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 needs 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’s our top tips for how.
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 a really unusual food is always going to cost you more money.
There are some gorgeous recycled paper options for stationery, and your stationer will 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.
While it can be really tempting to buy in bulk at a cheap cost – hiring items for your wedding is much better for the environment. 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 that really couldn’t give two hoots about your big day.
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 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 sort out and with a little organisation, you can make things much easier. At the very least you can have a glass bottle bin to keep bottles separate and a food waste bin for compost.
The world of throw away fashion definitely doesn’t apply to wedding dresses, with the vast majority still being made by independent designers rather than huge high street brands. But you can still make decisions around your wedding dress that help the environment. Consider a second hand dress – you can find some incredible dresses online that have been worn just once (obviously) but are in perfect condition. 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 – there are SO many amazing ones to chose from.
I’m not going to open up a debate on the merits of eating vegan, nor tell you my opinions on the matter, but there’s no denying that eating less intensively-farmed meat and dairy products 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.