How can I make my wedding eco-friendly?

Now, if you’re a regular reader of my blog or follower of my social media channels you’ll know I just love talking about sustainability and how you can make your wedding more eco-friendly! I could literally talk about this for hours, and I love the challenge of coming up with unique ideas, suggestions and tailoring my advice to each and every couple I work with. So, when the team at Emporella invited me to join them for their ‘Real Wedding Chat’ I obviously jumped at the chance, and thoroughly enjoyed our hour long chat about all things eco weddings!

In conversation with Emporella

It was lovely talking to Claire, owner of Emporella and the Bridal Emporium in Leeds, about our shared loved of eco-friendly wedding swaps and alternative options, we really could have carried on chatting for ages more! I highly recommend you grab a nice cuppa and snuggle down on the sofa or in a sunny spot in the garden and have a watch of our chat below. If you’d rather tune in whilst you’re working, exercising, getting some gardening done or maybe those pesky chores then this is also available as a podcast on Spotify.

However, if the time escapes you or you’d like to know a little more before tuning in, then here’s a few of the key discussions we share and my top tips on making your wedding eco-friendly.

Being eco-friendly is an approach not a style!

Sustainability can work for anyone and any wedding, it doesn’t compromise on style or mean having to compromise on that special day you’ve always dreamt of or that particular aspect or item you’ve always wanted. Instead, with small tweaks along the way and taking a slightly different approach to the planning process, your celebration can be as good, if not better, than you’ve always envisioned and kinder to the planet in the process! We also have a very interesting conversation about the stigma associated with the terms ‘second-hand’, ‘recycled’ and ‘reused’ in weddings, and dispel why this doesn’t mean your celebration will look ‘naff’ – arriving at the conclusion that it’s not what you use it’s how you use it! For example, how stunning is this dress … at 40 years old it is vintage yet looks perfectly in place at this sustainable and laid-back modern-day wedding!

We’ve got to talk about sustainability!

If you’d like to make your wedding eco-friendly, talk about it! When doing your supplier research, ask the questions and proudly discuss your values and vision for a more eco-friendly celebration. This approach is relatively new to the wedding industry, but like many it is an industry just starting to wake up to the immediate changes we need to and can make. Some suppliers are shouting about it (hey! yep that’s me!) but others might be practicing a more sustainable approach in their day to day lives or businesses but not really be talking about it much. As for others, when you ask them about their eco-friendly efforts you might be the final nudge they need to start listening and take on board that this is something their couples care about … let’s be the change together!

It doesn’t have to literally cost the earth!

Being eco-friendly is often associated with being expensive and an exclusive endeavour limited to those lucky enough to be able to afford it. This isn’t a universal rule, and as with any weddings a sustainable wedding can cost as much or as little as your budget allows! With an eco-friendly wedding often focusing on avoiding wasteful purchases, reusing, recycling and finding second hand alternatives where possible, and generally purchasing more consciously, there are definitely ways in which the sustainable options can actually work out more cost effective! Don’t let the misconception of price put you off, remember that any small change towards a greener day is better than none, so making as much of a difference as you can within your budget is always commendable. Specialist planners such as myself are here to help you achieve your dream day in a more eco-friendly way, and whether you’re controlling those purse strings or splashing the cash we work to find the eco-friendly options that are right for you.

An outdoor wooden bar is decorated for an intimate sustainable wedding, with kraft paper menus and dried flowers
This celebration made the most of reusing the ceremony décor, with the florals and grasses being moved to accent the bar and the ceremony banner adding detail to the cake table!
Photo: Bubear Photography | Stationery: Clare Gray Designs | Florals: Wilt Studio

How can I make my (mostly planned) wedding eco-friendly – is it too late?

It’s never too late to make small changes and to make a difference if you want to! One thing it is important to remember is that the most sustainable option available is always to make the most of what you already have, so if you’ve already purchased things for your wedding don’t feel like you need to ditch these – make the most of them regardless of whether they’re the most sustainable option or not!

Next, if you wish to be more eco-friendly then make sure this is something you consider when making any remaining decisions. Still got your favours, your guest book, your gift directory, or your on-the-day stationery to sort? These are just some of the last minute aspects that are ideal for making small tweaks and eco-friendly swaps; think about a meaningful guest book keepsake, environmentally conscious wedding gift ideas, recycled or seed paper stationery, upcycled on the day signage … and as for favours, well here’s lots of sustainable ideas for those!

Beyond the decisions still to be made, we discuss how to maximise what you already have across your day as well as some ways of preserving elements as mementos. Have you also considered where everything will go afterwards? Resale websites are a great way to make some money back and ensure your items go on to brighten someone else’s celebration or home rather than ending up in landfill. We also cover the idea of looking into options for donating your flowers to bring some joy to others whilst they continue to look beautiful beyond your day. Make sure you check out the video for many more ideas of how you can make your wedding eco-friendly even when you’re well on your way through the planning process.

An easy eco-friendly wedding choice anyone can make!

Don’t go littering on your wedding day! Okay, it might sound drastic and something you’d never dream of doing, but I’m sorry to say anything other than fully biodegradable confetti is essentially littering! One of the easiest swaps to make is to choose natural petals or other biodegradable confetti alternatives (but avoid rice too please, it’s really not good for the birds!). Why not have a go at making your own confetti by drying all of the flowers you are given, growing or buy over your engagement. Get your friends and family involved in the process too and I guarantee the confetti will have so much more meaning for you on the day than anything shop bought ever could! For tips on how to dry your flowers watch this IGTV where I show how I am doing exactly this ready as confetti for my own wedding!

Newlyweds are showered in natural petal confetti after their outdoor laid-back ceremony
Photo: Bubear Photography | Natural Petal Confetti: Shropshire Petals

We round up the hour chat with our 5 top sustainable wedding swaps, ideal for making your wedding eco-friendly in an easily accessible way – watch to find out what these are!

My thanks go to Emporella for inviting me to join them for this ‘Real Wedding Chat’, do head over to their website and directory for a great selection of suppliers and lots of useful information. If you’d like to talk about eco-friendly weddings or gain some personalised tips, advice and suggestions for your own celebration then please do get in touch, I love to hear about your ideas and help to spread the word far and wide about just how spectacular eco-friendly weddings are!

- Hannah -

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