports local businesses.