Getting hitched? 10 easy ways to make your wedding more ethical

Planning a sustainable wedding? We all know there a million and one things to remember so here are some easy hacks to make your special big day more ethical.

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It’s your big day – and it’s got to be beautiful and bespoke and bowl over your guests. We get it. But big isn’t always best and thoughtful, meaningful weddings will always win in our book.

More and more couples are choosing to think about the planet when planning their wedding, so we’ve worked with ethical wedding supplier platform, Sinclair & Saffron, to come up with 10 easy ways to make your wedding more green – and gorgeous.

And best of all some of our ethical wedding tips will save you money too. Perfect if you’re trying to get hitched on a budget – after all it’s about celebrating love, not money.

10 easy ways to make your wedding more ethical

1. Do some forward thinking about food waste

Around 10% of all food produced for each wedding gets wasted. Think about all those canapes and cupcakes that get abandoned as the dancing and free bubbly takes over. We’ve all been there.

Forage and Feast create bespoke vibrant feasting tables that use British produce to reduce your carbon footprint and support local businesses.

2. Ditch the plastic decorations – and that includes balloons

Balloons and candle powered lanterns are so over. Pretty yes, but also pretty devastating for the wildlife that eats them when they end up in the ocean.  

Kayleigh Sinclair from sustainable wedding platform, Sinclair & Saffron, has some good advice for making sure your decorations are as eco as you are.

“Hiring wedding decorations from Birdcages & Dragonflies who have the most incredible selection of high quality, quirky and fun props for weddings is a great alternative. And they can make sure that you’re using things like biodegradable confetti and glitter. Where possible use recyclable crockery in place of plastic, if you can’t get away without using disposables, opt for biodegradable alternatives instead such as Vegware,” she says.

Bunting has become ubiquitous for a country wedding and it can be made easily from old clothes, upcycled fabrics and anything else you have lying around – and it can be reused.

3. Do you need wedding favours?

We all know the wedding party put lots of thoughts into wedding favours but quite honestly are they remembered after the event? Many are left on the table as conversations get more animated and the booze kicks in. If you want to give a more eco-friendly wedding favour, how about an edible place name holder or how about a packet of seeds of your favourite plants, herbs or flowers?

“For wedding favours we put wildflower seeds into small brown envelopes stamped with their initials and the date having found vintage printing blocks,” says pebble reader Carol Barstow.

“Our friends made the glasses from old bottles and gave them as favours, we still use ours everyday,” adds Rachel King, another pebble reader.

4. Invest in conflict free, ethical wedding rings

“There has been a hung transition with couples moving away from diamonds which are often from areas of heavy conflict. People want more transparency when it comes to their purchasing, they want to know that the wedding rings they buy are conflict free.

We stock a wonderful jeweller from London called Bijoux de Chagall who individually handcrafts each ring with stunning lab grown gemstones such as Alexandrite and Mossanite,” says Sinclair.

Click here to read more about the fight for Fairtrade gold.

5. Use seasonal flowers

Use seasonal or local flowers and avoid using floral foam and plastic floral tape. WildFolk are a wonderful supplier in Norwich who specialises in organic, seasonal, romantic flowers for the eco-conscious wedding. Their dried floral arrangements and organic bouquets are stunning and make the perfect addition to your day. Alternatively look at using potted plants or edible arrangements.

6. Save the trees!

Christmas cards are becoming more outdated every year, so are the wedding invites. It’s much more commercially viable to send E-Invites or create a wedding website. Not only does this cut down on paper usage but also reduces the stress of having to remember what to send out when.

7. Check your carbon footprint

Think about the travel impact of your guests getting to and from your sustainable wedding as well as your honeymoon’s carbon footprint. A smaller wedding means less carbon emissions from people travelling…plus it’s a great excuse for not inviting that Uncle of yours who always gets a bit too drunk or the precocious cousins you only see once every two years.

Can you jet away without using a jet? Perhaps your honeymoon’s a cycling adventure for two rather than a fortnight in the Caribbean or a closer to home staycation?

Click here to find the best ways to offset any travel related carbon emissions.

8. Let’s talk about the dress

Spending thousands on something you’re never going to wear again seems mad. It’s time to think preloved and proud, it doesn’t mean you can’t feel like a princess.

Pick up a one off vintage dress for your ethical wedding from Cambridge Vintage Bridal which will have you feeling like you stepped straight out of Hollywood’s Golden Era (and it can be your something old!).

Or charity shops, Ebay and Etsy all have secondhand dresses looking for another special day. Online tailors like Clothes Doctor can help you make any alterations to make it totally yours.

9. Put local booze on the menu

Can you serve up seasonal cocktails, organic or bio wine or locally made spirits and beer to combat the carbon emissions from brands that have had to be imported? English sparkling wine is now award-winning and we reckon you’re never more than 50 miles from a craft gin distillery or brewery wherever you are in the UK.

Chase Vodka, Sapling Spirits, Fair Spirits and Fatty’s Organic Gin all come to mind if you’re looking for a premium spirit brand.  Or hire Mulebox, a mobile bar in a converted horse box that uses only local, British and artisan spirits and ingredients.

10. Think about your venue

How does your venue fit into your eco-friendly wedding? It’s not the sexiest part of organising a green wedding, but a sustainable venue makes a big impact on your ethical big day. Nantwen in Wales, for instance, was awarded the Gold Award for Green tourism as they use a rainwater harvester, PV Solar panels, solar thermal panels and a biomass boiler and they cater weddings starting with just the two of you, for something super simple.

For more ethical wedding providers and ideas, head to Saffron & Sinclair’s website.