The very essence of a wedding reception feels totally at odds to the idea of low waste. I mean, as fabulous as it is to celebrate your marriage - it's a party that can cause a huge amount of rubbish. BUT it's a huge occasion in your lives and possibly the only time you'll ever get all of your family and friends together in one room so it deserves to be marked. Luckily for us, more and more wedding suppliers (and big businesses for that matter) are starting to realise the importance of reducing waste and saving our planet. It is possible to have a low waste wedding and do it in style. Here are our top tips for how to create your very own low waste wedding.
Consider a second-hand dress - you can find some incredible dresses on Recycle My Wedding (our planet-saving marketplace). You can find some that have been worn once or never been worn at all. And not necessarily because the wedding didn't go ahead, but the bride may also have bought a few dresses and picked her favourite. It's also important to ask your designer or boutique questions about their dresses; Where are they made? How is the fabric sourced? Who will be working on the dress? If you're not happy with any of their answers, chose a different designer. It holds the industry to a high standard if boutiques know brides are discerning about the ethics of a piece.
As well as reducing carbon emissions from travel, if you use local suppliers, you're supporting your local economy (or the economy local to your venue). As well as choosing local suppliers, make sure these suppliers are using local produce too - this is especially important for caterers and florists. Sourcing local and seasonal is not only better for the environment, but you also end up with something that tastes and looks better too! And it has the benefit of being more cost-effective for you. Sourcing flowers out of season or using really unusual food is only going to cost you more money.
There are some gorgeous recycled paper options for stationery. There are also beautiful seed papers you can use that guests can plant afterward. These encourage wildflowers to grow and help make happy bees! Your stationer will also be able to advise on exactly how much paper you need to communicate your details effectively. There are clever ways of folding so that you can fit everything onto an A4 sheet, while still having a beautiful piece of paper pretty. Alternatively, embracing digital invites or a wedding website could be a way of eliminating paper use altogether.
While it can be really tempting to buy in bulk at a cheap cost - hiring items for your low waste wedding is a much more environmentally conscious way to decorate. For a start, they aren't going to be single-use. It's also likely that you'll be supporting a smaller, local business rather than a huge multinational. You may also be able to make the budget stretch a bit more by hiring rather than purchasing. And... You'll not be left after your wedding day wondering what to do with all those photo booth props. Alternatively buy used items from Recycle My Wedding or if you do decide to buy that decor piece or pieces that you really want, then ensure it's not single use by passing on the love to another couple (and recouping some of your costs) via Recycle My Wedding.
We've all seen the awful photos of rubbish left on the Glastonbury site after a festival and while your wedding won't be anything like that scale, it's important to consider your waste. Use bamboo plates and cutlery that are quick to decompose and try to make it easy for your caterers to recycle. Remember with a tent wedding the rubbish is often left to you to dispose of. So with a little organisation, you can make things much easier. At the very least, have a glass bottle bin to keep bottles separated and a food waste bin for compost.
Regardless of personal diet choices, there's no denying that reducing our intake of factory-farmed meats and dairy is better for the planet. Chat to your caterer and cake maker about the vegan and vegetarian options they offer and remember even just making one or two courses meat or dairy-free is a good start.
Other Resources For A Low Waste Wedding
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