Over recent years just as individuals and companies alike have become a lot more aware of green issues, so too it seems have couples planning their wedding. It is said that the average wedding emits more CO2 than the average person over the period of a year! So how can this be the case? Consider the dress; for a start not only is this often made using polyester, a non biodegradable product but usually produced abroad and transported back to the UK via aeroplane emitting yet more CO2. Perhaps worse still is the fact that silk gowns come from silkworms that have often been boiled alive or electrocuted in order to get to the silk, not very eco friendly and not something we really want to think about either!.
For those with green issues in mind, there are many ways that a wedding can help to support the protection of the planet with no need to compromise on ensuring that your day is among the happiest of your life. There are in fact many small but very green changes that can be made that will actually add to the wow factor! Below we share some ideas as to how to go green on your special day.
How Far Do You Go?
Firstly decide just how far you want to go with this. Are you happy to simply add a few touches that will spark a thought or comment or do you want to go the whole hog and really make a statement involving the wedding guests in a practical way as well? Check out wedding magazines and planning websites that will direct you to local green suppliers.
For those of you wanting to keep things low key, consider natural organic and fair trade fabrics for the dresses or peace silk which is made from already damage cocoons that have been left by the worm when hatching. It is fairly simple to organise an organic and locally sourced wedding breakfast or a vegan wedding cake through either your venue or a local catering firm. Choosing wine with real corks will help stop the destruction of the cork forests as the demand for cork decreases and the farmers choose to use the land for other less planet friendly uses. You can then consider subtle extras such as ‘grow your own’ wedding favours or use of 100% recycled card for your invites and other stationery. If you are keen to support a particular group working towards a greener planet then why not incorporate a cleverly themed short quiz or game into one of the speeches asking guests to donate a pound or two towards your chosen cause.
At the other end of the spectrum comes the totally green wedding. There are now a small number of venues across the UK offering many eco friendly facilities with everything from green electricity, harvested rainwater and chemical free toilets. If this isn’t possible try holding your wedding very locally at a country house or garden. This is a great way to take advantage of the many carbon neutral ways to travel, be this by foot (not recommended for the bridal party), by bike or rickshaw or by horse and carriage. If you can’t find anywhere immediately local then encourage car sharing amongst the guests to reduce your ‘wedding carbon footprint’.
When it comes to decoration, consider fair trade flowers or better still opt for plants or miniature decorated trees that can be given as gifts to the guests at the end of the day and taken home and re planted. Pebbles are also a great way to tie in the earthy theme and again can be offered as keepsakes or even used as wedding favors engraved with the wedding date and the names of the bride and groom.
An Environmentally Friendly Gift List
In place of gifts, consider asking your guests to buy practical things from companies such as Oxfam Unwrapped or choose companies with gifts that are sourced from green and fair trade organisations. An increasing number of couples are opting for donations to charity in place of a gift. If possible, asking for these upfront as displaying a photo gallery of gifts that have been bought with the funds adds a real wow factor. Seeing villages in Africa amazed by gifts of books, farm animals or a well providing much needed water will act as an eye opener to less eco aware guests.
A Green Honeymoon
And finally, if you are really committed to making changes, if possible, try to honeymoon by means other than long haul flight. Alternatively balance this with a part or total working honeymoon involving animal conservation or a farming project. A honeymoon is often one of the longest holidays that you will ever take, so consider sacrificing just a few days in the name of helping to save the planet!